Infectious Cloacitis in Reptiles

Swollen Vent

In reptiles, the ends of the digestive, urinary, and reproductive tract combine to form a common chamber and a single opening to the external environment. This structure is called the cloaca or vent. A reptile’s cloaca can become infected and inflamed, a condition known as cloacitis.

Symptoms and Types

Symptoms of cloacitis include:

  • Swollen tissue around the vent
  • Bloody discharge from the cloaca

Cloacal infections can spread to other regions of the body (e.g. into internal organs or under the skin) if not caught early and treated appropriately.


Any condition that disrupts the normal protective barriers of cloacal tissues can allow an infection to set in. Internal parasites or stones that develop within the cloaca because of vitamin and mineral imbalances in the diet are other possible causes for an infection.


A veterinarian can usually diagnose a case of infectious cloacitis based on a reptile’s symptoms and a physical exam. Fecal examinations are necessary to diagnose any internal parasites that may be involved.

  Next >

Explore Reptile & Amphibian Center