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Parasites & Zoonoses Copyright 1996-98 © Dale Carnegie & Associates, Inc.

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Presentation on theme: "Parasites & Zoonoses Copyright 1996-98 © Dale Carnegie & Associates, Inc."— Presentation transcript:

1 Parasites & Zoonoses Copyright © Dale Carnegie & Associates, Inc.

2 Parasites & Zoonoses Parasites are extremely common in reptiles Some parasites pose a threat to the reptiles’ health Some parasites pose a threat to human health

3 Topics to discuss 1.What are zoonoses? 2.What can we do to protect ourselves? 3.What parasites are harmful to our reptiles? 4.What can we do to protect our reptiles?

4 Question: Has anyone here dealt with reptile parasites?

5 What are zoonoses? Diseases that have the potential to be transmitted to man from animals There will be an increase in disease transmission between reptiles and humans as pet reptiles are becoming more popular than ever before

6 Examples of zoonotic disease 1.Salmonella and other bacterial infections 2. Fungal infections 3. Viruses 4. Protozoa – single celled organisms 5. Helminthes – worms 6. Ticks

7 Filarial Worms

8 Symptoms: Wide range of symptoms with all these zoonotic diseases Salmonella – abdominal pain/cramps, diarrhea, nausea/vomiting, fever

9 The #1 cause of disease transmission (zoonoses) between reptiles and humans is poor hygiene fecal – oral route

10 How do we protect ourselves from Zoonoses? Keep things clean! - clean and disinfect enclosures and accessories frequently - do not use the bathtub or kitchen sink as a tub for your reptile - drain water and fecal material into the toilet - wear gloves/face masks when cleaning soiled areas

11 What not to do

12 Other things to consider: Wash you hands with hot soapy water after handling/cleaning your reptiles Supervise children House reptiles away from kitchen area Keep other pets in house away from enclosures & water dishes Do not ignore scratches/bites from reptiles Have a fecal test done at least once a year

13 What not to do

14 Points of interest 1. A positive test for a parasite in a reptile does not necessarily mean a human will be infected 2. Humans that are most at risk are young/elderly and immunosuppressed Children under age 2 elderly people Anyone already fighting off a disease 3. Feeding live food contributes to higher risk than killed food Studies show mice frozen for 30 days destroys parasites they may be harboring

15

16 Fun Fact #1 Before selling turtles in pet stores became illegal in the US ~ of estimated 2 million salmonella cases seen yearly were turtle associated

17 Fun Fact #2 Although venomous snake bites aren’t actually a zoonotic disease they are considered a potential for serious human injury ~ people are bitten by snakes per year in the US; 8000 cases are venomous, ~15 deaths per year

18 Any questions so far?

19 Which parasites are harmful to our reptiles? All parasites that can infect reptiles can harm them BUT not all parasite infections cause illness Very common for reptiles to be infected with parasites and seem clinically healthy All wild reptiles have normal parasite burden

20 Many hidden infections (seeming healthy reptile) can become diseases if stress is put on the reptile - shipping from 1 location to another - new/unnatural environment - diet changes

21 Signs/symptoms of reptiles Can be almost anything Very common to have gastrointestinal problems (i.e. diarrhea, constipation, regurgitation) Anorexia, lethargy, behavioral changes, weight loss

22

23 Testing Just because a test in positive for a parasite does not necessarily mean the reptile should be treated If treating, must consider the parasites’ life cycle

24 Direct vs. Indirect Direct life cycle means only one host (the reptile) is needed to complete the parasites’ life cycle - potential to reinfect host by contamination; much harder to get rid of Indirect life cycle means at least 2 different hosts (eg. mouse and reptile) are needed to complete the parasites’ life cycle - treat reptile with appropriate medication and remove 1 host - cannot reinfect

25 Positive test For single-celled parasites (protozoa which are normally found in gut) treatment is only required when reptile is showing signs of illness For salmonella antibiotic treatment may not eliminate all bacteria so should not be used (resistance) Having a positive test for a parasite allows us to know how careful we need to be when cleaning/handling/housing animals together

26 Accuracy Fecal tests are extremely accurate when a parasite is identified Parasites are not shed every time the reptile has a bowel movement Therefore fecals are only accurate ~40% of the time

27 Pinworm Egg

28 False Positive Results Since some of our reptiles eat other insects/mammals we can get false positive results on a fecal test The ‘food’ for our reptiles could be harboring its own parasites which may show up on the fecal test If confirmation is needed then biopsies are taken

29 Coccidia

30 What can we do to protect our reptiles from parasites? Cannot use preventative deworming like we do in cats & dogs Prevention is always better than treatment so sanitation is key Quarantine all new reptiles for at least 30 days before adding them into your group (most parasite life cycles are ~30 days)

31 To Conclude: Points to remember Zoonoses are diseases than can be transmitted from animals to humans Proper hygiene plays a major role in preventing infections in humans and reptiles All parasites can harm your reptile but if your reptile is not showing signs of illness, treatment is not recommended Keep new reptiles separated from the rest of the group for at least 30 days to minimize transmission of parasites

32 Thank you for your time!

33 Questions ?


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