Respiratory Infection (RI)

An upper respiratory infection, or RI/URI, is basically reptile pneumonia caused by a bacterial infection in the lungs.


  • Audible exhalation (wheezing/clicking)
  • Breathing with head raised
  • Bubbly/stringy mucus in mouth
  • Lethargy
  • Loss of appetite
  • Open-mouth breathing
  • Runny nose
  • Scabbed lips
  • Swollen/bloated body
  • Weepy eyes
  • Weight loss


  • Cool temperatures
  • Humidity too high/low
  • No thermal gradient
  • Prolonged stress


Respiratory infections require veterinarian intervention and antibiotics to resolve.

First, make an appointment with a certified reptile vet. Then re-evaluate your day and night temperatures as well as humidity to make sure husbandry is correct. Be honest and transparent with your veterinarian about the numbers and your exact husbandry practices, as this will help them diagnose and cure your pet.

You can also increase nighttime temperatures to 80-85°F (27-29°C) with a ceramic heat emitter or even a space heater placed in the same room. Warmer temperatures help antibiotics be more effective

Antibiotics work by killing the bad bacteria in your skink’s lungs, but as a side effect of using oral meds they also tend to kill the good bacteria in your skink’s gut. This can result in decreased appetite and weight loss. Decrease the risk of complications from antibiotics with a probiotic like NutriBAC df or ProBio+ mixed with an appropriate quantity of quality dog food.

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