"Iggy" - Iguana with Damaged Tail
Despite what a lot of people think we do, our patients recover through an inherent ability of the body to heal itself. We simply help to create an environment in which that healing process can occur.
If a patient has lost that ability to heal or recover either through old age or disease then no matter what we do recovery will be unsuccessful. Conversely, some patients have an ability to recover which exceeds our complete understanding of the processes involved.
"Iggy" and fellow members of his species have such healing potential that, should they lose a portion of their tail, it has the capability of regrowth. An enviable skill if ever there was one!
Whilst this near magical process is quite remarkable it requires a considerable energy input and should only be used when absolutely necessary. Consequently, we have endeavoured over the last few weeks to save "Iggy" the trouble by carefully cleaning and debriding the abscess that had formed on his tail.
This disease process had come about as a result of improper skin shedding. The fragments of which had encircled his tail and caused tissue damage leading to an opportunistic infection. By removing the dead tissue and cultivating a healthy environment "Iggy's" tail has almost completely recovered without the need for complete regeneration. Hopefully, "Iggy" can then channel his energies in other more enjoyable pursuits!
Next week I hope to have the pleasure of seeing some of "Iggy's" cousins in the wild when I make a once in a lifetime trip to the Galapagos islands! Given the recent volcanic eruptions there, I may not be heading towards a particularly healthy environment myself. . . now if only I had the secret of regeneration!
BVMS, Cert SAO, MRCVS