Worms Again

Iain

Member
Once again I am off to the vet tonight to get Ziggy his first shot of anti-worm goo as his last sample cam back positive for eggs. Last time it was the wee guy Frodo that had a worm but thankfully this time he's totally clear which is great as he used to get mega-stressed when I had to give him his meds.

Ziggy is easy to administer to as you can be a wee bit firmer with him due to his size compared to Frodo but I like to get in/out so as to lessen any stress the big fella feels. Will need to remember to get some more sample bottles when we're done at the vet for their next sample due in March.
 

starter

Member
Regarding WORMING: "his first shot of anti-worm goo" ... What sort of medication is that please? I have been wondering for a long time whether reptiles need to be wormed (i.e. the worms inside their guts need to be killed, although they actually eat worms, among other things) and I have been looking on reptile supplier's websites and in pet shops and vet practices - and I have never found any "wormer for reptiles". Can some experienced cham keeper please comment on this? I used to regularly worm all the mammals I have ever had (dogs, cats, rabbits, horses, pigs, etc.) and for my snakes I used to give worming medicine to the rats and mice I bred before they got killed, so they would bring this worming agent into the snakes for their protection - but what can and/or should be done for chameleons?
 

Iain

Member
Hi Starter!

I didn't know anything about reptile worming until I took Ziggy to the vet for a check up (there was just something not right with him and I wanted it sorted - transpired he was bunged up). A sample was produced and it had some worm eggs in it and I was totally shocked as I am so careful with my boys and thought it was something I had/hadn't done. The vet assured me it wasn't my fault but the worms/worm eggs were an unfortunate risk with live food as the insects themselves carry the eggs. The eggs can be destroyed before our googly-eyed pals get near the insects by irradiating the insects but that then destroys their nutritional value so basically we are against a rock and a hard place. Thankfully treatment is quick and easy and I have my boys checked (sample wise) every three months. Funnily enough they were both totally clear on their last check up and are not due for another check until this June.
Unless a method can be devised to de-worm the insect live food before our pets get them then we just have to have regular check ups. When my boys have had worms the treatment takes one dose and that's that sorted. Takes longer to get them ready for a trip to the vet than the treatment does.
 

starter

Member
Any idea whether there is a do-it-yourself-at-home worming medicine available somewhere? Vets are expensive...
 

Iain

Member
Hi Starter.

Not to my knowledge with regards to a "Home Wormer". When the vet has administered the required medication the dosage had to be calculated as to my boys weight so that's not something I would personally tackle myself.
 

starter

Member
Iain, all wormers have to be measured to the weight, and this is very easy to do. Usually the ratio (ml or drops per kg or per 100g) is written on the packaging and a pipette or syringe is provided within for this purpose. I wouldn't want to pay £50 for a vet visit, only to get a £0.50 dose of product measured and administered. I hope that some other chameleon owners will reply to this thread, as I would really like to know whether our worm-eating pets (who most certainly are surrounded by worm eggs at all times) really need worming products, or whether this is only a money-making idea of your vet. (?)
 

Iain

Member
Hi Starter

I see your point. And like yourself I would be interested to see what others have to say.
 

GoodKarma19

Chameleon Enthusiast
Iain, all wormers have to be measured to the weight, and this is very easy to do. Usually the ratio (ml or drops per kg or per 100g) is written on the packaging and a pipette or syringe is provided within for this purpose. I wouldn't want to pay £50 for a vet visit, only to get a £0.50 dose of product measured and administered. I hope that some other chameleon owners will reply to this thread, as I would really like to know whether our worm-eating pets (who most certainly are surrounded by worm eggs at all times) really need worming products, or whether this is only a money-making idea of your vet. (?)
Healthy reptiles can coexist with a considerable parasite load and present little to no (outward) symptoms. The real problem occurs if and when their immune system tanks (I.e. illness, chronic stressors, old age, etc etc), at which point the parasites can easily overwhelm your pet and cause complications during the recovery process. I recently experienced this with my surrendered juvenile veiled, Karma, who likely had a pinworm infestation for most of his short life. Poor husbandry made it's mark, and his weakened little body couldn't control the parasites anymore. They wrecked havoc on his gastrointestinal tract, and he eventually failed despite deworming and corrected husbandry when I recieved him.

I don't trust "home remedies", personally, and rarely advocate for their use... though I understand wanting to save money. It's an expensive hobby to begin with! But it's much better to have a fecal float performed and preventatively deworm a healthy animal, then to wait until they're displaying symptoms to treat. You can ask your vet if they'll perform a fecal float (~$30) and prescribe medicine without seeing your animal(s) if you provide a weight, but legally (at least in Canada) we're not permitted to dispense medication without seeing the pet within the last 6 months. Even then, that's for ongoing refills. For new medications/refills for pets we havent seen for more than 6 months, a vet must examine the animal (~$60).

So, approximately $100/pet, and I like to have it done twice a year for my more susceptible animals (I.e. My cockatoo, who travels a lot with me, and my reptile), and once a year during their annual exam for everyone else (I.e. my homebodies).

~Amanda

I also feel the need to stress that there is no substitute for proper veterinary care! (just in case someone new down the road gets ideas)
 

Iain

Member
Thanks for the input Amanda.

I know vet bills can be mental but our pets don't ask to come into our homes and I would move heaven and earth to help out my boys and the rest of my gang.
 

Iain

Member
TBH Dave I have no idea and never thought to ask. I just know they were parasitical in nature and were dealt with by my vet.

Whilst we are on the subject and going back to what Starter said about "Do It Yourself" worming I wonder if there is a supplement or similar that can be added to misting water or even added when dusting the insects for reptile food (did that make any sense???) that could take care of worms/worm eggs. But (and this is my own opinion) I am with Amanda and say nothing will beat proper veterinary care.
 

Thehippie

Chameleon Enthusiast
i agree with you, usually the best thing to do is get a professional opinion on problems with chameleons, they can be finicky animals sometimes, DIY's can be iffy too and nothing beats a trained professional!
 

Dave85731

Established Member
There’s nothing wrong with going out and getting panacure on your own it’s the same thing the vet will give your Cham but it’s always best to get a copy of the fecal when you have them done
 

starter

Member
Healthy reptiles can coexist with a considerable parasite load and present little to no (outward) symptoms. The real problem occurs if and when their immune system tanks (I.e. illness, chronic stressors, old age, etc etc), at which point the parasites can easily overwhelm your pet and cause complications during the recovery process. I recently experienced this with my surrendered juvenile veiled, Karma, who likely had a pinworm infestation for most of his short life. Poor husbandry made it's mark, and his weakened little body couldn't control the parasites anymore. They wrecked havoc on his gastrointestinal tract, and he eventually failed despite deworming and corrected husbandry when I recieved him.

I don't trust "home remedies", personally, and rarely advocate for their use... though I understand wanting to save money. It's an expensive hobby to begin with! But it's much better to have a fecal float performed and preventatively deworm a healthy animal, then to wait until they're displaying symptoms to treat. You can ask your vet if they'll perform a fecal float (~$30) and prescribe medicine without seeing your animal(s) if you provide a weight, but legally (at least in Canada) we're not permitted to dispense medication without seeing the pet within the last 6 months. Even then, that's for ongoing refills. For new medications/refills for pets we havent seen for more than 6 months, a vet must examine the animal (~$60).

So, approximately $100/pet, and I like to have it done twice a year for my more susceptible animals (I.e. My cockatoo, who travels a lot with me, and my reptile), and once a year during their annual exam for everyone else (I.e. my homebodies).

~Amanda

I also feel the need to stress that there is no substitute for proper veterinary care! (just in case someone new down the road gets ideas)
Hello Amanda, from certain wordings (such as "we're not permitted to dispense medication") I assume you are a vet or a vet nurse yourself, are you? I understand the value of vet care but I also believe that simple things such as parasite control can be easily taken care of by the pet owner at home. With all the mammals and birds I have ever had this never was a problem - the pet shops stocked heaps of medications for these purposes prescription-free and my animals got their drops or pastes every free months at home. Why do you think that this is not the case for reptiles? I am really confused why no dewormers for reptiles are available on the free-off-the-shelf market and why deworming is not part of their regular husbandry.
 

GoodKarma19

Chameleon Enthusiast
Hello Amanda, from certain wordings (such as "we're not permitted to dispense medication") I assume you are a vet or a vet nurse yourself, are you? I understand the value of vet care but I also believe that simple things such as parasite control can be easily taken care of by the pet owner at home. With all the mammals and birds I have ever had this never was a problem - the pet shops stocked heaps of medications for these purposes prescription-free and my animals got their drops or pastes every free months at home. Why do you think that this is not the case for reptiles? I am really confused why no dewormers for reptiles are available on the free-off-the-shelf market and why deworming is not part of their regular husbandry.
I fill a bit of an odd niche somewhere between a technical assistant and a nurse, yes - sorry, normally I explain myself a bit better! I always forget who I've told what (and when!) :)

So, to my understanding (which I confirmed with the tech/nurse on duty), prescription parasite medications are much stronger and tend to cover a broader spectrum of potential parasites in one treatment. Over the counter meds purchased in pet stores tend to be less effective/potent and/or only target one species of parasite, which is totally fine if you're 100% sure what you're dealing with.

I absolutely agree that deworming is something that can be done at home, at least with dogs, cats, and some bird species (I.e. poultry, waterfowl; very little is actually branded for psittacines!). The problem with creating medications for reptiles is that you need to take into account that every single species would require a slightly different concentration, and a medication would be highly unlikely to be both safe and effective in every case if a "multispecies" approach was taken. The difference between a box turtle and a ball python is as large as the gap between a cat and a dog! It gets complicated very quickly, and I suppose the market isn't quite large enough to support the research. In addition, the effective drugs and protocol for treating a protozoan such as coccidia are way different than, say, pinworms. While it's possible to perform a fecal float at home with a little know how, most people aren't willing to go to that length. This makes it very difficult to market an already niche medication, especially when you consider the amount of research (and $) it would taketo produce it in the first place.

I can honestly say that exotics medicine is very much still in its infancy, and we're forced to use drugs off label and essentially make educated guesses regarding the dosages. There's very little set in stone, and vets have forums of their own to go and compare notes! Deworming can be a bit of a hot topic with exotics vets, it seems. Or at least with mine! I have one vet that just shrugs and says "they pretty much all have parasites and do fine" (old school vet), and the other that believes it's better to identify and get rid of them before they become a problem (more progressive vet).

I think I covered all of my bases, but please let me know if you have any other questions! I'm coming off of a graveyard shift, so I apologize if my thoughts are at all scrambled. (y)

~Amanda
 

starter

Member
Thanks a lot for your reply, Amanda. Now I understand the whole issue! It is great that you took the time to explain it in detail. I hope more research will be done into exotic pets and other animals in the future. They deserve it, and their owners do, too!
 

JacksJill

Chameleon Enthusiast
I fill a bit of an odd niche somewhere between a technical assistant and a nurse, yes - sorry, normally I explain myself a bit better! I always forget who I've told what (and when!) :)

So, to my understanding (which I confirmed with the tech/nurse on duty), prescription parasite medications are much stronger and tend to cover a broader spectrum of potential parasites in one treatment. Over the counter meds purchased in pet stores tend to be less effective/potent and/or only target one species of parasite, which is totally fine if you're 100% sure what you're dealing with.

I absolutely agree that deworming is something that can be done at home, at least with dogs, cats, and some bird species (I.e. poultry, waterfowl; very little is actually branded for psittacines!). The problem with creating medications for reptiles is that you need to take into account that every single species would require a slightly different concentration, and a medication would be highly unlikely to be both safe and effective in every case if a "multispecies" approach was taken. The difference between a box turtle and a ball python is as large as the gap between a cat and a dog! It gets complicated very quickly, and I suppose the market isn't quite large enough to support the research. In addition, the effective drugs and protocol for treating a protozoan such as coccidia are way different than, say, pinworms. While it's possible to perform a fecal float at home with a little know how, most people aren't willing to go to that length. This makes it very difficult to market an already niche medication, especially when you consider the amount of research (and $) it would taketo produce it in the first place.

I can honestly say that exotics medicine is very much still in its infancy, and we're forced to use drugs off label and essentially make educated guesses regarding the dosages. There's very little set in stone, and vets have forums of their own to go and compare notes! Deworming can be a bit of a hot topic with exotics vets, it seems. Or at least with mine! I have one vet that just shrugs and says "they pretty much all have parasites and do fine" (old school vet), and the other that believes it's better to identify and get rid of them before they become a problem (more progressive vet).

I think I covered all of my bases, but please let me know if you have any other questions! I'm coming off of a graveyard shift, so I apologize if my thoughts are at all scrambled. (y)

~Amanda
Well said. Especially after a graveyard shift.
 

Iain

Member
That was an interesting read Amanda. I'm in the UK but assuming what you said goes over here as well.

I suppose I really should have got Goldfish.:rolleyes:
 

GoodKarma19

Chameleon Enthusiast
Thanks a lot for your reply, Amanda. Now I understand the whole issue! It is great that you took the time to explain it in detail. I hope more research will be done into exotic pets and other animals in the future. They deserve it, and their owners do, too!
Not a problem - I'm always happy to share! (y)

Well said. Especially after a graveyard shift.
Haha thanks Jill! :LOL:

That was an interesting read Amanda. I'm in the UK but assuming what you said goes over here as well.

I suppose I really should have got Goldfish.:rolleyes:
It should apply in the UK as well - 3 of our doctors are from England, including one of our exotic vets. :)

As for goldfish... if you're looking for a truly low maintenance fish, a betta fish is the way to go!! Goldfish actually require 30g+ and robust filtration to live a full, healthy life and reach their maximum size. :p But I definitely get where you're coming from, haha! Sometimes I look at my growing collection and can't help but think: "what the heck have I gotten myself into?" I'd never want to live a life without my critters, though!

~Amanda
 
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