Turtle catches the frisbeeJust because you own a lizard, turtle, snake, or tortoise doesn’t mean that you don’t want to provide good pet care. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure in many instances of life, and caring for your small, scaly friend is no different.

Preventative reptile care is an important part of responsible pet ownership, and there are a few things reptile owners (or owners-to-be) need to know about caring for their pets.

Wellness Exams for Reptiles

Just as with any other pet, having routine wellness examinations is an important part of proper care. Wellness appointments are a great opportunity for us to get to know your pet and detect early signs of problems.

Wellness examinations are also a great time for us to discuss husbandry, or the general keeping, of your reptilian friend. Mistakes in husbandry are a frequent cause for many diseases and health conditions in exotic pets. Some areas that should be discussed include:

  • Housing
  • Diet
  • Temperature
  • Sanitation
  • Socialization/exercise
  • Species specific concerns
  • Frequent visits help us to intervene before minor mistakes become big ones. Don’t’ forget that reptiles can become ill just like any pet, particularly as they age. Early detection of problems, whether husbandry related or not, can help us to keep your pet healthy for a long time to come.

    Parasite Screening in Preventative Reptile Care

    Intestinal parasites are very common in reptiles. Frequent flyers in the reptilian digestive tract include worms such as hookworms, pinworms, and tapeworms. Reptiles also often frequently play host to single-celled organisms called protozoa.

    Most reptiles that are infested with intestinal parasites will not look outwardly ill. They may have some weight loss, have a change in stools, or just be poor do-ers overall. Eventually, however, prolonged parasite infestation can result in serious consequences.

    Frequent fecal examinations can help to detect parasite infestations in reptiles before they become a problem. You can bring a fresh sample in for us to evaluate under the microscope. If parasites are detected often a simple dewormer administration is sufficient to fix the problem.

    Taking care of intestinal parasites before they become a significant problem is an essential part of preventative reptile care.

    The Importance of Wellness Care for Reptiles

    Reptiles are wild animals, and therefore they tend to mask or hide the fact that they are sick or injured. This instinct helps them to survive in the wild, but is not great when their owners need to know that there is a problem. Allowing regular examinations helps to combat this.

    Besides a physical exam and parasite screening, we can also address minor problems such a small wounds. We will also check to be sure that your pet is shedding appropriately, maintaining body weight, and may even recommend diagnostic imaging or blood screens for your pet.

    Staying ahead of problems is the best way to ensure your reptile a long, healthy life. We know that a vet visit can be stressful for any pet and strive to make your visit worthwhile. We look forward to helping your reptiles here at Billings Animal Family Hospital and are always happy to help in any way possible.