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Brian, February 3, 2011.
I have bought some reptiles at a reptile show and they have worms. Any treatment?

Parasites are very common in reptiles. Unfortunatelly, the medical standards in the reptile industry are not so high: breeders ignore their role in perpetuating parasites and consumers fail to demand parasite-free animals. For that reason most of the reptiles sold in the pet market have worms. I recommend yearly fecal tests to diagnose type of gastrointestinal parasites and to establish best treatment. How do you know that your tegu has worms? If you saw worms in the stools that means that your tegu has very high numbers of worms and therefore, this is adding a lot of stress on your tegu. There are many types of parasites, some that require intermediate host (like a cricket or mouse) and others that not. Those parasites that do not require a host have a direct life cycle and they are the ones that will increase in numbers while in captivity causing serious problems to your reptile. In a study 2005 study, parasites were found to be the third leading cause of mortality in captive reptiles.

David Martinez DVM, MSc
Southeastern Mobile Vet
5805 State Bridge Rd., Ste. G-362
Johns Creek, GA  30097
678-710-8387 / Fax: 678-710-8387