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  1. #1
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    Default Hookworm Infection in a Crested Gecko


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    I did a quick search, but didn't find anything on this.

    In November, I was shipped a two year old female crested gecko for a breeding loan. She was a healthy 42 grams when I got her, and had been bred the season before yielding two or so clutches.

    Mid-December, she quit eating. I feed CGD and dusted b. dubia roaches once a week. She just stopped eating the CGD. I let it go a few weeks before I realized there was a real problem. We started hand feeding her peach baby food and syringe feeding her pedialyte. Her fecals were few and far between, and runny-ish and discolored. I had no reason to suspect parasites because the guy I got her from has a very large collection of animals and she was the only one showing anything wrong. I was shipped a second gecko at the same time who did not have any issues.

    I contacted her owner right away, keeping him informed of what was going on. We were at a loss, and all he could tell me was that she had been a picky eater since he got her in February.

    My local vet who sees herps is just a generalist, so I hesitated taking her there, thinking he wouldn't know much. Finally this past week, I obtained full ownership of the gecko (due to her being so sick and thinking she was going to croak), and made her an appointment thinking she was at this point suffering. For my own piece of mind, I wanted to make sure I was doing everything I could for her. We syringe fed her a lot of babyfood on Saturday night, hoping we'd have a stool sample by Monday morning. She obliged, so off we went with a fresh sample and the gecko on Monday.

    Just as I thought, the vet didn't have much for suggestions for me. Didn't even know what a crested gecko was or how it was supposed to be kept. His only thought was to draw me a bell curve and say that since I had so much experience with crested geckos, there are some that just aren't going to do well. And since she had only been getting babyfood for the last three months, we gave her a shot of vitamin A&D. We had enough for a fecal test, they told me they'd send it out to someone who read reptile fecals.

    I got the results back yesterday, and she has a hookworm infection. Now I'm really confused by this. I work for a regular cat/dog veterinarian, and I know what hookworms are. The gecko was bred/hatched by a very famous large-scale crested gecko breeder in Texas. She was purchased by the guy I got her from, then she came to me. I've kept her on paper towel in a quarantine bin. Hookworms come from soil. I've been on gecko forums for a long time, and seen a lot written about pinworms, but I can't find anything about hooks.

    The treatment for her is fenbendazole (Panacur). We got the first dose into her last night, but I'm not very confident she'll be saved. She has dropped down to 26 grams. She was very rough last night, and it took quite a bit of us stressing her out to get the Panacur in her. She is supposed to get a second dose in two weeks. I've kept her completely quarantined since I got her from my other geckos, and none of my other 130+ geckos show any sort of issues.

    I guess the point of me sharing this story is to see if anyone else has come back with a hookworm infection. I also wanted to put this out there as another issue to be aware of parasite wise. I'm assuming that at some point she was kept on substrate that contained hookworm eggs, but I don't think I'll ever get an answer on that. Just have to hope she pulls through.

  2. #2
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    or at one point was fed insects that were exposed to hookworm eggs? is there a possible insect vector? could the eggs live on the skin of fruit or veggies that bugs were gutloaded with, and survive to infect the gecko? I suspect that's over-paranoia by a long shot, but it does make you wonder...soil comes into contact with a lot of things. maybe she had a branch at some point that came with eggs attached?
    [I]* Morelia spilota harrisoni * Morelia spilota mcdowelli *Liasis olivaceous olivaceous * Blaesodactylus boivini * /I]

  3. #3
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    Interesting.
    Mader 2006 lists 2 hookworm genera commonly found in reptiles - Diaphanocephalus and Kalicephalus. I couldn't find much info on their transmission, but did find one paper. Schad 1956 experimentally infected snakes with Kalicephalus spp. larva via skin (he taped larva to the snakes!) and contaminated water. He also says "It has been shown that the three species develop in both aqueous and moist faeces-sand-charcoal cultures," suggesting that a water dish - and possibly a dirty cage - is sufficient for the parasite to complete its life cycle. Still, it's obvious that we don't know much about this parasites.

    Mader, D. R. (2006). Reptile medicine and surgery. Saunders.
    Schad, G. A. (1956). STUDIES ON THE GENUS KALICEPHALUS (NEMATODA: DIAPHANOCEPHALIDAE): I. ON THE LIFE HISTORIES OF THE NORTH AMERICAN SPECIES K. PARVUS, K. AGKISTRODONTIS, AND K. RECTIPHILUS. Canadian Journal of Zoology, 34(5), 425-452.
    Thanks the_sneetch thanked for this post

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