The most important precaution for a parasite-free chameleon are the quarantine when the animal moves in and regular faecal samples. Especially in wild caught chameleons, you have to bank on high parasite burdens. Most parasite stadiums are not visible for the bare eye, but evidence for their existence can be found under the microscope in the chameleon’s faecal. So it makes sense to bring your reptile-experienced veterianrian faecal samples on a regular base for examination. Please bring preferably fresh faecal samples in a tight plastic container. Urate (the white, creamy part) is not part of the sample. A slight layer of “slime” around the faeces is normal in chameleons. Your veterinarian can give you appropriate containers for your sample. In urgent cases, your veterinarian can also flush the cloaca of your chameleon to examine the fluid for parasites.
Important to know: A negative faecal sample (which means there has nothing been found), does not mean your chameleon is free from parasites! Many parasite stadiums are not excreted via faeces continously. Even a chameleon with a very high parasite burden inside the gut may excrete faeces without any parasite. So one single faecal sample is not sufficient: Senseful precautions are two to four faecal samples per year – also in animals that have been treated against parasites or absolved quarantine yet. If you have a large collection, it makes sense to collect faecal samples per room instead of per cage. Chameleons that are kept close together in one room and which are fed/soaked/rained using the same equipment, mostly all have the same parasites.
If faecal samples are sent by post to a veterinarian or laboratory, they should be put in boxes instead of envelopes. Unfortunately, there are numerous cases in which a small droppings tube in a padded envelope was damaged by the franking machine. This is not only annoying for the owner, who then has to send in a new faecal sample, but also for the one who gets the envelope smeared with excrement.