Although many have favored reptiles over other animals and keep them as pets as they are easy to many and have a very peaceful nature. Their interesting physical appearance entices many animal keepers as well. However, as every reptile carries a host of bacteria, viruses, parasites, as well as worms, proper handling and care should always be practiced if you have reptiles at home. They can carry harmful microorganisms that can cause serious health concerns for women (especially those who are pregnant), children, elderly and those with existing serious health concerns.
If your pet lizard gets sick while under your care, there is a great possibility that it can transfer the microorganism-causing disease to any of your household member. Making sure that you, as well as your family, are fully aware of such conditions and also the best way to keep your family safe.
What causes parasitic diseases in Bearded Dragons?
Bacterial, fungal, viral, and other parasitic diseases are usually caused by primary microorganisms or pathogens. However, they can also be caused by conditions such as humidity, poor sanitary conditions, overcrowding, nutrition, as well as inappropriate temperature.
What happens when a parasite invades a Bearded Dragons body?
Parasitic organisms can affect a Bearded Dragons body externally (such as ticks or mites) or internally (such as gastrointestinal worms). Once the health of a Bearded Dragons is compromised because of a parasitic infection, they become susceptible to other diseases and have a shorter lifespan. They also tend to have stunted or slow growth rates.
As such, it is highly recommended that a dragon or any reptile that has any parasitic disease should be treated immediately. They should also be kept far from where your family comes together so the possibility of transferring the infection will be limited. Precautionary measures related to handling should also be practiced at all times.
Following are the common parasitic diseases that may affect your pet dragon:
1. Mites: Mites are widely distributed worldwide. They may be associated with the mechanical transmission of Aeromonas hydrophila, a variety of bacteria, and other viruses. Mites can be seen by the naked eye. However, they can be difficult to see in small numbers. If you think that your pet reptile has mite, gently rubbing the reptile while it is on a piece of white paper will allow you to see the mites once they have fallen off. Reptiles who have mites in their hide often spend a good amount of time soaking to drown the mites. Folds in the face and the space between the eye are the most common areas where the mites are often found hiding.
2. Ticks: Ticks are also common on Bearded Dragons. Some owners use permethrin spray to remove ticks manually. However, systemic antibiotics are often prescribed as systemic infections associated with multiple cutaneous bite wounds is possible when handling the reptile. There is also a great risk of transmitting pathogenic bacteria.
3. Leeches: Leeches are usually found on the legs, head, and other parts of amphibians like turtles and crocodilians.
1. Protozoa. The most serious protozoan pathogen is known as Entamoeba invadens. Clinical signs that your pet reptile has a protozoan pathogen are observed to be as follows: anorexia, weight loss, vomiting, mucoidal or hemorrhagic diarrhea, and even death.
2. Flagellates: Among the 6 genera of flagellates identified, the most common to cause health concerns to reptiles in captivity is the Hexamita. They are known to cause urinary tract disease in chelonians (turtles) and intestinal disease in snakes. The infection that they care is said to be fatal.
3. Ciliates: Only one known species, Balantidium coli, is identified to also cause human disease. They are also common in herbivorous turtles and lizards.
4. Amoeba: Clinical signs having amoeba (specifically Entamoeba invadens) in reptiles and amphibians (lizards and snakes) include anorexia, weight loss, vomiting, midbody to caudal swellings of the body, and blood and mucus in the feces.
5. Nematodes: Nematodes are one of the free-living species that feed on bacteria and other nematodes. It one of the most common parasites found in lizards. They have been reported to have been found in more than 500 forms of Bearded Dragons. They can infect the bloodstream as well as other important organs of the body, hence should be treated immediately as an infestation of these parasites can be lethal.
Guarding the health of your pet reptile: Guarding the life of your family
As mentioned earlier, parasitic infections in your pet can be transferred unknowingly to other members of the family. As such, you should always be careful about how you handle and care for your reptiles. Here are a few other reminders that you need to always consider to ensure that you and your family are also kept safe while you look after your pet Bearded Dragons.
- Reptiles should not be placed or kept in an enclosure inside a house where there are children younger than five years old, pregnant women, elderlies, as well as anyone who may be suffering from a serious health problem.
- All reptiles should be thought to be carriers of one (or many) of the parasites mentioned.
- Wash your hands with a disinfectant soap and warm water after handling your Bearded Dragons.
- Always wash your hands any time you have touched your reptile’s cage and equipment, after feeding your reptile, or after removing solid wastes from its enclosure.
- Keep your pet away from parts of the house where your family comes together or where the essential part of housekeeping is done (kitchen, dining areas, and any other area where food is prepared).
- Keep your Bearded Dragons confined in best Bearded Dragon enclosure.
- Wash with hot water and disinfect any surface that your reptile has had contact.
- Never use the sink or basin used in your kitchen or anywhere else in the house to wash your pet. Always wear disposable gloves when doing regular cleaning. Wastewater as well as solid wastes should be disposed of in the john or outside drain.
- Change your clothes after having been in contact with your reptile. Wash thoroughly and disinfect the clothes that you wore while handling your pet.
- Follow expert’s advice on feeding your reptile as well as in providing care for your reptile to ensure that you won’t create any stressful condition that may aggravate your pet’s condition.
Your Bearded Dragons lives for more than a decade. Hence, you should know how to properly care for it to ensure that you and your family will get to enjoy its presence longer without ever having to worry about any health condition that it may have due to improper husbandry.