Parasite treatment in leaf chameleons (Brookesia stumpffi)


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These little guys have been on my mind, and it would be fun to try a small breeding project. I've got a few questions about them, but first and thought I'd share this article I found. Is deparisitization necessary for Brookesia, or do breeders have success not bothering with it?
Parasite treatment in leaf chameleons (Brookesia stumpffi)

In this case, 7.5 subadult and adult Brookesia stumpffi (5 wild-caught, 7 German offspring from different husbandries) were acquired for a breeding project. Fecal examinations of all terrestrial chameleons were carried out. Masses of Choleoeimeria spp., presumably Choleoeimeria brookesiae, were found in flotation and native preparations of almost all terrestrial chameleons. In addition, there were isolated co-infections with Heterakis spp. and trematodes. Strongylid-like eggs with thin shells and larvae as well as adult nematodes were found in the feces of several animals. A treatment protocol with Baycox 50 mg/ml (Elanco Animal Health, Rathausplatz 12, 61352 Bad Homburg, Germany, active ingredient toltrazuril) on days 1, 7, and 14 and Panacur 10% (Intervet Germany, Feldstraße 1a, 85716 Unterschleissheim, Germany, active ingredient fenbendazole) on day 3 and 13 proved successful. The diluted solutions were given into the mouth with a 100 µl pipette. Fecal examinations at the beginning of quarantine and on days 14, 28, and 42 after treatment were suggested as a practical protocol for veterinarians.

The biggest problem during treatment was reinfection with coccidial oocysts from the environment. The leaf chameleons reinfected themselves, among other things, via left feeders and fecal remains on climbed gauze and living plants. Successful quarantine was finally achieved under the following parameters: individual keeping without visual contact in separate terrariums, daily exchange of kitchen paper on the floor and a freshly cut elder branch, use of new gloves for each chameleon, slow-moving food from bowls disinfected daily in boiling water, weekly disinfection with ready-to-use Interkokask® (Albert Kerbl GmbH, Felizenzell 9, 84428 Buchbach, active ingredient chlorocresol). Extremely strict compliance with all cleaning and disinfection measures was necessary.

Dr. Alexandra Laube
Proceedings of the 57th Workshop of the WG Amphibian and Reptile Diseases, Focus: Asian Turtles
Münster, 04 – 06 November 2022
@javadi knows a lot more about this than I do. I personally have never bothered treating Brookesia for parasites. Though, if I'm not wrong, @javadi has experience medicating pygmies. He did a podcast episode not too long ago with Bill Strand on the Chameleon Academy podcast, and I think he briefly talks about treating some animals for parasites.

If your pygmy chameleon is doing good, then there isn't a reason to medicate them. If the animal isn't rebounding, then medication could and should be considered, kind of as a last resort. I'll leave the rest for @javadi to respond to.

But if you're asking about whether or not treating for parasites is necessary to have a successful breeding project, I would say no - it's not necessary. Most pygmies will rebound unless they arrive in terrible shape. When I get new pygmies, I keep them all individually at first to minimize and reduce the stress they endured from the import/export/domestic shipping process. After they are acclimated and doing well, then I might consider cohabbing them in trios. But everyone has a different approach, and hardly one method is better than another.
Thank you all for the info. I'm just in the research phase right now and will take it all into consideration. If I do decide to get some, I figured I'd get a proper terrarium set up, and watch it grow while waiting for an opportunity to get something.
Wild caught brookesia species tend to have parasites but it's not usually necessary to treat them unless there is a high enough load of parasites or you see their health declining. I don't typically bother unless they are losing weight or have other issues. The above posts give good info. I would say that if you do not treat them for parasites, assume their enclosure has parasites within it and thus new brookesia introduced to the enclosure might pick them up. Since they are best kept in bioactive setups, just something to consider.
Thank you. That's kinda what I've realized. Assuming I get WC, then that cage setup is tainted and if I have any babies to make sure they never go in. If I ever have the 'problem' of making addition bloodlines shortly after, like if a WC female brings a surprise, I'll cross that bridge when I get there. I decided to go ahead and start putting stuff together, and made a new post with that to keep this one more on topic.
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