Parasites and Reptiles

Bugs? No thank you! Though insects might be part of your pet reptile’s diet, parasites shouldn’t be!

I was scrolling through Facebook the other day, when I noticed a unique question. A girl was inquiring about a parasite that she had found on her pet lizard. She had placed the parasite under a microscope and had then taken a picture of it. While I knew that fleas and parasites could get onto cats and dogs, I didn’t realize that they could also infest lizards and possibly other reptiles. So, how can you tell if your scaly pet has parasites? And if they do, how can you help get rid of them?

For starters, parasites are organisms that live on or in the body of your reptile. Parasites can either have no effect on your pet’s health, or it could negatively affect it. Most reptiles actually carry certain kinds that are native to their natural environment. However, stress due to rehousing, environment (improper lighting, temperature or humidity, for example) or a bad diet can cause one or more parasites to cause an infection.

The biggest sign of an infection is a change in your pet’s poop. A change in color, odor or consistency should be brought to a veterinarian’s attention. In addition to diarrhea or a stool with a very strong odor, pieces of undigested food in the poop can also be a sign. Other signs of a parasitic infection in reptiles include:

  • Lack of appetite or significant appetite with no growth in size
  • Weight loss
  • Vomiting
  • Lethargy (or unwillingness to move)
  • Dehydration
  • Bloated or thin stomach
  • Sunken eyes

You’ll need the help of an expert if your reptile has parasites. So call a vet at the first sign of these symptoms.

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