Quarantine

kinyonga

Chameleon Enthusiast
Quarantine procedures are mainly used to prevent the introduction of pathogens into a pre-existing population of animals while allowing the health of a new one to be accessed and treated if necessary.

It doesn't matter if its CB or WC or even a LTC reptile that you bring into your collection, its important to quarantine a new-to-your-home critter IMHO. Failure to do so can put the reptiles you already own at risk.

If the chameleon has been in a petstore, a reptile store or at a reptile show, it could have been handled by people who have not bothered to wash their hands in between handling different reptiles. Handling one reptile and then moving on to another (especially WC's which may carry more/different bacteria to begin with) spreads the bacteria and may even spread parasites. Petstore/show employees could have handled more than one reptile/species without washing their hands in between handling each also spreading germs, etc. from one to the other. Even a breeder could have handled reptiles without proper hygiene practices....so its important to quarantine all new purchases as well as make sure that even when you go home with no new critters you wash your hands well to prevent bringing anything in to your collection.

I recommend quarantining new arrivals for several months...and even then it can sometimes be a risk when you move a new one into an area where you have your previously acquired reptiles. Its possible for the new arrivals to be carriers of a virus, for instance, that isn't affecting them but may affect others in your collection when they are exposed to it.

While they are in quarantine, I recommend looking after the reptiles that have been with you and are already out of quarantine first and then do the "new arrivals"...and I recommend not going back into the room where the one's that are out of quarantine are after you deal with the "new arrivals". Do not use equipment used for the ones in quarantine for the ones that are out of quarantine without disinfecting them first.

BTW, even when I work with ones that have been with me for quite a while (that are no longer in quarantine) I wash my hands when moving from one cage to the next.

I recommend keeping the set-up simple for the newly acquired so that its easier to observe them while you look for signs of infection, poor health, check the feces, see if the chameleon is eating and drinking.

Much of the following applies to WC chameleons although CB's can have some of these problems too.

Generally, I like to leave the internal parasite treatment until after the new arrivals have had some time to settle in (unless the chameleon is apparently suffering from them). This gives them and the parasites time to settle down/decrease in numbers before the treatment. If the parasite load is heavy, treating it can kill the chameleon. The vast amount of dead parasite bodies that the chameleon's system has to deal with all at once can result in a kind of toxic shock and death. Until the chameleon is parasite-free and the cage and furnishings cleaned out, its important to be careful that you don't touch anything that could have feces on it without precautions to prevent parasite transfer. Even allowing the chameleon to walk on you could transfer feces.

Its important that testing be done to see what parasite(s) the chameleon has rather than just using a shot-gun approach. If you just use any anti-parasite medication (shot-gun approach) you may be using it unnecessarily or you may not be treating the kind of parasites that the chameleon has or all the parasites that the chameleon has.

However, any external parasites (not usually found in chameleons) should be dealt with quickly so that they don't spread to the rest of your collection.

If there are abcesses or mouthrot or other issues (mostly in WC's) that could progress and compromise the chameleon's health (or further compromise the chameleon's health) they will also need to be dealt with ASAP. If the mouthrot is in the very early stages it might be able to be treated without a vet. If it is more serious, the "pus" should be removed from the abcess/mouthrot by a vet and the area flushed out. A culture and sensitivity test should be done to determine what antibiotic the chameleon should be put on to kill the bacteria.

Most other issues should be dealt with through a vet visit too.

One other area that might be of concern re: contamination is the eggs that come from a WC female...
I have read that salmonella can penetrate eggs and it hasn't been excluded that adenoviruses can penetrate them either...so these might be passed to the hatchlings.
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Advice from a well-known vet...
http://seavs.com/reptiles/lizards/chameleons/
"Bacterial and parasitic problems are common in chameleons. Also, concurrent unidentified viral infections may complicate both infectious and non-infectious problems. To minimize the spread of infectious disease, new chameleons should be quarantined in a separate room for a minimum of 60 days (preferably 90 days). During quarantine, several fecal samples should be collected and checked for parasites. Specimens should be observed to see if they are feeding and defecating normally (watch for signs of illness as well). The longer the new specimens are isolated, the greater the chance of identifying a problem and keeping diseases from spreading through an existing collection."
 
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nice write up Linda!

Edit: I wanted to add that it's a good idea to manually cup feed (as in holding the cup for) the cham. This way crickets aren't running around the cage spreading excreted parasites. One of the reasons captive animals don't deal with parasites so well is a lot to do with not being out in the wild. Being in a cage means they mostly poop in one place and this creates a higher concentration of parasites. Sure we clean out cages but crickets getting loose and runing through some fresh droppings or digging in the dirt where poop has landed before can reintroduce a parasite, or increase the levels in the animal. Also chameleons like, Melleri, will (I have no idea why) aim their bottom at the feeding cup and deposit their droppings. Maybe it is to show the feeder bugs the end product of the process they are about to go through?

For this reason I hold the cup and monitor food intake as the cham eats. I also make sure no bugs get loose in the cage.
 
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kinyonga

Chameleon Enthusiast
I think I fixed the link.

Glad you liked the article! I hope to add more to it concerning bacteria, parasites, etc....but it will take time. There's a lot to cover.
 

OldSkoolxReasons

New Member
I quarantine all new arrivals for 30 days usually. but whenever I get a new chameleon it is off to the vet for them and whichever of mine are due up anyways. My chams either go to the vet or get fecals done by the vet(If I don't want interrupt breeding/egg laying/sheds when I feel they are already stressed) every 3-4 months, usually 3. Even though they all seem in perfect health I have to have them checked anyways, I'm obsessed with them and don't know what I would do if anything happened to any of my chams. While many people think it is unnecessary to vet check them this often I don't, I feel over cautious is better than under cautious. Quarantining helped me with a female cham that I bought/rescued from a local show. A notoriously shady snake/tortoise breeder had had this female for sale for 3 consecutive months. Every month the price tag was very high. She had eye problems and was pretty beaten up but overall looked a healthy body weight and did not seem to be dehydrated. I finally talked him into selling her to me very very cheap, after I pointed out all the health problems she had. Lone behold I took her to the vet and she had coccidia and pinworms. She had been quarantined luckily and had not been introduced to any of my males yet, due to her being a new arrival and having health problems. A friend later told me the shady dealer had gotten her wild caught 5 months prior and that his male died because he went blind fro a coil light and could not eat. Hence why she had eye problems. I was told she was CB from screameleons, "He just couldn't remember the sire at the moment". In any case she is fine now due to the vet and all my other animals are fine due to quarantining her. Very good and informative post.



Justin
 

chamlover

New Member
Great thread Linda.

I would also like to add 1 thing that I have recently found out the hard way. Sometimes "washing" your hands isn't enough. A few mos ago i took in several rescued dragons which were quarantined in a different room and i always used sanitizer or washed my hands afterwards. But it wasn't enough. 1 of them ended up having Yellow Fungus which eventually did get into my collection of other bearded dragons. Of course, sanitixer and plain washing doesn't kill this so i'm assuming some of it remained on me and then was transferred to some of my guys. I ended up with 3 of the rescues with it and 8 of mine having it. 2 of my babies recently died from it. Again it is believed this can be transferred through the eggs so even babies can be born with it. And of course it can be transferred ot other repitiles as well.

The moral of my story is: now when i'm dealing with new arrivals of any sort, plastic gloves, changed in between cages is the only way to go.
Besides it saves my hands a little. lol
 

kinyonga

Chameleon Enthusiast
A little late but I think its still worth mentioning...regarding yellow fungus (aka CANV)...
"CANV dermatomycosis appears to be contagious and can readily spread within a reptile collection, either directly through contact with infective arthroconidia or indirectly via fomites"...and..."Airborne CANV propagules may have accounted for the group D control animals developing an epidermal fungal lesion"...
 

Itwas

New Member
excellent thread. I really appreciate it when people spend their time creating informative and well written posts.
 

Georgia

New Member
New cham owner...and pc user believe it or not, this is my first time on a forum! not sure if I am asking questions in the right location or not.. but on the topic of parasites, is profalatic deworming of chams reccomended?Panacure??
Also wondering about the cup feeding. I have recently rescued a female veiled cham suffering from severe mbd(yes diagnosed by vet) I syringe fed and did a lot of research but would appreciate some pratical knowledge . She will not take crickets from my hands anymore?? she did for a month and recently stopped eating, I accidently let a cricket loose in enclosure and she ate it! so on one hand I am pleased she is at least willing to eat, but now how on earth do I keep track of proper supplementation and how much she is actually eating? not to mention loose crickets that escapr from her enclosure suck!Any advice or suggestive reading would be very much appreciated. Thank you in advance!
 

rort

New Member
Someone new to this forum and chameleon keeping (but not to animal husbandry w/ regards to QT), pictures of what we may be looking for in regards to parasites and how feces should look would personally help me out greatly!
 

Alexl

Established Member
If the parasite load is heavy, treating it can kill the chameleon.
Little add: A heavy parasite load can kill the animal, too. So it would be best choice to look which parasites the chameleon exactly has. Some cause less problems in treating than others, best way would be to balance it out with your vet - as you already wrote.

And some more hints: The number of parasites found in feces do not claim anything about the real parasites envolvement (you can find barely parasites in feces sometimes, but the real parasite burden may be high after all).

About pregnant females: A parasite infected female may transfer some parasite stages to the eggs' outer surface while laying them. If the parasites have a good tenacity, the babys infect themselves while hatching.

pictures of what we may be looking for in regards to parasites and how feces should look would personally help me out greatly!
You can't see most parasites in feces by the unaided eye, that's why you should bring it to the vet to get it examined. ;) Feces should be brown or black, urate is mostely white. There may be a little mucus around it. I'm sure you'll find some pictures on the forum.
 

rort

New Member
You can't see most parasites in feces by the unaided eye, that's why you should bring it to the vet to get it examined. ;) Feces should be brown or black, urate is mostely white. There may be a little mucus around it. I'm sure you'll find some pictures on the forum.
Awesome, thanks!
 
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