A variety of neurological disorders have been reported in reptiles, but evaluation of a reptile patient with suspected neurological disease can be challenging. The feasibility of performing and interpreting neurological examinations may be affected by a number of factors, including species, body temperature, individual temperament, and stress levels. The aims of this study were to determine whether standard neurological examinations used in other companion animal species could be adapted for use in lizards to establish a reference for healthy animals. The inland bearded dragon (Pogona vitticeps) and leopard gecko (Eublepharis macularius) were selected as two of the most commonly presented pet lizard species. Thirty adult leopard geckos and 30 juvenile bearded dragons were provided by a private breeder as subjects for the study. A complete physical examination was performed on each animal, followed by a standardized neurological examination. Postural reactions, spinal reflexes, and cranial nerve testing were scored as absent, reduced, or present. Certain responses, such as the menace response and response to sound, were consistently absent in all animals, whereas parameters such as jaw tone and righting reflex were present in all animals. Some variation was also observed in response to other tests such as tactile placing and tail pinch. It is hoped that these findings can help clinicians prioritize tests that can be easily performed with minimal stress, and give consistent results in a healthy lizard.
bearded dragon (Pogona vitticeps)
Leopard gecko (Eublepharis macularius)