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Signs & Symptoms of Pinworms in Bearded Dragons

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Pinworms live in the lower gastrointestinal tract of bearded dragons -- and other reptiles and mammals -- robbing their hosts of vitamins and nutrients needed for survival. Not only is this a problem for your pet, but for you and your family, since pinworms are contagious. Therefore, it is important to know your pet and his behavior to avoid any possible issues.

Signs of Pinworms

Knowing how your bearded dragon acts when he feels well will help you determine when he is suffering from internal parasites such as pinworms. Any changes in behavior, such as lethargy or loss of appetite, can indicate such a parasitic infection. If your dragon seems depressed or has a lack of interest, pinworms should be considered. Diarrhea, change in stool, weight loss and dehydration may indicate pinworms are present.

Testing for Pinworms

Since internal parasites feed off your bearded dragon and deplete his nutrients, it is important to have him tested immediately if you suspect a problem. Since pinworms may not be visible to the human eye, a veterinarian performs a microscopic fecal examination to determine whether pinworms are causing your bearded dragon’s discomfort. Test results are immediate, allowing for quick treatment.

Treating Pinworms

Your veterinarian can provide you with wormer medication to treat your bearded dragon’s pinworms. Pancur, or fenbendazole, is often administered for pinworm treatment in bearded dragons. It is available in liquid and granular forms. Follow your veterinarian’s recommendations regarding dosage amount. A repeat treatment may be necessary after the pinworm eggs hatch to forestall re-infestation.

Preventing Infestation

Keeping your bearded dragon's living area clean is the No. 1 defense. Remove feces ever day and change substrate every two to three weeks. Clean his dishes with warm, soapy water every day and remove any leftover food in his cage. Wash your hands after handling your bearded dragon or other reptiles that may harbor pinworms.