Intestinal Parasites: Small pinworm-like parasites, large strongyle-type worms, and large roundworms can infect captive desert tortoises. Several protozoan (one-celled organisms) parasites (Giardia, Trichomonas) can also cause disease. All can be diagnosed and treated by your veterinarian.
Malaria: A malaria-like blood parasite may be present in more than 90% of an infected tortoise's red blood cells. Appropriate treatment can eliminate this blood parasite.
Myiasis (Maggot Infestation): Fly strike and maggot infestation are very common, especially with wounded tortoises. These animals are virtually defenseless, and flies take advantage of their weakened condition. Any sick or injured tortoise should be housed indoors or otherwise protected from flies within a screened enclosure.
Ticks: Wild or newly acquired desert tortoises may be infested with ticks. These can be carefully removed by an experienced veterinarian.