Lizard Envenomation Clinical Presentation

Updated: Jun 23, 2022
  • Author: Tony N Rianprakaisang, MD; Chief Editor: Joe Alcock, MD, MS  more...
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The vast majority of individuals who are bitten by Gila monsters or beaded lizards are intentionally interacting with the animals, and the history of the bite usually is clear.

To help estimate the severity of envenomation, it is important to estimate the length of time the lizard remained attached to the victim. While an effective envenomation can occur with any bite, longer attachment time of the animal can be associated with more severe symptoms [2] .

The victim may present with many signs and symptoms, including the following:

  • Multiple lacerations that may bleed profusely

  • Severe throbbing or burning pain at the bite site that may radiate proximally

  • Discoloration at the bite site (eg, cyanosis, ecchymosis)

  • Generalized weakness

  • Nausea and vomiting

  • Shortness of breath

  • Sweating

  • Numbness

  • Dizziness

  • Faintness

  • Progressive edema

  • Painful lymph nodes

  • Angioedema



Any of the attendant complications of shock may be encountered.

Myocardial infarction and cardiac dysrhythmias may occur.

Coagulopathy is a rare complication.

Airway edema may occur and may require advanced airway managment

Electrolyte disturbances may occur.

Wound infections may occur, especially in the setting of a retained tooth.

Necrosis is notably rare.

Allergic or anaphylactic reactions are also rare, but have been described. [11]