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  • [Health-General] Cryptosporidium serpentis

    hello all, i have some problems investigating this parasite, i bought a guyana boa the last december 21 and the thing is that it came with other guyana boa , (or that´s what i think) and the the first one was sold about the first october week, and it was diagnosticated with Cryptosporidium, so i have done all the quarentine procedure, but i´ve hear that this parasite it´s extremelly contagious, please i want to know what do you think i should do, and whats the best diagnosis method to detecting Cryptosporidium ( stomach lavage it´s an option?) and if the other species from Cryptosporidium genus (murinus, parvum, etc) can infect and cause death to a snake?

    thanks for your time and happy new year

    greetings

  • #2
    Re: Cryptosporidium serpentis

    In order to get a definitive diagnosis, the vet needs to do gastric lavage or obtain a gastric biopsy and submit the sample to a diagnostic lab for a PCR (polymerase chain reaction) test. This is the only way to determine if the crypto is the rodent or snake type. They have some studies that have come out this year on whether or not snakes can actually become infected with crypto from mice and other sources, but I don't think any of been particularly conclusive and the general understanding is that they can't.

    Acid fast staining can potentially find crypto, but you can't speciate it and it is not as specific a test. So if you saw crypto on an acid fast stained fecal or cloacal wash you can't tell if its serpentis or muris and therefore cannot tell if it is causing an infection or merely passing through. Of course if the animal shows clinical signs it might be a different story, but I would still want a definitive test done.

    Was the Guyana boa sick? How was the diagnosis made? Did your vet give you any advice for future acquisitions? The hard part is that not even bleach can kill crypto and as you know there is no proven treatment.

    EDIT.
    Here are some links for you to read:
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/q..._uids=14766569
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9601150

    If you give me a moment I will pull my lecture notes from last year's CVC conference I went to where we had a great lecture on crypto in reptiles.
    Last edited by jhsulliv; 01-03-2010, 07:29 PM.

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    • #3
      Re: Cryptosporidium serpentis

      What are the sypmtoms of crypto exactly ?

      If bleach dsoesn't kill , disinfect what does ?

      Thanks Joley I've never spoken in depth about this with my Vet

      Lar M
      Boas By Klevitz

      sigpic

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      • #4
        Re: Cryptosporidium serpentis

        We don't know much about it and stuff changes yearly as we are learning. It's actually fairly common in people, not the species that infects reptiles though. Leos get a different species of crypto and typically have wasting I know, but those people with more gecko experience can probably comment further. Snakes often regurge and almost all snakes with a mid-body (gastric/stomach) swelling are clinically infected. The only treatment right now is euthanasia sadly. As they've been studying it though, they found snakes that were asymptomatic and infected. As testing methods for crypto like ELISA and PCRs came about they started to notice that most of the snakes that were "infected" but fine had C. muris which is found in rodents and was apparently just passing on through and of no clinical significance. So that lead people to wonder how accurate acid fast stains really are. Generally speaking you don't screen healthy animals for this so if you have one that's regurgitating and and/or has a mid-body swelling with crypto seen on an acid fast stain of a fecal or regurge you can make a diagnosis. Not to mention PCR testing runs easily $200 and most owners aren't going to spend that kind of money. It is the gold standard though. Crypto can be missed in a fecal too as it lives in the stomach (the snake type) and may not be shedding into the feces constantly so that's why gastric lavage is the best method. It's easily done in house too. They just take a syringe with a red rubber catheter and pass it down the throat into the stomach, push in some saline and suck it out and then submit that sample.

        As far as killing it, all I've ever learned is that it has to be physically removed and that all disinfectants are ineffective. No one ever bothered to explain "physical removal" to me though.

        EDIT:
        The CDC has advice on controlling crypto outbreaks in day-care centers and propose a method with hydrogen peroxide to disinfect surfaces. http://www.cdc.gov/crypto/daycare/outbreak.html
        Last edited by jhsulliv; 01-03-2010, 09:08 PM.

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        • #5
          Re: Cryptosporidium serpentis

          thank you so much for your help , tomorrow i will try to find someone that can make a stomach lavage to my guyana and send other boa to the test (the boa died, ) that last boa is not mine, im really worried about my boas, i dont know what to do if my collection gets infected , but i will first ask for the stomach lavage , i have more doubts about this subject ,to identify a cryptosporidium, only one stomach lavage will be needed to eliminate the boa from suspect cyptosporidium carrier ? and once the boa show symptom will die or can recover from vomiting and all that? and its dangerous to humans, can we get sick from that?

          thanks for your time and greetings

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          • #6
            Re: Cryptosporidium serpentis

            No we cannot get this type of cryptosporidium. Remember that it is a protozoan so this is analogous to your dog getting giardia, except this has proven to be untreatable in reptiles. This isn't something that boas will "carry," as I understand it, they either have it or they don't and the ones that have C. serpentis are very sick. There is no reason to take a perfectly healthy animal in for a gastric lavage and have it tested. Talk to your vet about it though. If you can fork out the money for the PCR to be done that is the best thing to have done, but if you can't, just do what you can afford. I'm not sure how long this organism lasts in an animal that has died so you need to find that out too so you have the best shot at an accurate test. Please let us know how it all turns out.

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            • #7
              Re: Cryptosporidium serpentis

              Originally posted by jhsulliv View Post
              No we cannot get this type of cryptosporidium. Remember that it is a protozoan so this is analogous to your dog getting giardia, except this has proven to be untreatable in reptiles. This isn't something that boas will "carry," as I understand it, they either have it or they don't and the ones that have C. serpentis are very sick. There is no reason to take a perfectly healthy animal in for a gastric lavage and have it tested. Talk to your vet about it though. If you can fork out the money for the PCR to be done that is the best thing to have done, but if you can't, just do what you can afford. I'm not sure how long this organism lasts in an animal that has died so you need to find that out too so you have the best shot at an accurate test. Please let us know how it all turns out.
              thanks again, and i want this boa to be tested because when my guyana arrived an other guyana arrived and that one was vomiting and vomiting and was diagnosed with cryptosporidium (just that they didnt specify if it was muris or serpentis) i will not make a stomach lavage from her until i will be at the university to make a PCR the sample will be a stomach lavage after cryptosporidium was stimulated, or should i take the sample from other way?, now i will be focused on the dead boa and the necropsy

              again thanks for your time and i will keep you informed about this

              greetings

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              • #8
                Re: Cryptosporidium serpentis

                Honestly, with a regurgitating snake like that I bet you can feel pretty safe that it's serpentis. Did you find out if you are still within a window of time to do a PCR? Necropsies need to be done within 48 hours really or the tissues start to deteriorate too much.

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                • #9
                  Re: Cryptosporidium serpentis

                  hi , jhsulliv, tomorrow i will take my boa to the stimulation to take the sample from the gastric lavage, i read on a book from reptiles that if your test is negative finding cryptosporidium in the acid fast test from the gastric lavage it will be c. serpentis - , about the pcr I will have to do it myself at the university, because a elisa will be really expensive (im from mexico and its hard to fin the Anti-bodies to c. serpentis), and the other boa (the guyana that came with mine) i dont know if has the symptoms anorexia, the mid body swelling this last one I'm not sure if a boa that is vomiting has to show it, i just know that that guyana was vomiting , and cryptosporidium was diagnosed from a cloacal sample, and the necropsy the boa its frozen so i dont know if we can still make it

                  thanks for your time and i will keep you informed

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