Reptile Internal Parasites

Reptiles, like other animals, can get infected with internal parasites. These parasites live inside a reptile’s body and feed off of them, often causing serious health problems. Common types of internal parasites in reptiles include roundworms, tapeworms, flukes, and protozoans.

Roundworms are the most common type of internal parasite found in reptiles. They are usually found in your pet’s intestines and can cause diarrhea, vomiting, weight loss, and anemia. Tapeworms are also common in reptiles and can cause similar symptoms. Flukes are flatworms that attach to the reptile’s organs and feed off of their blood. Protozoans are single-celled organisms that can cause digestive issues such as diarrhea and vomiting.

Reptiles can become infected with internal parasites in a variety of ways. They can be passed from one reptile to another through contact, or they can be ingested from contaminated food or water. It’s important to keep your reptile’s environment clean and free of parasites to prevent them from getting infected.

If you suspect that your reptile has an internal parasite, it’s important to take them to your vet for diagnosis and treatment.

Internal parasites can be a serious health issue for reptiles, and it’s important to be aware of the signs and symptoms and take action if you suspect your reptile has been infected. With proper care and treatment, your reptile can make a full recovery.

Symptoms of Reptile Internal Parasites

  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Weight loss
  • Anemia
  • Lethargy
  • Poor appetite
  • Abdominal Swelling 
  • Bloody stools
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Skin irritation or discoloration

Diagnosing Reptile Internal Parasites

If you suspect that your reptile has an internal parasite, it’s important to take them to your vet for diagnosis and treatment. Your vet will likely perform a physical exam and could also take a fecal sample to look for parasites. They can also recommend blood tests or imaging tests such as x-rays or ultrasounds to help diagnose the problem.

a close up of a Blue-Tongued Skink's head and blue tongue

Stages of Internal Parasites

Egg Stage

The parasite’s eggs are passed in your pet’s feces and can be ingested by other reptiles or contaminate other materials in their environment.

Larval Stage

After the eggs have been ingested, the larvae hatch from their eggs and travel through the reptile’s body, eventually settling in their organs or intestines.

Adult Stage

The adult parasites feed off of the reptile’s body, causing health problems such as diarrhea, vomiting, and anemia..

Treating Reptile Internal Parasites

Treating internal parasites in reptiles usually involves deworming medications and antibiotics, as well as supportive care such as fluids and vitamins. It’s also important to clean your reptile’s environment thoroughly to prevent reinfection.

Preventing Reptile Internal Parasites

The best way to prevent internal parasites in reptiles is to keep their environment clean and free of parasites. This means regularly cleaning their enclosure, changing their bedding, and giving them fresh food and water. It’s also important to quarantine new reptiles before introducing them into your reptile’s environment.