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  • i need advice

    As a fairly new boa owner i'm concerned about my 7 foot male's health. he was a rescue and is currently suffering from RI. he's thin, and refuses food, even after three months. he was previously used in a research facility until he got too large to handle. please help. after three weeks of antibiotic treatments he is not improving, and the vet says there is no lung distress. what else could make him refuse food for so long? he accepted food before, but for the past three months he has shown no interest at all. he also doesn't appear to be drinking. what do i do!?! ??? any help would be appreciated.

  • #2
    Re: i need advice

    Ok.. Give me more inforamtion actually on the boa and the current/past situation of it.
    What was the research that was being done and what part did the snake play in all of it ?
    What are the husbandry items set at currently ?
    How long have you had the snake ?
    Has the snake eaten at all for you since you have had it ?
    If so, what did it eat, how often/many times, and what type of prey ..ie live, f/t or f/k..and what prey was it..rat/rabbit or what ?
    Has the snake ever been bitten by prey since you had it or prior to such ? Does it have any scars that are from live feeding or can't be explained as to the source for such at all ?
    What are the antibiotic tx's that have been used for the RI to date ?
    What is your EXACT humidity and temps at for the snake right now ?

    . he also doesn't appear to be drinking.
    Just cuz your not seeing it..doesn't mean that he is not drinking actually. Is the snake dehydrated at all ?

    what do i do!?!
    Answer those questions for me and I'll give you information to help the snake and it's issues. ;D

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: i need advice

      Zen was used in a venom effect research facility for three years. they wouldn't tell me exactly what was done to him. he was fed live prey, large rats (7-13 inches). he has no scars that are visible. he has been losing teeth recently. i've had him for almost two years and he has never failed to eat (usually every 12-14 days). he has never appeared thin, though he is starting to show a loosening of skin and you can now feel his ribs at mid-body. i'm really worried about him! :'( the vet has little experience with snakes, he's only treated them for two years, and is still in school for it.
      i can't find a better vet anywhere near where i live. and Zen gets severely stressed in the car.
      he's on a baytril injection every 48 hours. the vet says there is no "bad sounds" in his lungs. he didn't sound very sure. >
      his enclosure temperature is usually around 80 degrees. the RI likely infected him on a night when he was exposed to 32 degree weather for as many as 12 hours. :-/ he escaped his pen and slithered outside, it was snowing! we found him the next day under the deck, he was frozen solid, literally. after slowly raising his body temperature he was lethargic and refused food. a month later he developed this infection. he's on his sixth injection tomorrow for this treatment.
      i was in the hospital for a while and my mother is less then keen about handling the snake. he's hasn't eaten in over three months.
      any advice would be useful... i hope this info will help. :-[

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: i need advice

        UGH.. Ok.. The snake is most likely dehydrated for starters.. So ya really need to get some hydration into him ASAP for one thing. Sounds like he is dehydrated and also with him being on the Baytril.. this is an issue that needs to be addressed. The Baytril can and will cause dehydration to the snake. Basically.In the snake's water bowl place an electrolyte like gatorade, pedilayte or the gerber infant one. Use 100% on this also.. Don't mix it with water at all. Give a water bowl that is too small for soaking in also due to the RI the snake has. Ya really do not want him soaking with the RI thing going on at all.
        Also.. With the skin being like that, the dehydration factor the snake has going on is also most likely one that is severe and the electrolytes should also be tubed into the snake at least twice per day too. Get in touch with your vet and ask for the supplies to do this and also have him show you how to tube the snake. IF the vet has no clue how to tube a snake.. Get in touch with me and I'll go over it with you np. Just get the supplies for it though anyways if vet is clueless on this. 7' boa..I would say to tube about 50cc at a time also into the snake.

        The snake with the weight loss among other things you have said also seems to be one that is malnourished now too. So you need to tube some nutrients into the snake as well. Just use the same supplies as the hydration tubing for this also. Here's a kix that we use on rescue/rehabs that come here that need nutrient supplementation tubed into them....
        1 raw egg
        4 oz plain yogurt
        8 oz electrolyte
        4 oz pediasure

        Just tube 50cc of this mix once per day. Wait and see if that makes a difference in him at all. Take it from there as to whether or not to upgrade to two times per day also. Refrigerate the remaining mix and also warm it up a bit prior to using it for next tubing.
        Basically...tube once for hydration, then tube for nutrients, then a third tubing for hydration purpose each day to start.

        Question for ya.. Has the vet done any types of cultures on the snake at all yet ? two types are really needed at this point for the snake....
        1. fecal
        2. mouth swipe

        Tell the vet to look for any microbial in the mouth one and also that he is looking for any type of parasites also...especially worms of any types. If the snake is positive for worms..then tell him that you need the snake placed on panacur most likely too. UGH

        The tooth loss could be due to malnutrition or something else possibly. Check the snake's mouth and make sure that there is no infection going on at all.. any cheesy type substance and/or anything that looks out of the normal is what you are looking for basically. If present , then the snake has MR and that is the cause of the tooth loss. It also would need to be treated for MR if this is the case. Let me know what you find.

        If the lungs sound well, then just what is the RI dx being based upon actually ?

        Keep the snake on it's Baytril for now also.

        UMM.. The temps are at 80 degrees where exactly in the cage ?

        Is that across the range or is there a temp gradient for the snake at all?

        You need to raise the temps or the snake will never kick that RI at all. Take the temps up to 90 degrees fahrenheit on the warm side and don't let them go below 84 on the cooler side at all. Also the humidity needs to be lowered too. Basically keep it at like 45%. Snake's can not cough and the humidity present will just cause the snake complications in getting rid of this RI and possibly cause it to drown in mucous if it breaks up too fast on him. With a snake you basically want to dry up the mucous in the lung from the RI, not loosen it up as they have no way to expel it from the lung at all ue to their anatomy.

        The snake was fed live while in research or you also feed live as well ? If feeding live, then ya really need to change this for the snake's health and well being.. BUT that can be done after the health issues are addressed that the snake has at this time. Take a look at this page for live feeding info also please...
        http://www.koalaskritters.net/livefeeding.html
        That's one of my pages on my site .

        Hope that helps ya out somne with your snake. Anything else ..just ask away.

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: i need advice

          OH and where are you located also ?

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: i need advice

            HI,
            I hope you are seeing some improvement in your snake, that LOri has the rescue care to the letter, she should coach your vet..
             I was wondering about your cage temps heat sources cool side temps and cage humidty Lori Mentioned this in her post its real important for feeding response . This will cover all bases ..
              Good luck with the boa',, the teeth falling out sort of worries me it sounds like he's really physically malnurished..Maybe LOri,s on to something with the parasites.. some are hard to detect  with fecal samples..
            psps see if there's a  reptile vet within a resonable distance of your home. below is a vet listing for reptiles
            [ftp]http://www.herpvetconnection.com/[/ftp]

            ps i Had an argentine boa that was acting like your snake my vet did a fecal wash and didn't recover any eggs but decided to give the worming med with the food and lytes VIA stomach tube she was fed live by her previous owners jeeze thats bad..I converted her to thawed asap,, and within weeks of worming she was hunting again..she doubled her weight in a few  months.
               doug

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: i need advice

              Zen has a temperature grade thats too low. i know that. my house is always cold cause of poor ventilation and his cage is an open air cage (wood and wire). its what he came in. i don't have the money for a glass one yet. with his heat lamp and terfus heater his warm zone is right around 80-85 degrees, his cold zone is only about 75. i can't get him any warmer. you said the baytril could be cuasing him to dehydrate? i'm gonna have to contact my vet on that one. he didn't say it would do that. i've never had a sick snake before. injured yes, but never sick. i usually rescue and rahabilitate injured wilds. i've never had a large tropical snake before. i researched, he's turning out to be a real challenge compared to smaller temperate species.
              how can i accurately check the snake's temperature? is his temperature to the touch an accurate measure? the vet said it was ok for him to be luke-warm to the touch, but never chilly or cold. i already knew that. but his internal temp is what i'm worried about.
              i soaked him last night, he appeared to be drinking a great deal during the soak. and i saw bubbles coming from his nostrils. this hasn't been possible for a while. perhaps he is starting to break out of the RI? he has repeatedly shown signs of hunger, but every time i offer him the food, he won't take it. no interest at all. perhaps i should try a a smaller prey item? the problem is he won't touch anything smaller than a large rat. he has never showed interest in anything small.
              i don't know what to do! ???
              i have tubed a wild snake before, but none of them were as large as Zen. he's extremely strong and can be tempermental. i'm unsure if i could tube him alone. is that the only way to get nourishment into him? could i use small cubes of meat like i do when i force feed my wilds?
              i live in maryland, US.

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: i need advice

                my house is always cold cause of poor ventilation and his cage is an open air cage (wood and wire).
                Ok.. first thing here. You are NOT going to be able to rehab this snake healthwise at all if you do not do anything about this "issue" at all. In the interum until you can find the funding to build a better suited cage..just do this..
                Get a large tote , these are relatively inexpensive btw..usually about $12 for a HUGE one from somewhere like Wal-Mart. Drill holes in it for air supply. Just place newspaper on the bottom for substrate. Use something like a human heating pad set on medium for the heat. That you can just place underneath the tote and it will keep a good heating temp for the snake np. this is a much better set up for the snake than what you have it currently in also. Without changes to the caging set up..this snake is not going to do well at all..IMO.

                you said the baytril could be cuasing him to dehydrate?
                The antibiotics used for the snakes all have this factoring to them. Baytril is the one that carries less of a chance to cause dehydration. The Amakacin is the one that causes dehydration in more depth to snakes from what I understand of the two. Your snake needs the anti-biotic for the RI. So do NOT go looking to alleviate the anti med from the snake's tx regime either. You just have to make sure that you address the dehydration factor concurrently with the RI one is all.

                how can i accurately check the snake's temperature?
                Dunno.. We just need to be checking the snake's environmental temperature and as long as we have that set correctly and the snake thermoregulates itself etc. All is fine from my standpoint and my snake's also.

                ? the vet said it was ok for him to be luke-warm to the touch, but never chilly or cold.
                The snake should NOT be cold or chilly to the touch is right. The snake should be basically warm feeling to the touch like your vet said.

                he has repeatedly shown signs of hunger, but every time i offer him the food, he won't take it. no interest at all. perhaps i should try a a smaller prey item? the problem is he won't touch anything smaller than a large rat. he has never showed interest in anything small.
                Ok.. What exactly are you offering for prey to the snake ? IMO.. You'd be wasting your time most likely in offering the snake that you know he will not touch at all for feeding. try offering a dead prey item to him and leave it in with him overnite even. he might take it that way possibly. Especially where he has shown an interest in feeding.

                could i use small cubes of meat like i do when i force feed my wilds?
                UMM.. I would say no.


                . he's extremely strong and can be tempermental. i'm unsure if i could tube him alone.
                I wouldn't attempt to tube a large snake like this alone myself either. I have assists for tubing smaller snakes here even..like 3'ers..So wouldn't even attempt such with a much larger one at all either. Shoot me off an email and let me know exactly where in maryland you are. I might have someone who also does rescue etc with snakes that is near you and could help maybe with tubing the snake possibly. I can check and ask him np for ya and then connect the two of you to set up if it is possible. Maryland is a state that ya both could be at opposite ends of the state and that would be too great a distance maybe for getting together for this. My email is
                [email protected] , among others , but use that one to contact me through.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: i need advice

                  Zen was tubed on Wednesday. He didn't like it, but we were successful. He recieved a solution prepared by the vet, cinsisting of raw eggs, ensure, and an electrolyte-mineral solution. He's starting to perk up. He's not as dehydrated as we thought, just hungry. now he's started a shed cycle, bad news for the vet and the injection schedule. He get absolutely dangerous when clouded. I've never handled him while he was in cycle, he's too snappy. But now he needs to be transported while clouded. Any advice on protecting me and the vet from strikes? I just wear gloves and a long sleeve shirt, that and keep his head away from my face. He tends to aim for the neck and face. He does appear better, still thin, but better. I took your advice and bought a huge rubbermaid container, punched a few holes in it and set a heating pad in it, he loves it in there. the temperature probably a good 85 degrees. 90 at the warmest spot. we're planning on tubing him again today, my vet and I figured a solution to his struggling; and eight foot piece of straight pvc piping and a plug on on end. he can't writhe enough to effect anything because of the diameter of the pipe. its makes things simpler and causes less stress than trying to grip him and restrain him. and he won't move forward once the tube is in. thanks for your help, he really does look and act better. i'll continue to stay in touch.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: i need advice

                    oh, and i meant should i try and force feed Zen when i mentioned the cubes of meat. anyway, he's being tubed nourishment now. :P

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: i need advice

                      He recieved a solution prepared by the vet, cinsisting of raw eggs, ensure, and an electrolyte-mineral solution.
                      UMM.. Basically what I always have said to use on them when trying to tube for nutrition ;D Only thing missing really is the yogurt. BTW.. Here's why we add it to the mix for the snakes that get tubed.. The yogurt helps to provide a "culture medium" for the snake's gut. A snake can have problems with digestion or the digestive tracking.. From a minute thing on up through a regurge isuue ..Which that in itself could throw a snake into a dehydration for one thing. Sort of defeats what your trying to do ya know if something like this were to happen.
                      When a snake digets it's meal.. it utilizes what is refered to as the "gut flora" aka microbial type thing which resides in the gut of the snake. One of the reasons that we always say to not feed a snake too soon from last feeding...IS that the snake's gut flora needs to replenish itself AFTER digesting it's meal. THIS is why it is an important item to have mixed in when tubing the snake. So ask the vet to add it to the mix also next time. Or just bring some along for adding even. Plain yogurt works fine for this btw.. No need for flavored ones at all hehe.

                      He's starting to perk up.
                      UH ..YUP.. That's one of the things that doing this will do for them ;D

                      Any advice on protecting me and the vet from strikes? I just wear gloves and a long sleeve shirt, that and keep his head away from my face
                      Well ..he'll REALLY hate you for it..BUT safety is first ya know. A good strike..in the face..from this size snake is NOT a good thing to be happening at all. Wear the gloves, long sleeves also..AND also hold the snake right behind the head area..basically what most refer to as the "neck". get a good grip on the snake like this while making sure that the rest of the body is also supported somehow too. The snake is NOT going to like it at all. BUT as long as you have a good grip on him.. he shouldn't be able to get any strikes in at all either. Have others help out if needed also in "restraining" him also. Sometimes it takes a few people to handle a large snake like this that is "spasdic" . lol. Use a hook, if ya got one.. for getting a handle on him from his tote also. If you don't have one yet.. you really need to look into getting one when keeping a large boid.

                      my vet and I figured a solution to his struggling; and eight foot piece of straight pvc piping and a plug on on end. he can't writhe enough to effect anything because of the diameter of the pipe. its makes things simpler and causes less stress than trying to grip him and restrain him.
                      A restraining tube hehe. They can work wonders with some snakes lol. People that deal with vens use them quite a bit in fact.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: i need advice

                        Hey,
                        I saw this on animal planet they was milking them really grumpy vipers.,,,and I never thought to use it for injections... Dang nab it I could put a couple opening for that snake at the perfect site and zipty do dah he's been jabbed.. I wrestled a 3 foot Bp once and they can be extremly strong when it hurts never tried to bite though made some bad smells and squirmed like a two year old getting a shot...  trust me humans are the worst..
                         i like this tube idea a lot . :
                          doug
                        hey if your going to go to all this trouble to save this grumpy boa you should check out that boaphile cages you could even use your heat pad with one of them..He will calm down after everything gets better for him,
                        doug

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