Hi stranger! Signing up for MypetMD is easy, free and puts the most relevant content at your fingertips.

Get Instant Access To

  • 24/7 alerts for pet-related recalls

  • Your own library of articles, blogs, and favorite pet names

  • Tools designed to keep your pets happy and healthy



or Connect with Facebook

By joining petMD, you agree to the Privacy Policy.

Intestinal Parasites in Reptiles

ADVERTISEMENT

Roundworm, Hookworm, and Pinworm Infections

 

Intestinal parasites can be a serious problem for all pet reptiles, as many reptiles captured from the wild often already have parasites. Captive-bred reptiles, in particular, become parasitized through contact with other reptiles or contaminated objects and environments, or by eating infected food items. Reptile parasites reproduce rapidly and can cause devastating illness and quickly spread throughout an entire collection.

 

Worms are one of the most common intestinal parasites. Among reptiles, the most common infections are roundworms (including ascarids), hookworms and pinworms. Lizards, in particular, are likely to contract roundworms.

 

Symptoms and Types

 

Reptiles with intestinal parasites frequently have the following symptoms:

 

  • Poor appetite
  • Weight loss
  • Vomiting or regurgitation
  • Abnormal appearing stools
  • Diarrhea

 

Worms may be visible in a reptile’s feces or vomit, but even if worms are not seen, they can certainly still be present within the animal’s body.

 

The larval forms of some types of intestinal parasites migrate through the lungs and can cause respiratory signs and pneumonia. Death is possible with severe infections, particularly when certain types of microorganisms are involved.

 

Causes

 

Reptiles are susceptible to many different species of intestinal parasites. They range from large worms that look like spaghetti to single-celled microorganisms (e.g. Entamoeba, flagellates, coccidia, and Cryptosporidium) that are visible only under the microscope. Low-level parasitism, which causes few clinical signs in the reptile, can quickly escalate when a reptile’s terrarium is not regularly cleaned.

 

Previously parasite-free reptiles often become infected by ingesting feces containing immature forms of the organism. In some cases, larvae can burrow through the reptile’s skin.

 

Diagnosis

 

A veterinarian will often suspect that a pet reptile is suffering from intestinal parasites based on the pet’s medical history, clinical signs, and a physical exam. To determine the types of parasites involved and the best course of treatment, he or she will need to examine a fresh fecal sample under the microscope or send it to a laboratory for testing.

 

Comments  0

Leave Comment

Related Articles

Adenovirus Infection in Reptiles
Adenovirus is an infection in reptiles that is of particular concern to owners of...
READ MORE
Gastrointestinal Tract Infection in Reptiles
Cryptosporidiosis   Protozoa cause many infectious diseases...
READ MORE
Amebiasis in Reptiles
Infection with Entamoeba   Amebiasis is one of the most...
READ MORE
  • Lifetime Credits:
  • Today's Credits:
Hurry Before All Seats are Taken!
Enroll
Be an A++ Pet Parent! Take fun & free courses to earn badges & certifications. Choose a course»
Around the Web

MORE FROM PETMD.COM