Pinworms

Jay Bagley

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Hello, I had put a post on last week about possibly bringing my sulcata to the vet for a routine checkup, and also some weird breathing noises he was making. I got some really good feedback from you guys about saving my money, and raising my temps to knock it out if it was a possible RI. I did not take him to the vet, his breathing is much better now, after closer examination it looks like he had some wet mazuri up his nose lol. I did however, bring in a poop sample to the Exotic vet in our area. She called me back today, and said that he had a very large number of pinworms in his poop. I guess I have a few questions, do you think this could be a contributing factor to his smaller size, he only weighs about a pound and a half at roughly two and a half years of age. I have only been his caretaker for a little over a month, I have had him outside 3 times. And the previouse owner never did. I'm just wondering what is the most logical way he could have picked them up so I can avoid this in the future. It is cold here in Michigan now, so he won't be getting any outside time and a chance to pick more up from outside for a while. I don't remember the name of it but she is giving me some kind of an oral medication but I am supposed to give to him twice and I am picking it up tomorrow. I have read about the pumpkin to eliminate pinworms, and also wondered if a vet prescribe medication or the pumpkin would be the way to go. And any precautions that I should be taking in the future. Thank you for any feedback.
 

ZEROPILOT

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A lot of tortoises have worms. They are not always a serious problem.
Normally only eggs get passed in the poop.
Living, whole worms in the poop mean a very active and severe case.
I would administer the exact dosage just as the vet prescribes, mixed in wet Mazuri, or any other food that your tortoise will eat.
Treat for as long as the vet says to treat. Often it's a few days on and a few days off. This is to make sure the life cycle is stopped. No new eggs hatch, etc.
Change all of your bedding as you treat. There may be live eggs still in the substrate from poop.
You may or may not see dead worms as you treat.
My experience has been that most of the dead parasites get absorbed by the tortoise. But don't be alarmed if you see a lot of worms. Especially if they're dead.
 

Jay Bagley

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A lot of tortoises have worms. They are not always a serious problem.
Normally only eggs get passed in the poop.
Living, whole worms in the poop mean a very active and severe case.
I would administer the exact dosage just as the vet prescribes, mixed in wet Mazuri, or any other food that your tortoise will eat.
Treat for as long as the vet says to treat. Often it's a few days on and a few days off. This is to make sure the life cycle is stopped. No new eggs hatch, etc.
Change all of your bedding as you treat.
You may or may not see dead worms as you treat.
My experience has been that most of the dead parasites get absorbed by the tortoise.
Thanks for the response, I like the mazuri idea. The vet gave me two options, one was for me to bring home and administer myself, the other was to bring him in and she said she would sedate him and administer it there. Just seem like it would be a lot of unnecessary stress on him to bring him in and have him sedated. I will change the bedding for sure. I do my best to pick his poop up as he lets it out but it's a foot race for me to get to it before he decides to snack on it. Are tortoises born with worms in them? I was just trying to figure out if he gets it from possibly the produce that I buy or the few times he was outside.
 

Bambam1989

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Thanks for the response, I like the mazuri idea. The vet gave me two options, one was for me to bring home and administer myself, the other was to bring him in and she said she would sedate him and administer it there. Just seem like it would be a lot of unnecessary stress on him to bring him in and have him sedated. I will change the bedding for sure. I do my best to pick his poop up as he lets it out but it's a foot race for me to get to it before he decides to snack on it. Are tortoises born with worms in them? I was just trying to figure out if he gets it from possibly the produce that I buy or the few times he was outside.
Pretty sure they are not born with worms. Probably got them while outside, or eating food from outside that had dirt on it.
 

Jay Bagley

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Pretty sure they are not born with worms. Probably got them while outside, or eating food from outside that had dirt on it.
That makes sense to me. I didn't think they could, just glad that that the vet caught it and we can get treatment going. I will probably end up getting him checked once or twice a year from here on out to avoid any more occurrences.
 

Meganolvt

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It's common for tortoises to carry worms, some are even beneficial to them. When there are times of stress or illness, the worms can really multiply and they can have too big of a load to handle. So thats probably what happened (stress from moving). Follow your vet's advice and please don't let others scare you out of taking your tort to the vet. We're not all bad, unknowledgable, or just in it for the money. Some of us do know what we're doing. Also, hello from a fellow Michigander!
 

Jay Bagley

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It's common for tortoises to carry worms, some are even beneficial to them. When there are times of stress or illness, the worms can really multiply and they can have too big of a load to handle. So thats probably what happened (stress from moving). Follow your vet's advice and please don't let others scare you out of taking your tort to the vet. We're not all bad, unknowledgable, or just in it for the money. Some of us do know what we're doing. Also, hello from a fellow Michigander!
Thanks for the feedback, gotta love this Michigan weather...28 degrees one day 55 the next LOL. I know my tortoise hates it, he's cooped up inside all day. Winter hasn't really set in yet, and I'm already looking forward to Summer. I know most vets aren't bad, the only ones I really avoid are when their opening statement is sure bring your reptile in and we'll give it a vitamin shot. Those are the only ones I really steer clear of. I really appreciate and respect what you guys set out to do for our animals.
 

Jay Bagley

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Didn't know if I should start a new post or update this one. Sheldon tested positive for pinworms back in November of 2017. They gave me three doses of dewormer to be given every 10 days. I also changed his substrate before the first dose. I had to bring our puppy in to get his rabies vaccination yesterday, so I thought I would bring in a sample of Sheldon's poop. I got the results back today, it tested positive again. They said it was a +4, which according to them is a very high count. He hasn't been back outside as it's been winter here. I think maybe I introduced knew substrate to quickly, I put it in after the second dose but before the third. He also has been making a weird whistling noise periodically when breathing. No nasal discharge or anything like that. Could the large gut load of pinworms cause breathing irregularities? While he eats pretty good, and has gained weight steadily, 12 more ounces over the last 20 days. There still seems to be one day a week where he's not interested in food, I think this may be due to the worms as well. I never disinfected his cage after I removed the substrate the first time, and definitely want to this time. Can anybody recommend a safe disinfectant to use? Also when I soak him he always poops in his water, are there precautions I should take with that? I worry if I don't catch him right away when he poops, he might possibly ingest more eggs or possibly have them stick to him and bring them back into his enclosure. Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Thank you very much.
 

Meganolvt

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The overload of pinworms could be running him down, which could be causing mild upper respiratory symptoms. The pinworms don't go to the lungs, so it's more likely that his body is just trying to fight them, which can cause problems elsewhere. Be sure your temps are high enough, this will help combat the progression of upper respiratory problems. He needs a series of deworming again, and you should either change out substrate every time he is dewormed or just switch to newspaper during the deworming series and change that frequently. For cleaning, a bleach solution would work, but you have to rinse really really well. Bleach water solutions are only good for 24 hours too. 50/50 vinegar and water are safe, but i don't know if it kills pinworms eggs. Deworming several times, changing substrate frequently, and making sure diet and temps are right are the way to go. Don't skip any dewormings, it takes at least 6 weeks to break the pinworm life cycle. They often get these worm overloads when their temps aren't high enough, but can also get them from crickets and other insects.
 

Jay Bagley

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The overload of pinworms could be running him down, which could be causing mild upper respiratory symptoms. The pinworms don't go to the lungs, so it's more likely that his body is just trying to fight them, which can cause problems elsewhere. Be sure your temps are high enough, this will help combat the progression of upper respiratory problems. He needs a series of deworming again, and you should either change out substrate every time he is dewormed or just switch to newspaper during the deworming series and change that frequently. For cleaning, a bleach solution would work, but you have to rinse really really well. Bleach water solutions are only good for 24 hours too. 50/50 vinegar and water are safe, but i don't know if it kills pinworms eggs. Deworming several times, changing substrate frequently, and making sure diet and temps are right are the way to go. Don't skip any dewormings, it takes at least 6 weeks to break the pinworm life cycle. They often get these worm overloads when their temps aren't high enough, but can also get them from crickets and other insects.
Hey thanks for taking the time to respond. I really appreciate it. I was starting to think maybe I asked a dumb question. I will do the bleach and the water. Thank you again.
 

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One thing in your narrative I wanted to address for anyone reading the thread: pumpkin is NOT a dewormer, however, the pumpkin SEEDS do have anthelmintic properties. But in order to take advantage of it, the seeds are dried, then ground up.
 

Jay Bagley

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One thing in your narrative I wanted to address for anyone reading the thread: pumpkin is NOT a dewormer, however, the pumpkin SEEDS do have anthelmintic properties. But in order to take advantage of it, the seeds are dried, then ground up.
Thank you for clearing that up, hopefully I didn't imply anything bad.
 

Jay Bagley

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I made it back from the vet they gave me the same dewormer as last time, Pancur. They also gave me another one, Strongid-t. They said one dose of Pancur, and three doses of the Strongid-t 14 days apart. Is there much of a difference between the two?
 

Meganolvt

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Panacur is a wide spectrum dewormer, meaning it kills several different kinds of worms, as well as protozoa like Giardia. Strongid kills things in the strongyle family, which are roundworms and pinworms (and in large animals like horses strongyles). So between the two, it should work if you change your substrate often and follow the schedule. Loose stool is normal for a day or two after deworming. And of course check your temps and other husbandry, a few pins are normal but an overload is usually because of husbandry issues (and reinfection, of course).
 

Jay Bagley

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Panacur is a wide spectrum dewormer, meaning it kills several different kinds of worms, as well as protozoa like Giardia. Strongid kills things in the strongyle family, which are roundworms and pinworms (and in large animals like horses strongyles). So between the two, it should work if you change your substrate often and follow the schedule. Loose stool is normal for a day or two after deworming.
Okay, thank you. Yeah we're going to start administering it tomorrow, I'm going to pull all the substrate out and disinfect the enclosure. Thought about just putting newspaper down for now. I probably should have asked the vet to explain the difference between the 2 they were crazy busy. Thank you for telling me the difference.
 

vladimir

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Okay, thank you. Yeah we're going to start administering it tomorrow, I'm going to pull all the substrate out and disinfect the enclosure. Thought about just putting newspaper down for now. I probably should have asked the vet to explain the difference between the 2 they were crazy busy. Thank you for telling me the difference.

Hi Jay,

I missed this from the other day. Sorry to hear Sheldon still has worms! I need to take another sample to get Vlad tested again. He's still without proper substrate. I'm using newspaper with thicker cardboard on top, as one time I caught him trying to eat the newspaper. Just something to keep an eye out for.

Hope Sheldon feels better!
 

Jay Bagley

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Hi Jay,

I missed this from the other day. Sorry to hear Sheldon still has worms! I need to take another sample to get Vlad tested again. He's still without proper substrate. I'm using newspaper with thicker cardboard on top, as one time I caught him trying to eat the newspaper. Just something to keep an eye out for.

Hope Sheldon feels better!
Hello Vlad,

Yeah he still has the worms, I think it was my doing. I could tell he was miserable without having substrate, so I introduced new substrate in between the second and third dose. It's funny you say that about the newspaper, I didn't have a problem with him eating it the first time. But this time it was only in there like 10 minutes and I heard some ripping and shredding noises and sure enough he was attacking it like he hadn't eaten in a month. So I removed that. Right now I have him down just on the wood surface, I was looking for some other ideas to use for temporary substrate. I think I will try the cardboard. Let me know how Vlad's sample comes back.
 

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