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Deworming Confusion.

Discussion in 'Herp Health' started by Dragoness, Mar 28, 2016.

  1. Dragoness

    Dragoness Elite Member

    In recent months, I have acquired a number of new colubrids, most of whom are arboreal, and all of which were imported (as in wild caught) with an eye towards breeding, if I can get them to establish in captivity.

    Once mites are cleared up, and the snakes are stable, my next normal routine is deworming, since most WC animals come loaded with parasites.

    But I am hesitant, because I have heard mixed things about whether or not an arboreal snake *should* be de-wormed. There seems to be a very divided and divisive camp on this topic. There are many instances of animals dying after being given de-wormers.

    I am unclear as to why this is, though people against worming arboreal snakes tend to argue that they are more symbiotic with their gut fauna, and that if the snake is stabilized and healthy, the load will be self-regulating, and no threat to the animal, but losing them completely will kill it.

    I'm not sure if the toxicity of the drugs being used might be of interest as well, as Ivermectin is known to be a risk to many reptiles, not just turtles and chams, though it is in pretty widespread use for reptiles.

    Another consideration is that worms may not be limited to the digestive tract, meaning that oral de-wormers might not catch everything. My worry is that the only systemic that *I* know of is Ivermectin, and even the company than manufactures it recommends against injecting it (though some places still do this). I have used Panacur in the past to kill worms in the digestive tract, but I do not believe that drug is used systemically.

    I'm just wondering if anyone has experience with this particular subject. I do plan on discussing it at length with my vet once the mites are cleared up, and the snakes are eating, and ready to be de-wormed.

    Feeding was last night, and fecal is pending poop.
  2. Darkbird

    Darkbird Moderator Staff Member

    Interesting subject, wish I had some useful input for you but I have to remain an interested observer in this case. And I can attest to what I believe was proof of increased toxicity with different species. I ended up with an unexpected outbreak of notes in my GTP collection, which I never did figure out how it got there. Those snakes are and have always been separate from my balls and I never had an issue. Anyway, the short version is that I ended up losing one snake after using the treatment I always use. Granted, it was in the worst shape of all of them and a bit dehydrated, but not to the point of death.
  3. Dragoness

    Dragoness Elite Member

    I have also heard the argument that de-worming should wait until the animal is established and eating, so as not to stress it out too much at once, which also makes sense.

    The mangrove snake is certainly ready, and the green snake will be once he has a few more meals, and a better weight to him. He is still a little slim, though he is starting to gain some weight now that he is eating.
  4. Darkbird

    Darkbird Moderator Staff Member

  5. Dragoness

    Dragoness Elite Member

    panacur is typically injected into the feeder. When I have used that one in the past, it had been well received, and is generally the broader and safer one. It just won't work on protozoans.
  6. Darkbird

    Darkbird Moderator Staff Member

    Lol, didn't realize I screwed my post up that bad.
  7. Dragoness

    Dragoness Elite Member

    well, both snakes are pretty loaded with worms. Hookorm, roundworm, and strongyloides are all present in the Mangrove and Green Rat. Those are the easy ones to treat though.

    The green rat has pinworm. I am surprised not to see it in the mangrove as it is the most common parasite I have seen in all the fecals I have done - to include the hundreds of them I did at the zoo when I worked there.

    I can get Flagyl for protozoans, but have not seen evidence of them yet (though they are harder to spot, and more often suspected if the animals shows problems, rather than simply looking for them.) There is uncertainty as to whether many protozoans are normal gut fauna for some reptiles, and the diagnosis seems more symptom dependent.

    On that note, this little book is invaluable for doing your own fecals:

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