Reptile Frequently Asked Questions
by Christopher Stancel, DVM
Q: Why Should I Bring My Reptile to a Veterinarian?
A: Reptiles and Amphibians have the ability to hide their illness well and it is often too late by the time symptoms of illness are visible. Your veterinarian will teach you how to prevent illness, and how to take care of your reptile so that you can maintain a long, happy and healthy relationship with your reptile.
Q: What Can A Veterinarian Do For My Reptile/ Amphibian If He/ She Is Healthy?
A: An experienced exotic animal veterinarian should examine your reptile/ amphibian for any abnormalities, monitor its weight and growth, check for intestinal or external parasites and be sure that you are aware of the proper diet and care for your individual reptile/amphibian.
Q: Why Does My Veterinarian Want A Fecal Sample From My Reptile/ Amphibian?
A: Reptiles and Amphibians can get intestinal parasites and should be tested by your veterinarian. A fresh sample should be brought in when your reptile/amphibian visits the veterinarian.
Q: Is It Possible That My Reptile Can Be Carrying Any Bacteria That Can Be Harmful To My Pet Or Myself?
A: Reptiles can also be carriers of many types of bacteria including Salmonella. The concern with Salmonella is that it can not only make your reptile sick but it can also infect people and make them sick as well. Culturing your pet can prove useful as a routine screen for these bacteria and is highly recommended in households with children, the elderly or those that are immune compromised.
Q: Why Should My Veterinarian Trim My Reptile's Nails Or Beak?
A: Overgrown nails can become uncomfortable for your reptile and can lead to injury if one of those nails should get caught on something or breaks. Beaks on turtles can become overgrown or malformed which can lead to anorexia or other illnesses. Regular trips to your veterinarian for nail and beak trims will help prevent this.
Q: Can I Prevent My Reptile Form Getting Disease?
A: Many diseases can be prevented with a good diet and proper environment, but most disease can benefit by early detection. This early detection can be provided by regular exams by a qualified exotics veterinarian.