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Savannah Monitor Lizards
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Savannah Monitor Lizards

We have a Savannah Monitor that is about 5 yrs old and we have had him since he was a baby.  This morning he began thrashing around in his cage and becoming stiff.  His head points to the sky and is kind of twisted,  He has always eaten good, plenty of exercise and has a large cage,  He has never acted like this.  What could be wrong?
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234713_tn?1283530259
The unusual head position you describe I believe is called Torticollis and is indicative of a neurological disease.  How this neurological abnormality occurred is best diagnosed by an exotic vet.   Consulting  an exotic animal veterinarian makes sense since your lizard may need diagnostic tests such as X-Rays.

Torticollis could occur from trauma to the spine or neck, Infectious diseases (bacterial or viral diseases affecting the nervous system), Nutritional deficiencies, and cancers, such as lymphosarcoma.

In the veterinary literature there is a case of torticollis in a monitor lizard in Florida, USA, caused by West Nile Virus.

The following is an excerpt from a Veterinary Journal "Veterinary Practice News" about Nutritional Related disease in Reptiles:
http://www.veterinarypracticenews.com/vet-dept/avian-exotic-dept/nutritional-related-diseases-in-reptiles.aspx

I included this for your general knowledge, since I don't know if it applies to your lizard.

For additional help please post this question to the "Reptile" section of this board.

4 Comments
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Avatar_n_tn
Thank you for your comments and  the web site.  I will be sure and review the web site, as we also have 3 more large lizards that we have had for over 20 yrs.

Our Savannah Monitor lizard is doing good and back to normal today.  I am wondering if he got to cold yesterday.  My son laid down on the couch with the lizard on his stomach and wrapped him in a blanket.  After a couple of hours he began to come around and act like his normal self.

I have never seen any of our lizards act the way the monitor did yesterday.  I will have him checked out just to be safe and I will also do some more research to try and find out what happened so that we can prevent it from happening again.

Thank You
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234713_tn?1283530259
I am glad your lizard is doing well!
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Avatar_m_tn
i had my savanna monitor for about a good 3yrs and he was about 33 inches long and about 5 inches across.  Lastnight i i found him stiff as a board and eyes closed but puffed out, mouth opened wide with what looked like his insides in his mouth and hanging out like he threw it up and legs and body was puffed out and his legs looked like blood inside just filled up like a cup..he was dead the room smelled sooo bad.  It really looked like he explode from the inside out.  Can you just enlighten me on what you think happened, thanks.
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This Forum's Experts
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Aleda M Cheng, D.V.M., C.V.ABlank
American Animal Hospital
Randolph, NJ
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