avian excellence

Chickens: spend upwards of an hour carefully selecting a nest site that’s private and safe from predators

Also chickens: I’ve done an egg! Look at my egg! That’s mine, that is! I did it! It’s an egg! I’VE! DONE! AN! EEEEEEEEGGGGGGGG!!!!!

scarletboom  asked:

Hey bluebell, what's crypto?

I’m gonna answer this publicly because I have three other asks asking about the same thing. 

Crypto is short for cryptospiridiosis and it’s one of the deadliest diseases found in reptiles.  It’s caused by a unicellular parasite called Cryptosporidium varanii (also know in older references as Cryptosporidium saurophilum).  It’s highly contagious by contact and is disturbingly common in gecko farms.  It can infect almost ANY reptile; even snakes have their own strain of crypto. 

What happens is the parasite infects the lining of the intestine, preventing the absorption of nutrients. Essentially, the gecko starves to death, no matter how much it eats. 

Geckos infected with crypto lose weight quickly, and start to show a symptom called ‘stick-tail’.  This is when the tail is super skinny and basically looks like a stick.

Here’s the general progression of symptoms:

  • anorexia, loss of interest in food
  • loss of muscle mass in the legs, especially the hind legs
  • regurgitation of food and undigested skin shed masses
  • change in consistency of feces, florid diarrhea, ‘cottage cheesy’ stools
  • weight loss, wasting away, thin tail
  • enlarged, darkened liver (hepatic lipidosis, or fatty liver)
  • lethargy
  • death

This parasite can’t be detected with the usual fecal smears/floats.  TBH, until fairly recently, the only way to detect it was via necropsy.  Now we have a few tests that can find it. 

Tests available:

An acid-fast stain test (ASF) uses a chemical called ‘carbol-fuchsin’ with the feces of the infected animal.  It binds to a compound in the cell walls of the oocytes (eggs) of the parasite.  It dyes them bright red so they’re easily seen under 100x microscope.  This test won’t work if the parasite isn’t in the reproductive phase and should be redone later.

Merifluor Immunofluorescent Assay (IFA) Test: this is MUCH more accurate.  It uses blood, saliva, or another bodily fluid.  I’m less familiar with this test personally.  Long story short, a chemical will cause a color change under the right wave length in an infected sample.

Enzyme-linked immunosorbent Assay (ELISA) Test: this is the one i always advise since it’s the most accurate. This test uses an enzyme or an antigen to test the immune response. 

There’s NO CURE for crypto.  It’s 100% deadly eventually.  It may go into remission, but the animal should be considered highly infectious.  Humane euthanasia is advised.  I’ve seen and heard of entire collections wiped out by this disease, which is why quarantine is SO IMPORTANT.  I quarantine my lizards for about three months before bringing them into the lizard room.  If they came from unreliable or unknown breeders, I quarantined for longer.

Avian Biotech provides an excellent mail-in service for testing for about 25 dollars.  I’m pretty sure they use either the ELISA or the IFA test.