filarial worm removal

Chameleon Nation

New Member
I had some WC chams with some filarial worms that I have been plumping up before I removed them. When they first got here they were very small and you could see them. Today they were pretty big and you could really see them under the skin.

This is not as bad as it looks. I used a pair of tweezers to lift the skin, then made a small incision where the worm was. Grabbed the needle nose tweezers and gently grabbed the worm and slowly pulled it out. There is some brusing from where she was being held and a bruise in the location of where the worm was. The little white spot is where the cut was. The white is corn starch.
 

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Miss Lily

Chameleon Enthusiast
Ewww! Poor little thing! Bet she feels happier now bless her! Did you get all of them out? How do they get them in the first place?
 

Chameleon Nation

New Member
From what I see they are all out. Two females and one male had them. Both females had theirs removed today. I will wait and see how they are over the next couple days before I remove the males.

They get worms from some insects, flys carry some worm eggs. Licking branches where another animal or reptile has deficated that has been carrying them. Drinking contaminated water is usually the source.
 

Benton1576

New Member
How did you hold onto her? I place a towel on the floor, then lay the chameleon down and put a thin towel over the face, this seems to make them sleep and the barely even twitch when I remove them. I Pulled 8 from my WC Faly, Thor!!! I didnt use any corn starch though, I just make a tiny incision and keep the area clean, they heal themselves.
 

Texas Ranger

Avid Member
Glad you got them out drew :) we made a crappy phone video of me and my wife removing one of those from one of our wc females on our YouTube channel. It was crazy the dang worm keap running from me .... But our female recovered nice and healed in just a few days.
 

Chameleon Nation

New Member
Small cloth over the face so she cant see. My wife held her still while I pulled them out. They did struggle a bit.

The corn starch is to prevent/stop any bleeding.
 

Benton1576

New Member
I was petrified doing this the first time, but I had a hell of a teacher to guide me through it!!!

These things keep coming back though, which is a shame as they can really ruin the look of a chameleon. If only there was a way to kill the eggs too.
 

suzi

Avid Member
Last year 2 of mine got some from eating house flies. I used safeguard and it forced them out, took a few doses over a coarse of a couple of months. I was amazed at the length of them, they looked similar to earthworms accept skinny.
 

Benton1576

New Member
Last year 2 of mine got some from eating house flies. I used safeguard and it forced them out, took a few doses over a coarse of a couple of months. I was amazed at the length of them, they looked similar to earthworms accept skinny.
Safeguard? what is that? Did it remove the worms from under the skin without surgery, or did it just remove intestinal worms? I cant see how that is possible to remove filarial worms with medication.

Also, for those reading and thinking about doing this, removal of worms is definately something not recommended and should be done by a qualified vetinarian where possible.
 

Texas Ranger

Avid Member
I was petrified doing this the first time, but I had a hell of a teacher to guide me through it!!!

These things keep coming back though, which is a shame as they can really ruin the look of a chameleon. If only there was a way to kill the eggs too.
Lol ;) ;) ......
Man if they are still coming back that's not good are you still doing the panucur treatments? The panacur treatments kill the worms that have not mutated to be able to go under the skin....so if you are still getting worms under the skin you need to dose again and remove the worms from under the skin again.
 

Texas Ranger

Avid Member
Safeguard? what is that? Did it remove the worms from under the skin without surgery, or did it just remove intestinal worms? I cant see how that is possible to remove filarial worms with medication.

Also, for those reading and thinking about doing this, removal of worms is definately something not recommended and should be done by a qualified vetinarian where possible.
Safeguard is the same as panucur.
 

arnau666

New Member
omg thats nasty ! damn i can do incisions and surgery in med school but i dont think i can do this to a cham :( i just pray that this wont be needed EVER ! im glad you took them out , lots of courage :p all of you who did this ! i hope she will be ok
 

ferretinmyshoes

Veterinarian
Staff member
The worm is Foleyella furcata - an african parasite that is spread by blood sucking insects (not houseflies or feces). The worms seen under the skin are only part of the worm burden usually - the rest exist as microfilaria (microscopic worms). That is why they will sometimes have new ones after removal as the microfilaria grow.
 

Benton1576

New Member
The worm is Foleyella furcata - an african parasite that is spread by blood sucking insects (not houseflies or feces). The worms seen under the skin are only part of the worm burden usually - the rest exist as microfilaria (microscopic worms). That is why they will sometimes have new ones after removal as the microfilaria grow.
So, in your opinion, what is the best way to remove these for good? Is there anything? I would like to not have to perform substantially stressful surgery on my WC specimins if theres a way to remove them with non harmful meds.
 
The worm is Foleyella furcata - an african parasite that is spread by blood sucking insects (not houseflies or feces). The worms seen under the skin are only part of the worm burden usually - the rest exist as microfilaria (microscopic worms). That is why they will sometimes have new ones after removal as the microfilaria grow.
So... say I sometimes feel me "skin crawl" when there's nothing there, I don't have worms under my skin do i???? :eek:
 

ferretinmyshoes

Veterinarian
Staff member
So, in your opinion, what is the best way to remove these for good? Is there anything? I would like to not have to perform substantially stressful surgery on my WC specimins if theres a way to remove them with non harmful meds.
Unfortunately the big ones do have to be removed surgically. Some vets advise following with deworming, and some do not. The problem is we don't know a whole lot about treating it successfully. A few say fenbendazole (panacur) might work but there aren't any studies. Some say levamisole or ivermectin, but there was one case of the chameleon dying after ivermectin treatment for foleyella. The problem is it was very unclear if it was a problem with the drug, or death caused by overload of dead worm bits in the vasculature where they live, which is a very real possibility. So it's hard to say what the best course of follow up treatment. But the big worms should be removed.
 

KarmaChameleon1337

Avid Member
I don't know if this is safe for chameleons, but I know with ringworms on humans and worms that are directly below the skin, if you place nailpolish over it it will suffocate the worms.
 
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