Reptiles are so-called “cold-blooded” animals because their body temperature depends on the outside temperature. Most reptiles are found in tropical or subtropical regions. Moreover, the care required to maintain the animal’s health is more demanding than that regularly performed on our four-legged companions. The terrarium must be adapted, especially to the size of the reptile, with a heat source provided by a lamp and a heating film.
How to check the good health of a reptile before its acquisition?
Hygiene must be irreproachable. Indeed, reptiles are fragile animals. But it is especially because they carry diseases transmissible to humans. These diseases are grouped under the same term: zoonosis. There are two types: bacterial and parasitic zoonoses. Salmonellosis belongs to the first category. It is estimated that 3 to 5% of salmonelloses diagnosed in humans are linked to contamination by a reptile. Hands should be washed after handling faeces or contaminated water. Humans can also become infected with tuberculosis through inhalation of oral or respiratory secretions of a carrier reptile. The bite is also a vector of the disease that should not be neglected. Finally, aeromonosis is a bacterial zoonosis causing pneumonia or diarrhea. Here again, it is advisable to wash your hands after contact with contaminated water and to disinfect any open wound and possible bite of the animal. The latter can also cause contamination of humans with other, less well-known bacteria.
There are also parasitic zoonoses that require special attention. Parasitic contamination is nevertheless exceptional in our latitudes, and concerns above all the inhabitants of the southern hemisphere. Among these parasites, we can mention for example pentastomidosis. The parasite is a small worm, also called pentastomidosis, or linguatula. Contamination occurs through accidental ingestion of eggs found in the respiratory secretions or feces of snakes. The eggs hatch and the larvae can quietly migrate to the liver, lungs, etc… The snake can also cause cestodosis. It is a worm similar to the “tenia” and is widespread in countries where snake-based remedies are used. Finally, acarioses are likely to cause skin problems. Regular “check-up” visits to veterinarians can help prevent these health problems.
How to choose your reptile?
It is important to know that reptiles are part of the NAC. (new pets) They cannot tame themselves. It is however necessary to control the health of the animal by carrying out certain checks. These must be done during the day, when the reptile remains most active.
The reptile must above all be dynamic. It can therefore be interesting to check if it climbs, moves, etc… In addition, it is advisable to ask the salesman if he feeds himself enough, quite to ask him to feed the reptile in front of you. The excrement should also be relatively consistent. The spine should not be visible. Otherwise, the reptile may be too thin for its size. Paw control can help you ensure that the animal is moulting properly. This can be done by looking at the extremities. It will also be interesting to make sure at the same time if it has all its fingers and tail. If this is not the case, it is because the animal has had to fight with one of its fellow creatures or has been mistreated. It is then a question of controlling the possible wounds. Similarly, the presence of bumps on the fingers and the spine indicates a lack of calcium and/or vitamin D3/UVB. The skin control allows us to make sure that the reptile does not harbour any external parasite under the folds of the skin. In this case, it is necessary in this case to privilege the folds under the arms, the thighs and the skin of the neck. The aim here is to prevent any health concerns of the animal, which could possibly be transmitted to humans. Concerning internal parasites, it is important to make sure that tests have been carried out on the animal before sale. If this is not the case, it is strongly advised to ask for a stool test. In addition, breathing should not be noisy and laborious. This may be characteristic of a respiratory problem. Finally, an eye test can be used to check the dynamism and alertness of the animal. If the eye is dull, there is a problem.
The purpose of these checks is to verify that the reptile is in good health. Indeed, these animals require irreproachable hygiene.