Cryptosporidiosis has been reported in various species of reptiles. This disease appears to be common in wild reptile populations and in captivity, and transmission occurs by the fecal-oral route. Infected reptiles may not show symptoms, but are sporadic oocyst rashes (eggs). Clinical signs of Crypto-infection include regurgitation and weight loss, accompanied by abnormal enlargement of the gastric mucosa.
Diagnosis of cryptosporidiosis can be difficult. One method of diagnosis is to identify oocysts in a fecal sample using acid-fast staining. A negative acid-fast spot only indicates that the reptile did not shed during sampling, and does not mean that the animal does not have a crypt. It is standard practice to perform a triple test before assuming that the animal is not ill. Endoscopy, including gastric lavage and biopsy, can also be used to identify the disease.
The most common types of cryptosporidiosis found in reptiles are C. serpentis, C. muris and C. parvum. It is assumed that the occiputs found by C. parvum (based on mice) were probably from rodents ingested by reptiles rather than the actual Crypto infection. This possibility of infection of reptiles C. parvum can be completely ruled out only by additional thorough biological and genetic studies.
In March 1999, the St. Louis Zoo initiated a diagnostic-euthanasia program following the identification of chronic cryptosporidium in snakes at its facility. To control the effectiveness of control measures, snake samples were periodically taken for one year. Immediately after the start of the control measure, 5 of 10 and 8 of 17 snake samples were positive for Crypto in May and June 1999, respectively. Thereafter, only 1 of 45 snake samples taken at five different time periods was positive for cryptosporidiosis.
Currently, there are no effective strategies to control Cryptosporidium in reptiles. A small study demonstrated that snakes with clinical and subclinical cryptosporidium could be effectively treated (not cured) with hyperimmune bovine colostrum raised against C. parvum. Strict hygiene and quarantine of infected and exposed animals are required to combat cryptosporidiosis, but most choose to euthanize infected animals. The best method to prevent the spread of Crypto is the euthanasia of infected reptiles.
Cryptoocysts are neutralized only by exposure to humid heat from 113 ° F to 140 ° F for 5-9 minutes and disinfection with ammonia (5%) or saline (10%) for 18 hours. Inephores (1% -4%), cresyl acid (2.5% and 5%), sodium hypochlorite (3%), benzalkonium chloride (5% and 10%) and sodium hydroxide (0.02 m) were ineffective disinfectants. ). Anything that could potentially be in contact with an infected reptile should be thoroughly cleaned with ammonia solution and allowed to dry for at least 3 days.