Lab works in reptiles  

 

Keeping reptiles and exotic pets becomes more and more popular. Consequently we see them in practice more often. In the lab we have to deal more and more with parasites and well as with bacterial infections in these species.

Endoparasites

Endoparasites are one the health problems, owners of reptiles are most often confronted with. Consequently this is a subject in the modern vet practice as well. Here we hand on data of examinations in our lab.

During the last 4 years we examined 2083 faecal samples using the methiolate iodine formaldehyde concentration - a method with a sensitivity higher than the commonly used flotation.

During the last 4 years we examined 2083 faecal samples using the methiolate iodine formaldehyde concentration - a method with a sensitivity higher than the commonly used flotation.

In our samples we found 48,7 % to be positive for parasites:  39,1 % were positive for more than one species.

In 28,5% of the cases we diagnosed protozoa: again in 23,3% more than one species could be identified.

31 % of the samples were positive for both endoparasites and protozoa.
The most common findings were Oxyura and Trematodes on the one hand and Coccidia, Entamoeba and Balantidium on the other.

The high percentage of positive findings is in accordance to other examinations. Most of the parasites are of no high health risk when found in small numbers. They can be of importance though  whenever the animals are not kept under optimal conditions.

Keeping in mind the high percentage of positives, animals that are introduced into a group should always checked before leaving the quarantine. Quarantine should last for 6 weeks. Hygiene is an essential tool for optimal prevention of diseases of both parasitic and bacterial origin.

Bacterial infections

In contrast to mammals bacterial infections in reptiles are most often not correlated with specific bacteria. Thus a differentiation between pathogenic and non pathogenic bacteria is by far harder. Today it is generally believed that primary pathogenic bacteria do not exist in reptiles. As a result

1.  interpretation of bacteriological findings is a task
 
2.  preventative examinations generally  are not of any use

In general, in a healthy animal a series of different species can be isolated. Once an animal suffers from a bacterial infection usually just one species can be isolated.

Typical species involved with infections are:

Pseudomonas
Quite often found in pneumonia and urinary tract infections (UTI). Quite often difficult to treat because most strains are multiresistant

E. coli
Can cause diarrhoea, pneumonia and wound infections

Enterobacter
Ubiqutious, only important in animals with impaired immune system ore in young animals Infections of respiratory tract and gastrointestinal tract  

Proteus
Often found in UTI

Aeromonas 
Can cause septicaemia

Salmonella
Quite often found without any clinical relevance







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