Deworming protocols of island snakes kept in capitivity at the Butantan Institute

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Bothrops insularis and B. alcatraz are critically endangered species inhabiting two different coastal islands of the state of São Paulo. Although they are closely related species, they show distinct morphological characteristics due to their isolation from the continent. There is a general lack of studies on conservation and captive husbandry of these species, including their parasites. Our aim was to evaluate the deworming protocols used in B. insularis and B. alcatraz in captivity. We evaluated three deworming protocols through fecal examination: (1) adult B. insularis were treated with ivermectin and praziquantel, (2) adult B. alcatraz were treated with ivermectin, and (3) juvenile B. insularis and B. alcatraz were treated with ivermectin. The snakes are kept in the Laboratory of Ecology and Evolution at the Instituto Butantan (São Paulo, Brazil) for conservation purposes. To evaluate the deworming protocols, we performed the Willis-Mollay (1921) technique. After treating with the first protocol, 19% of the animals showed only eggs of a pseudoparasite (Syphacia obvelata). After the second protocol, 75% of the animals showed cestodes (Ophiotaenia sp.). After the third protocol, 32% of the animals showed only the pseudoparasite, S. obvelata. The pseudoparasite was found only in B. insularis individuals that ate adult mice in captivity. However, cestode eggs were found only in those adult snakes of the second protocol that did not receive praziquantel. Based on the negative results for pathogenic parasites, we conclude that the first protocol was effective for adult snakes whereas the third protocol was effective for juveniles.
Araoz ACC, Garcia VC, Pinto CM, Almeida-Santos SM. Deworming protocols of island snakes kept in capitivity at the Butantan Institute. Archives of Veterinary Science. 2018;23(3):35-42. doi:10.5380/avs.v23i3.58549.
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