Iguanas can get parasites from food or from being outside. You should get your iguana treated if you think it has worms or parasites. Unless you’re 100% sure that your reptile has worms, how to administer the drug, or what to do, please ask your vet who’s qualified to treat exotic animals.
Common Worms in Iguanas
Pinworms are a common problem in iguanas, my iguana had them herself when she was younger. I had her for several months before I noticed that when she defecated her feces was literally crawling. – Ew!
As a note, they are also common in almost everything, including humans! They are usually not dangerous, but if you can get rid of them from your pets and yourself, you’d be best to do so.
When I noticed that my iguana had worms I was kind of freaked out! I didn’t know what was going on and if she was going to be okay or what! Well let me tell you now that if you just found out your pet iguana has worms, don’t freak out. It’s okay, she’ll be fine. Just follow the instructions on this page and your iguana will be worm free within a week.
How to Diagnose Worms in Iguanas
First you have to be sure that your iguana actually has worms.
Here’s a pretty good indication:
If your iguana is laying nasties like the one pictured above, then you can be sure that what she has worms. These things are parasites that grow in your iguanas guts, they eat the nutrients from the food that your iguana eats, and your iguana basically starves to death, even while eating.
This is the grossest thing I have had to deal with so far as an iguana owner, but fortunately it’s an easy, safe fix that doesn’t take very long to do.
Pinworms are common in iguanas, many times they have them from a very young age. If not treated the iguana will eventually get sick and could even die, though that is uncommon. Fortunately pinworms are easy to take care of fairly quickly so there is no need to panic.
Deworming Your Iguana from Parasites
During the treatment you will need to remove your iguanas feces immediately and keep its environment very clean. This is important so that they do not re-infect themselves with more pinworms. Clean the environment thoroughly before starting the treatment below.
Pinworms have a pretty short lifespan and don’t usually get to the point where they cause any serious health problems. The key to getting rid of them for good is to make sure you get them all, and then after the eggs hatch you have to get them again before they can reproduce. To do this you have to give your iguana the medication 3 times, just to be safe.
Medications for Deworming Iguanas
The safest most effective pinworm medication that I have found has been Cat & Dog De-Wormer with the active ingredient Piperazine Citrate.
What I used was Excel Roundworm De-Wormer for cats and dogs.
Active Ingredient: 250mg Piperazine base as Piperazine Citrate, per teaspoon (5ml)
I followed the instructions on the bottle. Do the math to figure out the right dosage for the weight of your iguana. Yes, you will have to weigh your iguana or find an accurate idea of what your iguana weighs to figure out your dosage.
Once you have figured out how much to give your iguana (hint, it won’t be much), use a piece of brown bread with the medication dripped on to administer the medication. I found bread was the easiest way to get my iguana to take the medication.
If you drip it in their mouth it may be stressful on them, if you put it on their salad you don’t know if they actually get all of the medication. Using a piece of bread is the easiest way to make sure they have taken the medication.
After the initial dosage make sure to repeat the process again 4 days later, and then again 5 days after that. This will ensure that your iguanas pinworms are gone for good and should never return.
Continue monitoring your iguanas feces for worms for several weeks after the treatment has been completed. In my experience, the worms never came back. It’s been several years now and I have not seen another worm since. It is possible for them to come back or for your iguana to again become infected with worms. Just do the treatment again and they should go away again just as quickly as the first time.
I have no experience with any other medications for this problem because piperazine citrate has worked so well for me I’ve had no reason to try anything else.
Some other medications are dangerous and are even fatal for iguanas. A commonly used medication called Ivermectin is often fatal for young iguanas and even older ones as well. If your vet or pet care provider says you should use a medication with Ivermectin in it, tell them that you would prefer to use one with piperazine citrate instead for safety reasons.
During and After Treatment
While you are doing the treatment for worms in your pet iguana, make sure you are feeding them a healthy diet. Also, make sure you provide they have the correct heat and lighting and their home is set up safely and correctly.
Your iguana shouldn’t act a whole lot different than any other day during these treatments. I noticed no change in my pet iguana’s behavior when I gave her this treatment. Just make sure you have everything kept clean and that their environment is set up in the best way possible to provide optimal living conditions for your pet iguana.