Poor Dorian has gone through the wringer with his tail. We’ve had him back and forth to the vet a few times with the two amputations and the resultant checkups. We finally thought the tail had healed properly.
But lo and behold, we see the end of Dorian’s tail start to dry up and “get crunchy” and we start to think “Oh no, here we go again.” But then we notice the skin is separating itself from the flesh of Dorian’s tail, like a scab peeling, where the the edge of the scab starts to pick up. It doesn’t bother him when we touch it, and it almost looks like we could just pull it off; which we dare not do considering we’re in this mess to begin with from an infection. Then out of the blue, the end of his tail just falls off.
Well, not the entire end of tail, but all the skin just fell off. It looks like a crunchy iggy skin doughnut, or better yet, like one of those small pieces of chicharrón guapos snack on while downing a Tecate and watching El Tri on TV Azteca. I actually did sniff it a bit to see if there was cheesy smell to it, and yes, I know how completely strange that sounds. Lord know I’ve been in enough locker rooms to recognize that stink. The wife was out of town, I really had no idea what to do with an iggy tail chunk or what to do with Dorian, who didn’t really seem to mind that his tail meat was naked. He was a little sensitive to having it touched, but I just chalk that up to his general “don’t touch my tail” attitude of the last several months.
I didn’t think it was an emergency type situation, but I did want to get him checked out as soon as possible. As you can see in the picture, the pink fleshy part just looked oddly exposed, like something out of a CSI episode or anatomy book, and felt supple like an uncooked tenderized steak. The black nubbin at the end was the most sensitive part of his tail, and was the part that freaked me out the most. It looked like an exposed bone or tendon, but was soft and made Dorian wince every time it was touched. You can also see how the whole thing sort of shriveled up, and the loss of mass also concerned me. But mostly, it just looked raw, and that was the most disconcerting part for me as an iggy dad.
I made an appointment and packed Dorian up for a trip to the vet. Dr. Schwartz’s clinic is about a 30 min drive, but he’s simply the best there is.
The Wheaton Animal Hospital is a smaller clinic, but can do everything the big practices can do, including both of Dorian tail amputations. Dr. Schwartz adores Dorian, and routinely compliments how gorgeous, well mannered, and what a good iguana he is. It’s absolutely true Dorian is all of those, but my wife jokes that by the time Dr. Schwartz usually sees an iggy, that poor kiddo is on his last legs and subject to poor husbandry and lack of quality handling time. Dorian is spoiled rotten, well taken care of, and snuggled. Snuggling alone probably puts him in a distinct minority of less than 1% of all pet iguanas.
After checking him out, Dr. Schwartz couldn’t believe how well the tail has actually healed considering all the trauma its been through. He kept saying, “Wow, I just can’t believe how good that looks.” In the end, his optimism at the progression of healing in the tail really put me at ease and alleviated the concern I had about the tail. We ended up jerry-rigging a cast to place over the tail, just to protect it from banging around as Dorian climbed up and down his tree and for when he did his rounds of the apartment. After rubbing on some silver sulfadiazine cream to aid the healing process, we took a big syringe tube, cut to size, sliced a notch in it for Dorian’s spikes, and wrapped it once in vet wrap and once in surgical tape. It was a club when we were done, but that thing was not going to come off easy.