Internal parasites aren’t common in most snakes. They are a lot more common in Western Hognose snakes, especially if they’re not captive bred. Western Hognose snakes are more likely to have internal parasites because of their diet. In the wild they are known for eating birds, frogs, lizards and mice. There are a number of ways that they could come into contact with a parasite.
Symptoms of Snake Internal Parasites
The most common symptom of an internal parasite infection is if they lose their appetite. Other signs may include:
- Weight loss
- Increased smell from their waste
If you think your snake has an internal parasite you’ll want to collect a fresh sample of their waste to bring into your vet to have it looked at. Fortunately internal parasites aren’t life threatening. If you don’t have a fresh sample it’s better to wait a few days than to take an old one. A fresh sample will be much better than bringing in an old sample. If your snake has internal parasites your vet will prescribe an oral dewormer.
If you want to keep them from getting parasites in the future try to buy captive raised food for them. They can still get parasites from them, but it should be a lot less likely than if they’re fed wild caught prey.
Diagnosing Snake Internal Parasites
If you suspect your snake has an internal parasite infection, it’s important to take them to a veterinarian to be evaluated and receive treatment. The vet will likely perform a physical examination and look at their fecal sample to look for the presence of parasites. Treatment can include deworming medications or antibiotics, depending on the type of parasite present. In some cases, surgery might be necessary to remove the parasites.
Stages of Snake Internal Parasites
The stages of internal parasites vary depending on the type of parasite present. Roundworms, tapeworms, and flukes typically have a two-stage life cycle where the eggs are passed in feces and then hatch into larvae. The larvae then migrate to other parts of the body, such as the lungs or intestines, where they mature into adults. Nematodes have a direct life cycle where the eggs are passed in feces and then hatch into larvae that mature directly into adults.
Treating Snake Internal Parasites
Treating internal parasites depends on the type of parasite present. In most cases, deworming medications or antibiotics are used to kill the parasites. In severe cases, surgery could be necessary to remove the parasites from their body.
It’s important to practice good hygiene and keep your snake’s enclosure clean in order to prevent reinfection.
Preventing Snake Internal Parasites
The best way to prevent snake internal parasites is to practice good hygiene and keep your snake’s enclosure clean. It’s important to quarantine any new snakes before introducing them into the enclosure and to avoid contact with other infected snakes.
Finally, it’s important to feed your snake only fresh, uncontaminated food sources.
Internal parasites can be dangerous if left untreated, and it’s important to take your snake to your vet for diagnosis and treatment if you suspect they may have an infection.