info@wormcount.com | +44 (0)1604 372382

“I find that the detailed reports I get from our reptile-owning clients who have used Wormcount.com for faecal screening are extremely useful in aiding diagnosis.”

Dr John Ellis BVSc (Hons) BVSc (Hons), Cert AVP (SAM), PgCert, MRCVS – Animed Veterinary Hospital

 

Worm Count for Exotics

Many reptiles, including tortoises, sadly die from rough handling during capture and shipping – before they even reach the pet shop.  The levels of care, diet and habitat needed by tortoises, snakes and lizards far outweighs that needed for other animals like dogs and cats.  Having a regular worm count done is part of this very necessary care.

Tortoises can pick up internal parasites either from grazing on infected grass, or from eating or drinking infected food or water.  A heavy infestation can cause the worms to come out in the faeces, especially when tortoises are in their bath as part of their care regime.

The most common and dangerous worm we find in all of these animals is the Oxyurid or pinworm, which can cause potentially fatal blockages in the intestines

A tiny Horsefield tortoise, with droppings the size of an orange pip, can have a worm count of 10,000 eggs per gram – which is an horrendous number, and a potentially lethal concentration.

Peregrin Falcon

Of course we do not just screen tortoises.

You can send us your snake or lizard poo, or any other exotic animal poo too!

Snakes pick up internal parasites from eating mice and chicks – which is again potentially fatal.

We also test exotic birds and raptors for the same reason.

 

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Wormcounting under the microscope

So what is a worm count?

  • It is an inspection, under a microscope, of the number of worm eggs in faeces (poo). It is used to monitor the worm burden in your animal.
  • The results are presented as ‘eggs per gram’ (epg) of faeces. There is an easy to understand key on your Wormcount.com result sheet.
  • The number of eggs is an indication of the number of adult worms in the gut.

 

Worm counts can be used to:

  • Help determine the need to worm
  • Test the efficacy of a treatment
  • Give information on the amount of contamination going through the rest of the animals living in the same enclosure.

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tortoise_pinworms

Worms to look out for

The main worm infestations we test for are roundworms (Ascarids), redworms (Strongyloides), pinworms (Oxyurids) and hookworms (Ancylostoma).  We check snakes for Capillaria too. Symptoms of nematode (worm) parasitic infestation include diarrhoea, vomiting, lack of breath, weight loss and in extreme cases, death.  A heavy worm burden can cause stress, can suppress the immune system and may cause infertility. Some worms migrate round the organs before settling in the intestines causing damage on the way.

 

Avian worm checks include Capillaria, Heterakis, Gape and Gizzard worms as well as pinworms and tapeworms which come from raptors’ prey.

 

GiardiaThere are many types of protozoans or single celled animals which can invade your animal causing illness ranging from mild stomach irritation to death. Wormcount.com will screen for worms and may occasionally, during that worm screen, detect some protozoans such as  ciliates like Balantidium. However, if you believe that your animal or bird is suffering from a cryptosporidium or protozoan related illness then you MUST take him to your Vet’s surgery immeditely as the treatment for this can only be carried out by them.

 

Regular worming can be a difficult and protracted activity.  For peace of mind you should consider having a worm count done at least every six months, particularly if you hibernate your pet. This will tell you whether or not you need to worm. Order your worm count kit here.