Reptile-Related Diseases and Health Issues

Reptiles often suffer from heavy parasite infestations. These parasites may be external (mite), gastrointestinal (worms, protozoa) or in the blood. Affected reptiles may have weight loss, listlessness and bloating, swollen organs, leaking diarrhea or death. Blood tests can help diagnose the specific parasites and determine which drugs are best for 파충류샵 treatment.


Reptiles are hosts to a variety of viral, bacterial and parasitic infections. These pathogens are of zoonotic concern because they can be transferred to humans.

Parasites range from large worms to single-celled microorganisms, and can cause disease in multiple organ systems (e.g., intestinal worms, Giardia, Cryptosporidia, and schistosomes). In nature, reptiles cohabitate with these parasites. However, their constrained environment with other species, a lack of natural food, stressors and improper husbandry can actuate the development, multiplication and spread of these parasites.

Symptoms of infection depend on the species of reptile and the organism. For example, turtles and tortoises may suffer from urinary tract diseases when Hexamita flagellates colonize their bladder or intestines, while snakes may develop cloacal disease due to coccidia ingestion. In addition, a number of mites can infect reptiles, including the snake mite Ophionyssus natricis. The cloacal mites in aquatic turtles, as well as the harvest mites in frogs, can be carriers of bacteria such as Aeromonas and Pseudomonas, which can lead to septicaemia.

Fungal infections are more common than previously thought in reptiles, and may be caused by opportunistic commensals that infect malnourished, poorly-maintained and immunosuppressed hosts. The successful treatment of these infections requires identifying the causative organism and correcting predisposing factors.

Bacterial Infections

Reptiles can carry bacteria that pose a risk to humans. Salmonella, the most dangerous, spreads through contaminated faeces and can cause gastroenteritis in people who handle or eat reptiles, or if they wash their hands incorrectly. Entamoeba invadens, a single-celled organism that can cause parasitic coccidial infections in reptiles, is another serious risk.

Bacterial infections can affect reptiles’ skin and bones, and their respiratory tracts. Focal infections appear as nodules, tumours and hematomas. Affected skin can be itchy, painful and bleed easily. Bacterial diseases can be caused by parasites, by stress or poor husbandry, or by metabolic problems (e.g. secondary nutritional hyperparathyroidism, due to poor diets with the wrong ratio of calcium to phosphorus or lack of Vitamin D3).

Respiratory infections are common in reptiles. They are associated with parasites of the respiratory tract, unfavorable environmental temperatures, insufficient ventilation, concurrent disease and malnutrition. Open-mouth breathing, nasal and glottal discharge and dyspnea are frequent signs. In severe or protracted cases, septicemia develops. The treatment of respiratory infections consists of improving husbandry and starting systemic antibiotics.

Fungal Infections

Fungal infections occur in reptiles with weakened immune systems. They typically affect the skin, nails and/or vagina. Fungi can also invade the gastrointestinal tract, respiratory tract and reproductive system. A few fungi pose zoonotic risk to humans, such as the genus Mycobacterium. This can cause a localized inflammation (granuloma) in the sinuses, bones and joints. This infection can spread rapidly and is a significant risk for people with suppressed immune systems.

Reptiles with weakened immune systems may develop localized skin and nail fungus, as well as slow-enlarging masses or nodules under the skin on the head, limbs and nasal passages. Infections may progress to a more generalized inflammatory condition called septic dermatitis.

Some fungi can infect the liver. This complication is most common in snakes, including some species that are venomous to humans. Often, this is due to overzealous force-feeding or other disease or stress that reduces immune system function. Other causes of hepatitis in chelonians include parasitic infections such as the protozoan Entamoeba invadens, a herpesvirus or iridovirus and bacterial diseases such as visceral gout, urethral obstruction or renal failure.

Cloaca Infections

Reptiles, especially lizards and snakes, are susceptible to infections caused by bacterial overgrowth in the mouth or gastrointestinal tract. These opportunistic pathogens can lead to ulcerative stomatitis, pneumonia and cutaneous lesions. Septicemia may also develop and be fatal. The bacteria most commonly isolated in these cases are Aeromonas and Pseudomonas spp, but infections caused by other organisms can occur. Poor husbandry, including sub-optimal environmental temperatures and malnutrition, predisposes reptiles to these infections.

Bacterial infections are more common in wild and imported reptiles than captive-bred animals. These infections often lead to chronic wasting and are seen as granulomatous lesions on necropsy. Chelonians tend to develop pulmonary involvement, while lizards and snakes typically exhibit lesions in the digestive tract. Antibiotic treatment with rifampicin and isoniazid is effective but can be hepatotoxic, so longterm use is not recommended.

Infections of the cloaca are often seen in rapidly growing plant and insect-eating reptiles such as lizards, tortoises and snakes. These infections are characterized by loss of appetite, weight loss, weakness, fractured or distorted bones and swollen jaw or leg bones. It is often caused by a diet with the wrong ratio of calcium to phosphorous and by poor husbandry, including lack of UV light, improper cage temperature control and inadequate food adequacy.

Reproductive Infections

Millions of people own reptiles like turtles, lizards and snakes and amphibians like frogs, salamanders and caecilians. They may carry germs that can make humans sick, including Salmonella if the animals are not housed separately. Salmonella bacteria are carried by the feces of infected reptiles and can be spread to humans by poor hygiene or accidental ingestion of reptile feces, water or other contaminated materials. Salmonella infections can cause fever, stomach cramps and diarrhea with or without blood. In rare cases Salmonella can also lead to arthritis, pneumonia and septicemia.

Reptiles can also get bacterial, fungal and protozoal infections of their skin and respiratory tract. Infected reptiles will usually show signs of weakness, weight loss, open-mouth breathing and nasal discharge. Internal sores will develop, which if not treated will result in death. Fungal infections of the skin can lead to slow-healing lesions, while gastrointestinal fungal infections, such as Entamoeba invadens in pond snails and Hexamita species in tortoises and lizards, cause diarrhea and liver disease. A fungal infection can also affect the eyes of a reptile, causing eyelid swelling and abnormal sloughing.