By Roger J. Klingenberg
The ideal anthelmintic and insecticide for parasite treatment is highly effective, very safe, easy to use, and relatively inexpensive. The fact is, however, that we are still using the same old drugs and insecticides for reptiles that have been recommended for years and years. There has been little investigative progress in drugs for parasites in reptiles despite the influx of numerous products developed for mammals.
Although current herpetologists and reptile veterinarians prefer to use the term poikilotherms rather than the term cold-blooded to describe reptiles, it is the latter term that insecticide and antiparasite researchers prefer to use. These researchers lump reptiles, insects, and parasites together as cold-blooded in order to separate them from warm-blooded mammals. The researchers’ goal, simply stated, is to produce products that will quickly, effectively, economically, and safely kill cold-blooded animals with little or no harm to warm-blooded animals. It is this simply stated principle that limits most of the newer anthelmintics and insecticides to use on warm-blooded animals and makes some of the newer products risky, if not downright dangerous, for use in reptiles. Very little actual research has been done on the use of insecticides and anthelmintics in reptile medicine.
Prior to treating specific reptiles for specific parasites, you must be familiar with the drugs, medications, and insecticides that are suggested for use in your reptiles. Although it’s tempting to simply look up a dose, it is best to strive to understand the benefits and the risks of any product before using it on a captive reptile.
Excerpt from the book Understanding Reptile Parasites by Roger Klingenberg with permission from its publisher, Advanced Vivarium Systems, an imprint of BowTie Press. Purchase Understanding Reptile Parasites here.