Blue Tongue Skink Eye Bubbles – Causes, Treatment, Prevention
Blue tongue skinks are hardy animals. However, even they suffer with certain health problems. One of these health problems is the appearance of eye bubbles. Usually, Blue tongue skink eye bubbles is a sign of respiratory infection as a result of low humidity and poor husbandry. However, there are other possible causes that we are going to discuss in this article.
Blue tongue skink eye bubbles can be a symptom of:
- Respiratory infections
- Vitamin A deficiency
- Eye infection
- Eye injury
The most common cause for Blue tongue skink eye bubbles is respiratory infection.
Most respiratory infections in reptiles are caused by bacteria, viruses, fungal infections, or even parasites. Normally, this disease develops in either dirty environment, incorrect temperature and humidity levels in the tank, poor diet, or even lack of vitamin A.
Before deciding that Blue tongue skink eye bubbles is due to respiratory infection, it’s important to check for other relevant symptoms; such as shallow breathing, sneezing, nasal discharge, hear crackling noises, excessive watery eyes.
Another symptoms to look out for is your skink’s torso looking bigger than usual, almost as bloated or gravid. This is due to the lack of diaphragm and is also a symptom of respiratory infection.
If eye bubbles is the only symptom, the cause can still be respiratory infection as eye bubbles show up in the very early stages of the disease.
If your Blue tongue skink eye bubbles is due to respiratory infection, the best thing to do is take your skink to the vet. The vet will be able to properly diagnose the disease, prescribes antibiotics and decide on the best treatment.
Normally, the vet will prescribe injectable options and will show you how to administer the medication at home. With the help of the right antibiotics, the disease should clear in just a few days.
However, you can still help your skink at home by doing the following:
- Warm compresses. This helps especially if there is a crust formed around the eyes or nose. The compress should be applied over the area twice daily for 20 minutes. However, only wipe very gently to remove any debris from the area and don’t scrub
- Bump up heat, so they have warmth 24/7
- Strip down the tank. Place a paper towel down, a box hide, and a water bowl
- Increase humidity and improve hydration
How To Increase Humidity And Improve Hydration
To raise humidity in your skink’s tank you can do the following:
- Place another water dish close to the hot spot in the tank without taking away his basking spot. Having fresh water available on both the warm and cool spot, will provide your skink with warm and cool water as options
- Attach a sponge holder with suction cup to the wall under the heat lamp. Every day rinse out the sponge with hot water to the point is not dripping but still damp and place it back in the holder. This way you’ll be adding more humidity to the air in the tank
- You can purchase a reptile humidifier. However, make sure that you track the humidity levels as too much humidity can also result in health problems
- Mist the tank with purified water to increase humidity (never use tap water)
To improve the skink’s hydration you can do the following:
- Daily soaks. This can improve hydration and help with the eye problem
- Either use a tub or your bathtub for the soaks. Fill it with enough warm water for the sink to be able to reach the bottom easily and relax
- Leave him in there supervised for up to 20 minutes
- Ensure the water stays warm throughout the soak
- After each soak, wipe the eye and put the ointment on
Vitamin A Deficiency
In some cases, Blue tongue skinks eye bubbles can be the result of Vitamin A deficiency, also known as hypovitaminosis A.
This condition is caused by incorrect diet and the lack of beta carotene and vitamin A.
Besides Blue tongue skink eye bubbes, other symptoms of vitamin A deficiency include:
- Swollen eyelids
- Eyelid swelling may eventually develop into severe edema and fully shut
- Dull skin color
- Lack of appetite
- Excess tear production
- Struggling to shed
Treatment of vitamin A deficiency consists of:
- Feeding calorie supplement
- Administering fluids
- Gently removing any build up from around the eyes
- Applying antibiotic ointments to the eyes
- Adding vitamin A supplements to their diet
Sometimes, Blue tongue skink eye bubbles can be the result of eye infection. An infection can cause swelling inside the skull which puts pressure on the eye.
Such infections can develop in various ways. One of them being – the skink getting dust or sand in their eyes.
If Blue tongue skink eye bubbles is a symptom of eye infection, you should keep an eye for other relevant symptoms such as:
- Eye receding into the socket
- Check the ears for any symptoms as an infection in the ear can affect the eye
It’s important to take these symptoms seriously and not to leave it to heal on its own. For instance, a skink owner reports their skink’s eye infection disappearing, to only to re-appear later on as part of a bigger infection and the lizard nearly dying.
When Blue tongue skink eye bubbles is the result of an eye infection, treatment includes antibiotics and a trip to the vet.
To relive your skink’s symptoms at home you can do the following:
- Apply warm, moist compresses on the eyes a few times a day. This will help with the symptoms and keep the eyes clear of debris
- Use vitamin A drops for the eyes as in some cases the eye infection can be due to vitamin A deficiency
While this product is marketed for turtles, it is safe for other reptiles, as well.
If the home solutions don’t cure the eye infection, you’ll need to take them to the vet for antibiotic prescription.
In some cases, Blue tongue skink eye bubbles can develop as a symptom of conjunctivitis.
This painful eye condition can be the result of excessive exposure to UV radiation or poor husbandry.
When Blue tongue skink eye bubbles is the symptom of over exposure to UV, the delicate transparent cells on the surface of the eye (the cornea) and the lining of the eyelids become damaged.
The good news is that only the superficial layers of the eye are damaged. The lens and retina remain in tact.
If the Blue tongue skink eye bubbles is caused by UV over exposure, the first thing you will need to do is switch off the UVB lamp for 1 to 2 days.
The treat the eye bubbles, you will need topical and systemic antibiotics, cleaning/flushing of affected areas and vitamin A supplementation.
The treatment should be followed by:
- Ensure that the distance between the lamp and the skink is safe. Refer to the manufacturer’s instructions to check if too short distance can result in excessive UV radiation
- If your skink is suffering with UV overexposure, they are likely dehydrated. Therefore, it’s important to hydrate them through increasing the humidity, offering water through the use of syringe/dropper and soaks. However, you should never force water directly into their mouth as there is a risk of getting water into their lungs
- Once the skink has recovered from the UV overexposure, you can either reintroduce the UVB light at safe distance or completely remove it and substitute it with few minute walks outside if you have a garden/backyard. This will provide your skink with natural source of UV. It’s said that 1 hour of natural sunlight is equal to a week of UV bulb exposure
Find out if your Blue tongue skink needs UVB light in their tank here Do Blue Tongue Skinks Need UVB? UVB Light Tank Setup
In some cases Blue tongue skink eye bubbles can be the result of eye injury such as scratched cornea.
Eye injury is very common in reptiles. Some of the causes include rubbing on cage surfaces, against a rough branch, improperly concealed nail or screw in the enclosure, or scratched by a claw or tooth.
Usually, symptoms of eye injury can include:
- Eye bubbles
- Eye redness
- Eyelid swelling
The treatment of eye injury is either topical antibiotics or eye ointment such as Beaphar Eye and Skin Ointment 5g. This will sooth the skink’s eye by lubricating the cornea and help with the natural cleaning and healing process.
The more severe eye injuries will requiring surgical intervention.
Alongside, the treatment you should strip down the tank by removing the substrate and any decorations that might have irritated the eye.
Prevention Of Blue Tongue Skink Eye Bubbles
Health issues such as Blue tongue skink eye bubbles are easily preventable. Even if your skink has recovered from their eye condition, it can easily reappear if no preventive measure have been taken.
To ensure your skink doesn’t develop any future eye problems, apply the following preventive measures:
- Ensure the skink’s tank is safe and can’t cause any eye injuries. The Blue tongue skink’s tank doesn’t need much in it to make your lizard happy. However, the few things such as substrate, decoration and the make of the tank should be safe. Read here about how to set up your skink’s tank correctly Blue Tongue Skink Tank Setup – Step By Step Guide
- Temperature and humidity are correct levels – 90°F to 100°F (warm side of tank) 75°F to 82°F (cool side). On the other hand, the humidity should be kept between 40% to 60%
- Cleanliness. Keeping your skink’s tank clean is essential for their health. You should spot clean daily and deep clean the tank minimum once a month.
- Correct diet. Feeding your skink a well balanced and nutritious diet will ensure they stay healthy and happy. Learn more on what is the perfect Blue tongue skink diet here
- Supplements are important for your skink’s health. You need to ensure that your skink’s insects are getting dusted with D3 and calcium. Furthermore, they should be given vitamin A supplements to avoid developing vitamin A deficiency
In most cases, Blue tongue skink eye bubbles is a symptom of respiratory infection. However, it can also be a symptom of any of the following conditions:
- Vitamin A deficiency
- Eye infection
- Conjunctivitis due to UV overexposure
- Eye injury
Treatment for Blue tongue skink eye bubbles depends on what’s causing the eye problem. In most cases, antibiotics will help the infection clear up in a few days.
However, you can still help your lizard at home by applying over the counter eye ointments and warm compresses to relieve the symptoms. In addition, gently remove any debris or crust surrounding the eye.
Alongside the treatment, you should also do the following:
- Strip down the tank and remove the substrate
- Ensure the temperature and humidity levels are correct
- Hydrate your lizard
Related Topics Q&A
What’s The Best Substrate For Blue Tongue Skink?
Choosing the right substrate for your Blue tongue skink is essential for their health. The wrong substrate can result in many different health problems such as respiratory infection, impaction and eye injury.
The best substrate for Blue tongue skink include aspen, tough paper, fir barks, wood (not chemically treated), glass, PVC.
On the other hand, you should completely avoid substrates such as cedar chips/pine, clay cat litter, walnut shells, orchid bark, chemically treated wood.
I Can’t Afford To Take My Blue Tongue Skink To The Vet. What Should I Do?
If your Blue tongue skink is sick but your finances are tight, there are organizations that can help owners with expensive procedures and overall vet expenses.
If you use financing, you will have to pay the amount back to the financing company. However, with financial aid you are not expected to pay the money back.
Some of the organizations listed below work primarily with dogs and cats. However, they would consider exotic pets also.
1) Red Rover: https://redrover.org/relief/
2) Best friends: http://bestfriends.org/resources/financial-aid-pets
3) AVMA: https://www.avma.org/public/YourVet/Pages/Financial-assistance-for-veterinary-care-costs.aspx
4) HSUS: http://www.humanesociety.org/animals/resources/tips/trouble_affording_veterinary_care.html
5) PAWS: https://www.paws.org/cats-and-dogs/other-services/help-with-veterinary-bills/
6) Your dogs friend: http://yourdogsfriend.org/we-recommend/need-help-paying-vet-bills/
7) AFRP: https://www.animalfriendsrescue.org/financialassistance.html
8) Friends of pets: http://friendsofpets.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/FinAsstGuide201708.pdf
9) Speaking for Spot: http://speakingforspot.com/?p=Financial%20Assistance%20for%20Veterinary%20Care
10) Rainbows Bridge: https://www.rainbowsbridge.com/New_Beginnings/Pets_in_Need/Financial_Help.htm
11) AHF: https://www.animalhealthfoundation.net/index.html
12) Paws 4 a cure: http://www.paws4acure.org/askforhelp.php
13) O&B: http://www.onyxandbreezy.org/grant-application.html
14) Mosby: https://www.themosbyfoundation.org/apply-for-assistance/
15) BDF: http://www.browndogfoundation.org/process