There is a long list of possible kinds of intestinal parasites that your reptile can be infected with. Some cause a problem (in larger quantities) while some veterinarians believe others are normal for your pet to have (in smaller quantites). If you’ve ever asked yourself, “What Kinds of Intestinal Parasites Can My Reptile Get?”, read on.
Click the parasite name for more information on medications, dosage, and habitat disinfection.
Also known as the threadworm or seatworm, this is a common kind of nematode worm that you can not see with the naked eye. It can be completely normal for your reptile to have pinworms since they typically contract them from eating infected mice or insects. Some vets choose not treat reptiles with a pinworm infection unless it is a problem for your pet, such as a decrease in appetite or a fecal obstruction. The type of Pinworm that is transmitted by feeders is a different genus than in humans, therefore making it not zoonotic. Which means although humans can get Pinworm, they can NOT get it from your reptile.
A very common parasite in pets, this protozoan does not always show up in fecal samples. It does not always shed eggs to visualize so it can be difficult to diagnose but can be safe for some reptiles to have in small numbers. A stressful situation may cause it to overpopulate and cause an issue for your pet. Isospora is the most common type of coccidia which is not transmitted to humans. As mentioned below, Cryptosporidium is a kind of coccidia that is more serious.
These worms can actually be visualized in the feces of your reptile. They look like long spaghetti-like worms and are easily treated.
You won’t see these worms in your reptile’s feces but they usually cause bloody stools due to the nature of the parasite. These worms “hook” onto the lining of your reptile’s intestines causing the blood you see in the stools. They are typically easily treated as well.
These little worms look like pieces of rice. They may be connected to form aworm or more commonly you may just see the rice like segments of the worm in the stool. Like most other parasites they can cause weight loss.
Offering water contaminated with this protozoan or feeding wild caught prey items are the two most common ways your reptile can get cryptosporidium. This tiny parasite is also zoonotic, meaning you can get it as well. It causes terrible diarrhea and weight loss, as do most intestinal parasites, and does not produce a worm that you will see in the feces. This type of coccidia unfortunately doesn’t offer a good outcome to most pet reptiles and typically can not be seen under a normal microscope. If you or your vet suspects a Cryptosporidium infection a special test should be performed to check for it.
Parasites like Giardia are a kind of flagellate. Reptiles can harbor many kinds of flagellates, most of which are normal in small amounts. But if your reptile is showing any symptoms of a parasitic infection your vet should prescribe a dewormer. In addition to these parasites, your pet reptile can get other intestinal diseases like Salmonella and E. Coli infections therefore you should always wash your hands after handling any reptile. At least once a year you should take your reptile to the vet, have him checked out, and have a fecal checked, even if you think your pet is fine.
For all my fecal testing for my Bearded Dragon, I rely on LK Testing who I found on Facebook. Their service is very fast, easy and affordable. It only costs $10 if you just send your sample in your own packaging. $15 if you want the packaging kit sent to you first. Then it’s $5 or $10 for recheck, respectively. You can even get a digital photo of the little squirmies for $2!
You will get your test report within a day or two of the receipt of your sample, along with suggestions about what to do now. They test feline and canine stool too! If you’ve been asking yourself, “What Kinds of Intestinal Parasites Can My Reptile Get?” now is the time to find out.
DATA SOURCE: LK Testing
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You might also like to read, Bearded Dragon FAQ : How to Keep Your Pet Lizard Healthy
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