Parasitic Infection in Reptiles

By PetMD Editorial on Jul. 24, 2008


Reptiles are as susceptible to infections as any other animal. Some are carrying parasites and display symptoms. Others do not show any symptoms. One such microscopic protozoan parasite which infects reptiles is a flagellate. In particular, the Hexamita species of the flagellates colonize various bodily organs and systems in the reptile.

Symptoms and Types

The type of symptoms caused by a flagellate infection mainly depends on the reptile species. Pet turtles and tortoises, for instance, will suffer from urinary diseases due to a urinary tract infection. While snakes suffer from intestinal diseases when flagellates colonize in their intestines.


Food is the main cause for a flagellate infection. Therefore, if you feed your reptile anything which is a carrier of the parasite, it will contract the infection, too.

Your pet reptile can also get infected with flagellates while ate the pet store, especially when the conditions of store are unhygienic.


The veterinarian will diagnose a flagellate infection by microscopically examining its urine (in case of turtles and tortoises) or feces (in case of snakes).


Antihelmintic and antiprotozoal medicines are used to treat infected reptiles. Veterinarians will also thoroughly disinfect the area in which the parasites are located.

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