Dark, deformed scales and worms (oxyures). Advice?

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Dark, deformed scales and worms (oxyures). Advice?

Postby Isabel » Sun Mar 24, 2024 3:38 am

Dear BTS-lovers,

I‘m Isabel from Germany and I‘m keeping a bluetongueskink since summer 2022. His name is Rufus and he is almost 3 years old now. I love him very much.
He was diagnosed with oxyures in February this year and they still can be found in his droppings - at least the clinic says so. I am unsure of what to do, I am worried and I do not know if I can really trust what the doctors say, since they don‘t seem too knowledgeable about BTS. I hope you can give me some advice, please.

I try to send in his droppings two times a year to make sure everything is fine. I forgot it in autumn 2023, because he started brumating already in October. I didn‘t expect him to sleep so soon so I had fed him still quite regularly (We moved to a new home and I think the room was a bit cooler so he thought it was time for winter. I guess). I think he still had some food in his digestive system when he went into brumation… He came out of it in the beginning of December and started eating in January again. So far, so good.
I first got a bit worried when he didn‘t shed well on his back. I was a bit inattentive and bought a new UVA/UVB-lamp which had more power than the last (I had 35Watt but the new one has 50Watt). He got dark on his back and the scales are now a bit.. wavy? Uneven? I am not sure, but can they get sunburned? I then bathed him a lot.. The shedding on his tail and toes works quite alright, but he still has problems on his back.

Alright, and then I send in some poop to the “reptiles, birds, fish and amphibian clinic“ that I go to (since normal veterinarians do not have the knowhow about reptiles here..). This was in the beginning of February. And they said he had oxyures. We began treatment. I dumped his wooden enclosure, put him into a small glass terrarium and on paper towels. The vet in the clinic gave him a medicine and I gave him the second dosis 2 weeks later. I desinfected every stone and hide that I could - it was nasty and brutal stuff and our bath smelled one week of this desinfection.

He eats and poops. But he does not come out of his hide very often. Who can blame him. After 2-3 weeks in the very small terrarium I put him into a slightly bigger glass terrarium, still on papertowel. I hoped that he would feel better there. I have his UVA/UVB-lamp in there, too, but no second heatlamp, since there is no second mount for a lamp (yet). He still does not come out on his own, except when he gets food or poops. Well of course, there isn‘t much to see, but well, I thought it would nicer. His scales on his back look even a bit worse after his last shed I think. Dark and uneven.. Should I get a new 35Watt light? Maybe that was better, but I am not sure if it is because of the lighting or maybe his parasites.

He should be cured by now but the sample I‘d sent in still came back positive. I have a new appointment with the doctor tomorrow. And now summarized what I don‘t feel good / unsure about:

Can the vet give me the best advice? She said he should be eating mostly vegetables, for example. And she advised me against wet dog / cat food, which I feed (I feed 50% vegetables, 40% wet cat food and 10% fruit). I am not sure if she is really an expert on bluetongues… My breeder gave me the advice to ask, if they can determine his gender. He does this to test vets if they know enough about BTS‘. If they say yes, they can, he doesn‘t trust them because it is difficult and nearly impossible to determine a BTS‘ gender. I haven‘t asked her, yet, but maybe I will do that tomorrow. So: Do I trust her?

Then: My breeder says he never sends in poop-samples. As long as his BTS‘ behave normal and breed, he isn‘t worried. And I mean Rufus behaves quite normal. Except from his shedding…

And: I really think this quarantine isn‘t good for him this long. Maybe the glassterrarium is too cold. There isn‘t much to enjoy. He still has an appetite, however. So that is good, isn‘t it? But he doesn‘t move much and hides a lot. I would love to put him into his new enclosure that I got for him. But when he is still infected with parasites and I have to get rid of that terrarium, too (because it is wood and cannot be desinfected), that would mean enormous costs and effort again..
My breeder says it could be common for Rufus to live with parasites and that it doesn‘t have to affect him negatively. I sent in a sample a year ago, there, they couldn‘t detect any parasite. My guess is, that he had some, but just a few. And during his brumation, the worms multiplied.

But still: What do I do?
Leave him in quarantine?
Try to put another heatlamp in, so he gets warmer?
Take him out of quarantine and don‘t listen to what the vet says?
Change the UVA/UVB-lamp to one with lower watt?

I am sorry for this long post, but I would be so thankful if somebody gave me advice!!

Isabel & Rufus
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Re: Dark, deformed scales and worms (oxyures). Advice?

Postby splashy07 » Tue Mar 26, 2024 5:17 am

Hello, and sorry for your troubles. Can you post a picture of him? It may help me decide if your husbandry is correct for the species. I have been breeding for many years, and I do not use UVB on other than my desert species. The vegetable thing is not as important as you may read either, I know many breeders that have been producing for 20+ years and their skinks survive totally on dog food. There are brands that contain vegetables. Mine seem to like peas, carrots and green beans. Most BTS available in the pet trade need a high end temp of about 90-100 give or take, my Easterns do not like anything above 85. Humidity depends on the species, which is why I'd like to see yours. I would also like to see your setup.
Sexing BTS can be difficult, but again that's according to species. Northerns, Easterns and Westerns are quite obvious as adults.

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