Detection of infectious agents in samples from reptiles presented at veterinary clinics in Poland.
This study screened reptiles presented to specialized veterinary practices in Poland for DNA and RNA of six pathogens and evaluated connections between infections and animal husbandry. Four clinics with veterinarians specializing in exotic animal medicine collected swabs from the soft palate, cloaca, and any lesions from reptiles during routine visits. All samples were screened for the presence of herpesvirus, adenovirus, ranavirus, and mycoplasma DNA. Snake samples were also screened for reptarenavirus and nidovirus RNA. A short questionnaire was filled out by the owner(s) that included questions about the animal and its husbandry. Samples were collected from 254 animals; 107 (42.1%) tested positive for at least one pathogen. The most common agents detected were mycoplasmas (29.1% positive) and adenoviruses (10.6% positive); no rana- or reptarenaviruses were detected. Herpes and nidoviruses were each found in a few cases (2 and 13, respectively). Mycoplasmas were most often detected in Russian tortoises (Testudo horsfieldii; 88.9% positive) and green tree pythons (Morelia viridis; 76.9% positive). Adenoviruses were detected primarily in bearded dragons (Pogona vitticeps; 35.2% positive). Nidoviruses were found only in pythons in the genera Python and Morelia. Herpesviruses were detected in green iguanas (Iguana iguana). There was no correlation between husbandry and mycoplasma or virus detection. Although the detection of many of these pathogens corresponds to findings in other countries, several (high rates of mycoplasma-positive snakes and herpesvirus-positive iguanas) were surprising and may reflect specific disease dynamics within Poland.