People with limited living quarters may find that reptiles such as lizards or turtles fit perfectly into their lifestyles. Before deciding on a reptile, learn as much as possible about them and their needs. Poisonous snakes and certain reptiles should never be kept as pets. Ask your veterinarian about the suitability of a particular animal before you make your decision. There are many things to consider before committing to a reptile as a pet.
Finding out if a Pet is Legal Where You Live
Many areas have enacted laws pertaining to keeping reptiles. Some are general and some are quite specific; in many places any reptiles that are considered dangerous (venomous snakes, alligators, etc.) are illegal but some places are even more restrictive (for example, in some states all consticting snakes including ball pythons are illegal).
Salmonella Risks and Prevention
All reptile owners need to be informed about Salmonella infections. While the risks shouldn't keep most people from keeping reptiles since with the proper management the risks are minimal. Still, owners should be aware of the risks, and the US Centers for Disease Control recommends that certain risk groups should be careful about contact with reptiles and amphibians.
The Importance of Light and Heat
Many problems with keeping reptiles can be traced back to not providing the proper environmental conditions, particularly heat. Proper lighting is also important for many reptiles. The equipment to provide the proper heat and light to captive reptiles is often quite expensive, but is absolutely essential to keeping pet reptiles healthy. It is important to find out exactly what conditions your reptile needs and never cut corners when it comes to meeting those conditions!
Why Choose Captive Bred Reptiles
There are numerous reasons why you should pick a captive bred reptile if at all possible, as explained here.
How to Pick a Healthy Reptile
It is important to keep in mind that depending on where you get a reptile, it may be very stressed, dehydrated, and prone to illness. Here are some items to look for when buying your reptile to increase the chances of picking out a healthy pet reptile.
While there are many types of reptiles that could be good pets, here we cover a few you could consider.
Vertigo or Old Dog Vestibular Syndrome
Vertigo is a syndrome in the elderly dog, which can be very frightening to the owners. The dog is suddenly afflicted with a balance problem, usually staggering, but occasionally unable to stand, and more rarely actually rolling over and over. There is a tilting of the head to one side and nystagmus,Read more
Salmonella is a bacterium that can cause disease in humans, dogs, cats, and other animals. It can cause a variety of symptoms, commonly vomiting and/or diarrhea, but also severe infections and septicemia. It can also cause abscesses, meningitis, bone infections, and abortion. Salmonella is found worldwideRead more
There are many types of roundworms, but some of the most common are intestinal parasites of dogs, cats, and raccoons. Puppies are frequently born with roundworms, and kittens can be infected via the mother's milk or feces. Adult roundworms are ivory colored, four to six inches long, and round (not flatRead more
Rabies is a fatal viral infection that is transmitted primarily through bite wounds. Skunks, bats, raccoons, and foxes are the primary carriers. Rabies is also fatal to humans, there has been only one case of a person surviving rabies when treatment was started after clinical signs were present. PuppiesRead more
There are many types of parasites that are found in the GI tract of cats and dogs. Worms such as roundworms, whipworms, and hookworms are very common in almost all parts of the world. These parasites shed their infective eggs in the pet's stool and contaminate the environment; some eggs can live on yardsRead more
Hookworms are small, thread-like parasites of the small intestine where they attach and suck large amounts of blood. These parasites are found in almost all parts of the world, being common in dogs, and occasionally seen in cats. Symptoms are usually diarrhea and weight loss. The parasites can actuallyRead more
Excess weight is a serious health problem for dogs and cats and is common in many countries. The two main causes of obesity are too much food and too little exercise. Other contributing factors can be due to hormonal influences, certain genetic factors, and other disease processes. If you pet is carryingRead more
There are many types of mites that infect dogs, cats, and other animals. Mites are microscopic arthropod parasites that, for the most part, infect the skin or mucous membranes. Mites can even be present on birds and reptiles. The most common mites that infect dogs and cats are ear mites, Demodex, scabies,Read more
Hip dysplasia is a congenital disease that, in its more severe form, can eventually cause lameness and painful arthritis of the joints. It is caused by a combination of genetic and environmental factors. It can be found in many animals and, rarely, humans, but is common in many dog breeds, particularlyRead more
Heartworm has been diagnosed in dogs in all parts of the world and is actually very common. This may be due to the fact that heartworm has a virtual 100% prevalence rate in unprotected dogs living in highly endemic areas. Heartworm, also known as Dirofilaria immitis, is transmitted by mosquitoes. TheRead more
Gastric Dilation Volvulus (GDV)
Gastric Dilation Volvulus (GDV) is a life threatening, acute condition that requires immediate medical attention. Certain breeds are more prone to this condition: boxers, great Danes, standard poodles, saint bernards, Irish setters, dobermans, weimaraners and gordon setters. These breeds are consideredRead more
Diabetes Mellitus (DM) is a life long disorder of dogs and cats that results when the pancreas fails to produce enough insulin to meet the animal's needs. Insulin is a hormone needed to transport glucose (blood sugar) into the body's cells. When there is a lack of insulin in the body, blood glucose risesRead more
Over 85% of dogs and cats have some type of periodontal disease. Periodontal disease simply means that the gums and bone that hold the teeth in place are being destroyed by oral bacteria. This preventable disease is the number one diagnosed disease in our pets, yet many animals suffer needlessly. PeriodontalRead more
Canine Parvovirus (CPV)
The Parvovirus is known worldwide and causes disease in many different species of animals. Different strains of virus only infect certain types of animals. For example, the Canine Parvovirus (Parvo) will mainly infect dogs and does not cause disease in cats or humans. Feline Parvovirus, a different strainRead more
Cancer, by definition, is the uncontrolled growth of cells. Any type of cells in the body can become cancerous. Once these cells grow out of control, they take over areas previously occupied by normal cells; sometimes these tumor cells break off and travel to other areas of the body. Wherever these cellsRead more
The use of acupuncture is growing in popularity among veterinarians and the practitioners say they are impressed with the results. Only a few decades ago, the use of acupuncture in veterinary medicine was virtually unheard of. In recent years, the use of acupuncture in veterinary medicine has been steadilyRead more