Little is known about the distribution of infectious diseases in pet reptiles in Poland. This study screened reptiles presented to specialized veterinary practices in Poland for six pathogens and evaluated connections between infections and animal husbandry. Four clinics with veterinarians specialized in exotic animal medicine collected swabs from the soft palate, cloaca, and any lesions from patients 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. Short questionnaires were filled out by the owners, including questions about the animal and its husbandry. Samples collected from 254 animals were included; of these, 107 (42.1%) tested positive for at least one pathogen. The most common agents detected were mycoplasma (29.1% positive) and adenoviruses (10.6%); no ranaviruses or reptarenaviruses were detected. Herpes and nidoviruses were each found in a few cases (4 and 2, respectively). Mycoplasma was most often detected in Russian tortoises (Testudo horsfieldii; 88.9% positive) and green tree pythons (Morelia viridis; 76.9%). Adenoviruses were detected primarily in bearded dragons (Pogona vitticeps, 35.2%). Nidoviruses were found only in pythons (2 Python bivittatus and 2 Python regius). Herpesviruses were detected in green iguanas (Iguana iguana). There was no correlation between husbandry and mycoplasma or virus detection. While 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.
Funded by KNOW (Leading National Research Centre) Scientific Consortium “Healthy Animal-Safe Food”, division of Ministry of Science and Higher Education No. 05-1/KNOW2/2015.