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Coprological survey in pet reptiles in Italy

Faecal samples were collected from 324 pet reptiles showing no clinical signs, including 28 saurian species (n=192), three ophidian species (n=74) and three chelonian species (n=58). Samples were examined for the presence of intestinal parasites by direct smear and faecal flotation, while direct immunofluorescence assays were used to reveal the presence of Cryptosporidium oocysts and Giardia cysts. Overall, 57.4 per cent of the reptiles were harbouring intestinal parasites. These included oxyurids (16 per cent), coccidia (12.3 per cent), flagellates (9.3 per cent), strongyles (6.8 per cent), coccidia plus oxyurids (4.9 per cent), coccidia plus flagellates (1.8 per cent), coccidia plus strongyles (1.8 per cent), oxyurids plus strongyles (1.2 per cent), oxyurids plus flagellates (1.2 per cent), Cryptosporidium species (1.2 per cent) and strongyles plus flagellates (0.6 per cent). Intestinal parasites were more prevalent in saurians than in ophidians and chelonians, in insectivores than in carnivores, omnivores and herbivores, and in wild-caught than in captive-born reptiles. A highly significant difference was observed for saurians versus chelonians (odds ratio [OR]=2.20, 95 per cent confidence interval [CI] 1.21 to 3.99), insectivores versus herbivores (OR=2.38, 95 per cent CI 1.26 to 4.49) and in wild-caught versus captive-born pet reptiles (OR=2.36, 95 per cent CI 1.27 to 4.40).

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