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Reptiles suffer from pinworms, but these infections can be difficult to spot. Pinworms in bearded dragons may be docile, as some of these reptiles could be asymptomatic. This has left many bearded dragon owners seeking for way to clearly identify a pinworm infestation in their bearded dragon.
Pinworms in bearded dragons could cause several health challenges for your reptiles. Some signs and symptoms of pinworm infestation include lack of appetite, lethargy, weight loss, changes in feces, dehydration. Immediate medical attention is necessary to fight pinworms in bearded dragons.
In this post, we’ll see what pinworms are, how they are treated, how to prevent an infestation and much more.
What are Pinworms?
Pinworms are tiny internal parasites that live in the intestinal tract of bearded dragons and absorb essential vitamins and minerals from their host. These vitamins are needed for growth and to keep the bearded dragons healthy.
But when it is absorbed by the worm, the beardie has none left for itself, making it weak and sick. pinworms are usually no cause for concern if they exist in small amount inside the host (at this stage, the immune system is able to keep them under control). But when their numbers multiply, they start to create problems for the bearded dragon.
Causes of Pinworms in Bearded Dragons
Lack of good hygiene
Lack of good hygiene is one reason why pinworms thrive. Because it exists in the stool of the bearded dragon, the beardie keeps re-infecting itself when its habitant is dirty and unkempt. To stop the risk of reinfection, and to break the cycle, keep a clean tank.
If the owner does not practice good hygiene like hand washing after handling his bearded dragon, he risks passing the parasite from one reptile to another.
Symptoms of Pinworms in Bearded Dragons
Bearded dragons will start losing weight rapidly if afflicted with pinworms. Excess pinworms in a bearded dragon’s system could cause a swift change in its ability to digest food properly. If your reptile cannot break down food it eats, it won’t gain anything from most of its meals.
The inability to break food down for easy extraction of nutrients affect bearded dragon’s physical appearance.
Reptiles could become lethargic for a variety of reasons. However, whenever reptiles like bearded dragons suffer bouts of lethargy, worm infestations could be a major cause. Whenever you notice a lack of energy in your bearded dragons, get it medical attention fast.
Change in stool
A reptile’s stool could change color or become runny when its not feeling great. Pinworms is one of the reasons why bearded dragons may experience change in stools color or appearance. Pinworms aren’t visible to the human eye. If you plan to see the vet, take a sample of your bearded dragon’s poop along.
Loss of appetite
Bearded dragons will likely lose their appetite due to the immense discomfort pinworms may cause. Loss of appetite could affect reptiles for several reasons, but pinworms could be a major cause.
Make sure your bearded dragon has access to a varied diet. If the loss of appetite persists, get your pet to a vet as soon as you can.
There’s a high chance of dehydration being a major symptom of pinworms in bearded dragons. Rehydrate your reptile as much as you can, and get it medical help sooner rather than later.
Your bearded dragons could start laying flat for longer periods when pinworms set in. However, bearded dragons could lay flat for other reasons, so it’s best you check your pet out at the vet. If there is any cause to worry, the vet is most qualified to let you know.
Reptiles usually become diarrheal due to worm-related infestations. Whenever you notice symptoms of diarrhea in your bearded dragons, get it all the help it needs immediately. Some signs of diarrhea include:
Leaving this symptom to run ragged could be disastrous for your bearded dragons.
Diagnosis of Pinworms in Bearded Dragons
To diagnose pinworms accurately, the vet will do a fecal flotation on the stool of the infected bearded dragon. Fecal flotation helps to determine how many pinworms exist in the body of the host.
After the diagnosis, the vet will provide a bearded dragon dewormer like Fenbendazole to eliminate pinworms from a host.
But there is only so much the vet can do. The bulk of responsibilities are in the hands of owners to carry out good hygiene practices. Proper cleaning practices are essential to max out the health of your pinworms. There’s so much owners of reptiles have to know to guarantee the right health status for their bearded dragons.
Treatment of Pinworms in Bearded Dragons
There are three main ways owners of pet reptiles can treat or prevent pinworms in bearded dragons. Here’s a look at each process:
Consider prophylactic treatment of pinworms more of like a pre-emptive strike. Through this treatment procedure, you can prevent pinworms without your dragon ever showing any symptoms. The treatment procedure relies on adhering to sustained cleaning principles in fighting off pinworms and other infestations.
Prophylactic treatment of pinworms involves the following:
Prophylactic treatment of pinworms is effective, especially if your bearded dragon is asymptomatic. Bearded dragons that do not exhibit any glaring pinworm symptoms may still come down hard with this ailment later on.
Some bearded dragons may not exhibit immediate symptoms of pinworms in their system. However, most bearded dragons could experience several symptoms successively.
If your bearded dragons show any signs of being infected with pinworms as described above, symptomatic treatment is effective.
Symptomatic treatment occurs after bearded dragons start showing symptoms of pinworm infestation.
Bearded dragons suffer from a range of worm infections, making the chances of misdiagnosis much higher. However, if you suspect your dragon is suffering from any worm-related infection, proper diagnosis is a must.
Ensure you get your reptile to a certified herpetologist or exotics vet to run necessary tests periodically. Such diagnosis could reveal pinworm infections and provide a pathway to get help for your bearded dragon.
Preventive Measures For Pinworms in Bearded Dragons
If you have other reptiles, keep them away from the sick ones, to stop them from getting infected with pinworms. If you have purchased a new bearded dragon, do not be in a rush to introduce it to others, isolate it for a few days to watch for signs of a pinworms infestation.
The kinds of parasites that affect reptiles are different from those that affect humans. However, it is important that everyone in the house, especially those that handle reptiles to treat themselves with worm expellers. As the saying goes, it is better to be safe than sorry.
Since pinworms are in the stool of bearded dragons, daily cleaning of the tank will help to prevent an infestation. In most cases, a two-tank system is recommended. That way, the reptile can stay in one, while the other is cleaned and left to dry. If you’ve got your sights set on two tanks for one bearded dragon, you’ll have to spend more money.
Take quick actions
As soon as you notice even the slightest change in your reptile’s behavior, take them to the vet immediately. Prolonging a reptile’s visit to the vet could be the difference between a quick recovery and unexpected health consequences.
Other Preventive Measures to Combat Pinworms in Bearded Dragons
Purchasing healthy dragons
If you’re keen to avoid frequent visits to the vet because of sick bearded dragon, buy healthy reptiles. Healthy reptiles receive the right feeder insects, fruits, and supplements from a tender age. But sickly bearded dragons could lack several nutrients in their diet, making them prone to diseases.
When you buy healthy bearded dragons from pet stores, it becomes easy to avoid combating pinworms and other diseases.
Frequent deworming of your bearded dragons is a smart way to fight off pinworms. If you need the best bearded dragon dewormer, it’s better to settle for vet-approved options. A vet-approved bearded dragon dewormer will provide correct support for rooting out harmful worms from your reptile’s system.
Handling of fecal matter
Proper handling of fecal matter is essential to fight pinworms in bearded dragons. If you don’t want a sudden spread of pinworms to afflict your bearded dragons, engage swift cleaning practices. Watch out for feces in your bearded dragons’ tank and remove them before your reptile starts moving around.
Disinfecting dragons’ habitat
Regularly disinfecting your dragons’ habitat is crucial to guaranteeing top-notch health for your reptiles. Spot-clean your dragons’ tank whenever it poops and engage full-cleaning every fortnight.
Can I Get Pinworms From My Bearded Dragon?
Most animal parasites do not affect people. Most parasites in bearded dragons like pinworm possess their own variant which does not survive in mammals. Theses parasites may not even survive in other animals too.
While it is very unlikely to be offended by pinworms from your bearded dragon, it is better to play safe. Wash your hands immediately after handling your bearded dragon, or cleaning their enclosure. This may not be of serious concern to us, but it is to them, as lack of proper hygiene can make us a channel for spreading the parasites.
Do bearded dragons need to be dewormed?
Although a bearded dragon may look healthy, it may be a carrier of parasites like pinworms. You need to administer a bearded dragon dewormer to improve your pet’s overall stomach health. Don’t forget to take your reptiles for check-ups at the vet frequently. Regular check-ups ensure your bearded dragon is in excellent health at all times.
How do I deworm my bearded dragon?
The vet will prescribe Pancur or Fenbendazole. Both medications come in liquid and granular form. When deworming a bearded dragon, do a proper research on the body weight of your beardie. The size of your bearded dragon determines the dose it will receive.
Are thread worms and pinworms the same?
Yes, they are called thread worm in the UK and Australia. These worms are tiny parasites that attack the intestinal tract of their host, both humans and animals. In humans, they look as tiny as thread, earning them the name threadworm.
Where do bearded dragons get parasites from?
This usually comes from their food, insects in particular. When an insect with a parasite is eaten by a bearded dragon, it passes whatever parasite it contains to the beardie. This is why buying captive breed insects is often advised. They are cleaner and healthier than wild insects.
Final Thoughts: Pinworms in Bearded Dragons (Signs + Treatment + Best Bearded Dragon Dewormer)
Pinworms are relatively common parasites in bearded dragons. If you notice any sign of pinworms in bearded dragons, take it to the vet immediately. Prompt medical attention is important to combat the adverse health challenges your reptile may face.
If you offer your bearded dragon medications without a vet’s approval, you could overdose your pet.
An infection of this parasite can be treated with medication like Fenbendazole. Owners of bearded dragons can also prevent re-infestation by keeping the habitat of their beardy clean. Preventing a spread of infections should be your main concern. By separating healthy beardies from sick ones, you can maintain their overall health. Quarantining sick reptiles also help protect against pinworms in bearded dragons.