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Reptiles and Parasites

Reptiles are becoming more popular as pets as the years go by. A lot more information is available today and more people are becoming interested in having scaly friends in the house. Reptiles, like all other animals, can be host to different parasites and it is important to practice good hygiene to prevent the spread of these parasites in a reptile collection. The best way to keep harmful parasites and bacteria from spreading to other reptiles or even to humans is to always wash your hands with warm water and soap after handling any reptile or after cleaning its enclosure.

Not all parasites are “worms”, which is a common misconception, and most of them are invisible to the naked eye. Three common parasites are hookworms, roundworms, and coccidian but there are many more that can pose a threat to captive reptiles.

It is important to have your Veterinarian perform routine fecal exams on your reptiles to attempt diagnose any parasitic infection and be able to dispense the appropriate medication at the right dose. A fecal exam is basically a microscopic examination of the feces to check for the presence of parasite eggs, which would confirm the presence of the mature parasites in your reptile. I do not advise using dewormers sold at feed stores or pet stores for your reptiles mainly because the medication or dosages could be wrong and this could lead to resistance to the medication by the parasites or even death of your reptile.

Our reptiles are valuable and they depend 100% on us to provide for all their needs in captivity. We owe it to them to seek the best care for their health so always consult with your veterinarian before trying anything at home. Courtesy of Ivan Alfonso, DVM, Kirkman Area Animal Clinic 5633 Metro West Blvd. Orlando, FL 32811 407-295-7547 www.kirkmanareaanimalclinic.com.


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