Evaluation of Three Treatment Modalities against Isospora amphiboluri in Inland Bearded Dragons (Pogona vitticeps)

Michael Walden, Mark A. Mitchell

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


The inland bearded dragon (Pogona vitticeps) is an economically important lizard in herpetoculture, with an annual estimate of 500,000 juvenile bearded dragons produced in the United States. Within the last few years, Isospora amphiboluri has been recognized as an important disease-causing parasite of bearded dragons; this is associated with significant mortalities in juvenile dragons. The purpose of this study was to examine the effectiveness of 3 different treatment modalities (a probiotic, a sulfonamide, and an herbal extract) against I. amphiboluri in bearded dragons. Sixty juvenile bearded dragons that were positive for I. amphiboluri were used in this study. Each group was treated daily for 21 consecutive days with 1 of 4 treatments: isotonic saline solution, sulfadimethoxine, a probiotic, or essential oil of oregano. Fecal samples were collected during this period and screened for the presence of I. amphiboluri. There was no significant difference in the positive status of the control (P = 0.99), probiotic (P = 0.39), or oregano (P = 0.11) groups over time. There was a significant difference in the positive status of the sulfadimethoxine group over time (P = 0.0001). The results of this study demonstrate that sulfadimethoxine may be used to eliminate or significantly reduce oocyst shedding in a majority of bearded dragons after a 21-day treatment period. Additional testing with other sulfonamides, higher doses of sulfadimethoxine, and/or longer treatment duration with sulfadimethoxine may also prove useful. Because some changes in oocyst numbers were observed in the other 3 treatment groups, it is possible that parasite control through the other treatment modalities tested in this study may also have value.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)213-218
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Exotic Pet Medicine
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 2012


  • Inland bearded dragon
  • Isospora amphiboluri
  • Pogona vitticepts
  • Treatment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • veterinary(all)


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