Ectoparasites in captive reptiles

Pablo David Jimenez Castro
Saturday, February 2, 2019

Pet reptile ownership has increased substantially over the last few years, with 1.6% of the 12 million homes in the UK that reported having a pet, having at least one reptile. Ectoparasite infestations can have negative impacts on the health and wellbeing of pet reptiles, and can become life-threatening if left unchecked. Three groups of mites are known to cause major infestations and play a role in causing clinical disease. A wide variety of tick species are also associated with captive reptiles. Diagnosis/detection of ectoparasites is very straightforward, with the identification of the different parasites on clinical examination or skin scrapings. There is an array of different chemical treatments for these infestations; however, environmental control is also necessary when trying to keep parasites at bay. A quarantine section should be in place in any vivarium receiving imported species, and these reptiles should be kept in quarantine for at least 90 days, isolated from the main reptile population. In the present article, the authors present information on the key external parasites commonly reported from captive reptiles in the UK.

Ectoparasites in captive reptiles
Ectoparasites in captive reptiles

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