Bearded Dragon are often prey to these ectoparasites or external parasites: mites, ticks, biting flies, and, to a lesser extent, leeches. Many reptile keepers think of these parasites as just a nuisance or an inconvenience. In reality, they can cause or contribute to very serious sickness. If any parasite infestation is left untreated, this may pose a greater risk on the health of the reptile.
The best way to treat an infestation is to allow a herp vet to diagnose the condition of the reptiles. The vet will examine and weigh the reptile. Once a full diagnosis is completed, the vet will prescribe the appropriate treatment method that should be used to eradicate the reptiles infesting the reptile.
Fresh droppings may also be sent to the veterinarian who will perform fecal parasite examinations to determine the particular microorganisms that may have caused the pathology.
There are a number of drugs used in the removal and termination of infestation. For Mites and ticks, drugs and insecticides used include ivermectin, dichlorvos (No-Pest) strips, as well as several variations of pyrethrins and permethrins.
Pyrethrins and pyrethroids
These compounds are used as insecticides and have been found in more than 3,500 registered products. Many of these products are used around households like those that are used to clean pets and in treating clothes, in controlling mosquitoes, as well as in agriculture. The use of these compounds has increased with the declining use of organophosphate pesticides, which are considered even more toxic to birds and mammals than the pyrethroids.
Pyrethrins as a treatment for ectoparasites
Pyrethrin is a collective term used for a class of insecticidal compounds extracted from the pyrethrum flowers (Chrysanthemums). There is a wide variety of pyrethrin- and permethrin-based products that are formulated for small animal medicine and have been specifically used to treat both ticks and mites. These compounds have been registered for use since the 1950s. Note, however, that there are several reported deaths associated with the use of these compounds.
While many have found these compounds extremely helpful in treating ectoparasites like mites and ticks. Even if these compounds are considered less toxic than other chemicals, that does not mean that they are safe for use. Several reports relating to various health problems linked to pyrethroids had increased to about 300 times within a decade. The problems reported included the following concerns: burning and tingling skin, respiratory trouble, involuntary twitching, dizziness, nausea, fainting, convulsions, and seizures. One reference indicates that there have been 50 deaths associated with the use of these compounds since 1992.
Considering these toxicity problems, I would not suggest using these methods of treatment for your pet. Even if you can wear a protective suit while using the treatment outside an open space, the risk is still great as your pet may touch other materials within the surrounding that you may later touch. The compound may also evaporate to the air and may be inhaled.
For the proper treatment of ectoparasites, I still recommend allowing a highly-trained and certified veterinarian to diagnose and treat your reptile pet.
Also note that if your pet is diagnosed with an infection it is best that you take everything out, including his enclosure. Have it thoroughly cleaned and sanitized to ensure that any trace of the parasites that may have landed on any part of the enclosure as well as any items set inside it will be thoroughly eradicated.
It is also best that you have your pets regularly for any pathogen. Observe good husbandry to ensure that your pet will stay healthy and safe from parasitic infections. For additional information on the proper handling of your pet reptile, consult a local vet.
In the course of treatment, you always have to clean cages, troughs, food trays for them, and always provide them with the best food for Bearded Dragon.