Most parasites that affect chameleons are of the intestinal variety, such as roundworms, pinworms, and coccidia. Most wild chameleons have some degree of parasite load that their immune system keeps in check. But under conditions of stress, the immune system will be suppressed and parasites multiply unchecked, overwhelming the chameleon.
- Loss of appetite
- Unhygienic enclosure
- Contact with an infected reptile
- Contaminated feeder insects
- Chameleon was wild-caught
Take a sample of your chameleon’s poo to the vet at least 1x/year to be analyzed for parasites. The sample must be fresh — they only last 24 hours even if you stick it in the fridge. If the vet finds parasites, they will prescribe an oral dewormer to take care of them. Dust feeder insects with a powdered probiotic like NutriBAC df
or administer probiotic paste like Bene-Bac Plus
at the same time to counteract the dewormer’s side effects.
Best practice for reducing sources of contamination in your chameleon’s environment is to keep its enclosure clean. Do a deep-clean once every 3-6 months so you can scrub every surface with a veterinary disinfectant like chlorhexidine
. Ammonia is even better at killing parasite eggs, but needs a rinse and airing out before the chameleon can be placed back in the enclosure.
Other chameleon health topics: