In sickness and in health – the illnesses you didn’t know pets could suffer from!


From reptiles with gout to snakes with anorexia, its not just humans who can suffer with the weird and not-so wonderful….

There’s nothing worse than feeling ill – and the same goes if you’ve got four legs, no legs or even wings, as in the case of our exotic-y pets.

So what can our pets suffer with? Find out about the most common conditions that we see….


From scaley tortoises and snakes to cute leopard geckos, these pets can suffer with anorexia. It literally means your pet isn’t eating.

It can be caused by a range of conditions such as infection; over grown teeth, stress; seasonal changes; dehydration, the size of the food and the time of day you’re feeding. Pets can also be picky eaters, which can cause problems.

If your pet stops eating, you should always check it out – to make sure everything is okay.

Did you know?

Burmese Pythons originally hail from South East Asia, and are one of the five largest snakes in the world. One of their domesticated relatives, an Albino Python was recently suffering with Anorexia, and needed to have a camera put down his throat, and other tests. Vet fees paid totalled £1,000.

Our pets can also suffer with gout…This is common amongst reptiles, and occurs when Uric Acid crystallizes in the joints.  A Bearded Dragon was suffering from suspected Gout. His claim paid was for £585.

Pets can mistake artificial plants for real ones, as in the case of the Tokay Gecko who accidentally ate part of an artificial plant. His claim paid was for £520.


These are most commonly seen in lizards, tortoises and parrots.


Tortoises can suffer with septicaemia, which is a blood infection. They can also suffer with respiratory infections…

While birds can suffer with a nasty fungal infection called Aspergillosis. This causes their air sacs, which form part of their respiratory tract, to become inflamed.

Birds have got sensitive a sensitive respiratory tract, which is why problems and infections in this area are their biggest problem.

….in pets such as lizards and snakes, fungal and parasite infections are their biggest enemy.

As with with humans, infections can be very unpleasant for our feathered or scaley friends, and they can come in all shapes and sizes.


Respiratory problems

These are incredibly common, especially among parrots. Causes for respiratory problems are usually caused by disease and illness.

Wounds and accidents

Even with the best care in the world, accidents can and do happen. Our accident prone pets can often get themselves into scrapes:

Take the lizard who trapped his foot in his vivarium, costing £457; the lizard who bit his tail while playing in a tunnel costing £280 and the parrot playing in the living room, who flew into a door, resulting in a vet fee claim payment of £280.

You should also be aware of other people’s pets, as in the case of the tortoise who got attacked by a dog, resulting in a bill of £604.


Growths can sadly include cancerous ones. Growths can include mouth tumours, recently seen in a Beardie, abdominal tumours and melanoma. Remember though, just because a pet has a lump, it may not be bad news. Some tumours can be completely harmless.

Growths are more common in lizards, and are rare in parrots.

A Tegu was recently treated for Lymphoma. He had two growths on the side and his tail, which were removed. The claim paid totalled £1,000.


Digestive issues

Keep that hay coming! A lack of hay and grass in your guinea pig or rabbit’s diet can cause all sorts of problems. This can include gut stasis.

Gut stasis is when your pet’s gut isn’t working properly, and is usually caused a lack of roughage such as hay or grass in your pets diet.

Such a simple thing, but its so important your furry eats enough of this stuff to stay healthy. Find out about how important hay is for your Guinea Pig and Rabbit in our diet articles.

So how much can it cost to treat a bunny with Gut stasis? …..It can cost around £426 for vet treatment.

Dental issues

Dental issues are very common in rabbits and guinea pigs. It happens because their teeth grow all the time. They don’t stop.

If their teeth grow too much it can lead to problems such as mouth abscesses, dental  deformities, mouth ulcers and loss of appetite. A sore mouth can really impact on your small furry’s appetite.

You can prevent these problems by giving your pet lots of hay and grass to eat.  Chewing this helps to grind down your pet’s teeth – helping to control growth. Check out ExoticDirect’s diet advice for Rabbits and Guinea Pigs.

Hay and grass is so important, that it should make up the majority of your furry’s diet. You can also try hiding the food in toilet rolls, so that your pet has fun getting it out.

How much does it cost to treat Guinea Pigs and Rabbits for dental problems?


£1291 has been paid so far for the treatment of a Mini Lop rabbit, whose suffered with an abscess and dental problems. Treatment has been going on for 9 months, and is still continuing. 

An Abyssinian guinea pig has overgrown teeth costing £1579 so far to treat. The poor piggy has suffered with mouth ulcers, weight loss, drooling and loss of appetite.

The death of a pet

This is one of the hardest things you’ll face. And sadly, we do see pet owners lose their beloved pets.

Mortality claims can reach into the thousands of pounds, and are covered as part of our death cover available in most policies.


And finally….

The range of conditions we see are far and wide – like with our human family members, you never know when you pet is going to get sick. And nursing them back to health is your main concern.

You can insure your pet for vet fees, death and theft. Why not…

Get a quote

Alternatively you can call us on 0345 982 5505

*Claims data analysed was for parrots; tortoises; reptiles and small mammals 2016

All claims were paid in accordance with ExoticDirect’s full policy Terms and Conditions. Remember, if buying insurance you should always check these carefully.

Tamara Labelle
1 Jun 2017

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