Intestinal Parasites in Exotic Pets
Dr. Lecsi says
So we all know that dogs and cats can have worms, and sometimes other types of intestinal parasites too. Most dogs and cats get treated regularly to control worm problems with a simple deworming tablet. Usually other groups of intestinal parasites are only detected on vet visits by faecal examination, but many people may have had to treat a dog or cat for one of them.
Well, pet birds, reptiles and even small fluffies like chinchillas and rabbits can also have severe internal parasite problems/infestations
Most commonly, just like in dogs, cats and people, these infestations do not display any obvious symptoms, but prevent the pet from getting all it can out of the food it eats and compromises the intestinal health of the patient. Over a period, this can stunt the growth of or kill young, cause the pets’ appearance to be dull or unhealthy, result in illness in times of stress, and can cause lethal intestinal obstructions or diarrhoea.
The most common place where pets will pick up these parasites is wherever they were born, especially when they have lived in close contact with large numbers of other animals of the same species.
Overpopulation is a major underlying factor in the transmission of any parasite. Even if the young are now alone with the mom, the mom, who previously might have been living in a small cage with a couple of other adults, will probably have picked up and can now transfer one or more of these parasites to them.
Poor hygiene is another serious factor favouring the presence and transmission of parasites. As few as 2 animals living together in a large cage can develop severe parasite issues should the cage not be cleaned regularly using a suitable disinfectant.
You will not necessarily see diarrhoea or any other symptoms of these parasites when acquiring a new pet. These pets should therefore be examined by a vet before being introduced into their new family and home.
A comprehensive panel of tests can be run on a pea sized fresh faecal sample. Tests take 10 minutes in our in house laboratory and the necessary treatment can be dispensed to prevent disaster.