Written by Mike Corcoran, DVM, DABVP (R/A) CertAqV
Adopting a new pet is very exciting! We want to help you keep your new pet happy and healthy, while also ensuring your other pets at home remain happy and healthy.
Reptiles and amphibians can be affected by many parasites, viruses, and bacteria. Many times they are able to cope on their own and not have any problems. Stressful events can suppress the immune system and create problems from these conditions when there were no other concerns before. Introduction to a new home is one of those stresses for many animals.
New pets can start to shed disease under these circumstances even when they appear healthy. We don’t want to risk anything being spread to other animals in your home.
Quarantine for reptiles and amphibians should be established for 60-90 days using the following guidelines:
The new pet(s) should be physically separated from other reptiles and amphibians. Ideally this means a different room since some viruses can be airborne.
Cage furnishings should be very easily cleaned. Paper substrate is the best for cleaning. This is not a good time to offer wood or clay furnishings unless you are prepared to dispose of them if needed.
When cleaning and feeding, deal with your previous pets first, then any new reptiles in quarantine, then any that are sick. Wash well and change clothes between.
Do not share bowls, feeding tongs, or furnishings between animals.
Observe closely for any changes to droppings, changes to appetite, nasal discharge, abnormal behavior, weight loss or other concerns and seek veterinary care with any concerns.
Many species should be tested for specific diseases before coming out of quarantine and all should have a fecal test near the beginning of quarantine. Talk to one of our veterinarians for specific recommendations.
Following these recommendations can do a great deal for keeping your reptile or amphibian collection happy and healthy for a long time. It can save a lot of money and frustration and help your pets have a better quality of life.