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  • [Eyes/Mouth] Broken Jaw

    I wanted to post an update on Silk. We had taken her into the vet and accidently found out why she was interested only in small prey. She had been fasting since October and May had come and still all she wanted was Hurly's small rats. She had fallen in September or so, just about jumped off my shoulder, but after a week everything had seemed fine at the time. But to come to find out, she had broken her jaw. So now we are tube feeding her. After doing most of the research myself with the help of a friend, the vet finally came up with a diet for her. I'm supposed to feed her every two days, because highly processed diet should eliminate quickly. Well, she's in the midst of a shed, and she's holding on to everything in her stomach even though its been over a week. So she's probably still losing tenths of a pound at a time and I don't want to feed her until she eliminates so as to not burst her stomach. But she still seems lively and interested in what's going on around her-although she now likes my son more than me since I'm the one putting the tube down her. Unless she seems like she's given up on life and/or loses lots more weight, we're going to try to not euthanize her. If any one is interested in the diet she's on (blenderizing a rat didn't work very well, even in small pieces), you can contact me. It is still in flux, since its supposed to be adjusted over time depending on how well she does or doesn't do on it. We also found out a 16F catheter works better than a 12F for boas after several trials.

  • #2
    Re: Broken Jaw

    The liquid diet is mostly digestible...unless her stomach/lower body looks bloated, I don't think you have to worry. She is absorbing the liquid too, but without bones & hair from a whole prey item, there's virtually no
    "roughage". She'll likely get over you being the "meanie" once she is healthy again... And no, "blenderized" rodents can be dangerous to feed as there can be tiny bone shards to cause internal injuries. Glad you tried
    a larger catheter, that's a good idea. I so hope she makes a good recovery...it will take some time though. Thanks for the update...I wondered what happened.

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    • #3
      Re: Broken Jaw

      Prayers and happy thoughts to you both that she heals quickly and is back to her old self soon.
      http://berkeleyknebel.wix.com/mississippimorphs

      Photo credit:Eddie Ard .....Banner Credit:Big PaPa Ernest

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      • #4
        Re: Broken Jaw

        Good grief. The vet was the one who recommended blenderizing the rat because it was more "natural" for her. I'm glad it didn't work with or we would have made everything worse. It was your diet I took in and asked her to make up a recipe with, especially since I was using Dyne instead of Nutrical and all it talked about was dogs and goats and pigs. SIlk just shed today and eliminated, so she's going to be fed tonight. I'm just trying to work with her as much as she lets me, the vet's schedule or no. I just don't want her to lose too much more weight. She lost three pounds during her October to May fasting time, which is usual, it's just she can't afford to lose the weight when she's going to lose some due to being on a liquid-like diet now.

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        • #5
          Re: Broken Jaw

          I would still recommend basing the tube-fed diet on Gerber's chicken babyfood: I've used it many times over the years & it's worked extremely well. Some use raw beaten eggs instead,
          but I've not personally tried raw eggs...I've always been concerned about potential salmonella contamination (very common in chicken and eggs both), but I'd use raw eggs long before I'd
          use either Nutrical or Dyne. (see below) Add the recommended dosage of reptile vitamins (for the wt. of your snake), water enough to thin it and a few drops of olive oil. Safe & digestible!

          Just so you know (and you can google the ingredients for yourself), the main ingredients in Nutrical (in order of the most to the least) are CORN SYRUP (!), soybean oil, malt syrup (SUGAR),
          water, fish oil, cane molasses (-MORE SUGAR!)....etc. It's a high calorie, low quality goo with added vitamin/mineral supplements and it doesn't belong in a snake, IMHO.

          I had to look up Dyne & it's not much better: the first ingredient is soybean oil, then sucrose (SUGAR!), nonfat dry milk (-NOT a natural food for a snake, that's for sure!), propylene glycol,
          etc. As with Nutrical, I am concerned that the vitamins/minerals in this formula are WAY too much for a snake, or very possibly some of the wrong things altogether. In Dyne, the non-fat
          dry milk may be great for puppies & goats & other animals they intended this for, but just as with many humans, it may be very poorly digested by a snake. You want her to gain weight, so
          give her what her body can digest...and please, not sugar.

          I'm willing to bet your vet has never actually tried to "blenderize" a rodent. I have...decades ago...and only with pinky-fuzzies but even that didn't work well. And the risks have been known
          for quite some time, either with "blending" or using a "pinkie pump".

          One more thing about this concerns me: I have NEVER tube-fed a snake every 2 days. No matter how careful you are, it's not giving her jaw time to heal, nor is it giving her time to digest
          properly. Just like when a snake regurgitates, we know to wait several weeks so they can replenish their digestive juices....and that when more food is given to a snake when it is still digest-
          ing a recent meal, many will regurgitate, again this is because it disrupts their digestion in progress. A proper tube-feeding is easy to digest...but I wouldn't do this every 2 days: once a week
          would still be A LOT....every 2 weeks would be better both for her jaw & for her 'attitude' (from pain & stress!). Snakes that are getting some nutrition & hydration do NOT easily 'starve'; just
          because she has lost some weight does not mean it's a good idea to tube-feed her every 2 days, again IMHO...I am not a veterinarian, just a snake-keeper of many snakes for about 30 years.
          If you feel better following the advice of someone with a veterinary degree you might get another opinion, even if it's only by phone?

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          • #6
            Re: Broken Jaw

            How long did the vet say it would take for her to heal? Will it heal properly? This is crazy. I hope everything works out well for you.

            Star


            Intelligence is not how much you know, but knowing how to put the knowledge you have to use!

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            • #7
              Re: Broken Jaw

              Have you considered reaching out to the folks at Repti-Links, to see if they can make some thin enough to fit down the tube? That would give your boa a much more natural diet and you wouldn't have to feed her nearly as often.

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              • #8
                Re: Broken Jaw

                I'm using two jars of chicken baby food per batch and found some no-sodium chicken broth to thin it without resorting to water which doesn't have much nutrients. The Dyne is only two teaspoonfuls per batch; the vitamin supplement is one and a half teaspoonfuls. We're using olive oil, both in the batch and to lube the catheter. So far Silk has avoided bloating because I keep the tube full when inserting it. I was worried this afternoon, however, because the underside of her jaw seemed "pouchy", possibly from irritation from the tube or... I'm going to try a 16F catheter next feeding to see if it helps while still allowing food down her unimpeded. I don't know who to consult. The only other vet is 45 miles away by bus in Apple Valley and its $75 to get in the door. They don't do phone consults at all. The first thing they'd want is X-rays at two hundred. I know because I called already. I'm real short of cash right now because I work for the school district and school is out in four more days. Every penny I have is going to pay the bills over summer right now. And I have a broken tooth needing fixing on top of everything. That is why I'm trying to wing it as much as possible, using Silk as a guide more than this vet. If Silk's throat is irritated from the tube like I think it is, I'm not going to try feeding her until the swelling subsides. And, like I said, try using that smaller catheter. I've never heard of Repti-links but I'm going to search them out when I get off here and see what they're about. (Thanks for that referral by the way.)

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: Broken Jaw

                  Okay, the swelling is from her getting too much fluids so it's causing her chin to be puffy. Her throat doesn't seem to be irritated, which is good because I can't get the baby food through the 16F catheter. Also, it seems that baby foods swell when soaked in liquids like chicken broth so I have to make a fresh batch every time I fed her or the 18F catheter clogs up badly. Her jaw is a problem. Every time we feed her we break it again? She tries so hard to dislocate her jaw to remove the. tube it seems like it gets broken again. The vet said it would take 6 months to a year of being undisturbed to heal. We are going to try Repti-links even though they are vey expensive--5 mediums for $20. We're just waiting get some money to buy them. Maybe if we blenderize them with broth...

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                  • #10
                    Re: Broken Jaw

                    Originally posted by marya1962 View Post
                    ....I can't get the baby food through the 16F catheter. Also, it seems that baby foods swell when soaked in liquids like chicken broth so I have to make a fresh batch every time I fed her or the 18F catheter clogs up badly....
                    This makes NO sense to me. Gerber's chicken babyfood (in the little glass jar) is about the consistency of soft paste, right from the jar. When you add a little water, you thin it down to what amounts to a 'thin milkshake'
                    consistency...something you could easily drink thru a straw. This stuff does not "swell"...nor does it thicken. Are you using the wrong product, by any chance? I cannot understand the difficulty you are having. Also,
                    I NEVER said to use chicken broth, but unless there are strange ingredients it shouldn't matter, as long as it has no salt. And I've never needed to use anything bigger than a 12 French catheter, though for a boa,
                    there is nothing wrong with sizing up. The point is, mine never clogged...so I don't know what you're doing but something is very wrong with this picture.

                    What exactly is a 'Repti Link'? Not those manufactured 'sausages' to feed snakes??? Do NOT use anything like that. There is NO way you can "blenderize" something smoother than Gerbers chicken. What is in the
                    "broth" you are using? Please use water...

                    Also, from what you are saying the vet said, her jaw is never going to heal??? "6-12 months of being undisturbed to heal"??? The process of tube-feeding is certainly impeding the healing process...which is why you
                    absolutely must get it right and do it as SELDOM as possible. You started off saying every 2 days? (I think the vet was thinking about pets OTHER than snakes -pets that eat more often?) I'd have fed once or twice
                    & then allowed her to heal. Snakes survive with minimal food, as long as she isn't starved already (& please bear in mind we are not seeing your snake here, even in photos?). Healing her jaw is "job one" right now...
                    otherwise euthanasia may well be the kindest thing you can do, & I'm very sorry to say that.

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                    • #11
                      Re: Broken Jaw

                      Originally posted by marya1962 View Post
                      Okay, the swelling is from her getting too much fluids so it's causing her chin to be puffy....
                      Sorry, I'm not buying that....specific body areas, like the chin, don't swell from "too much fluid"; if her jaw was broken, the swelling is the painful inflammation of the tissues there, trying to heal & getting re-injured
                      each time in this process. You or I would "try so hard to" [fight this procedure] too, as it's painful. Please re-evaluate what you are doing....it surely is not helping. I doubt she is too skinny* to survive 6-12
                      months without eating, but again...we haven't SEEN the snake here...can you post pics? The idea of tube-feeding was to give her some quick nutrition* to work with, not be a regular wrestling match that prevents
                      her from healing. (*with vitamin/mineral supplementation)

                      Again, and without having seen your snake: I'd be inclined to get 1 or 2 tube-feeds (a week apart) in her & then leave her alone for not less than 6 months & probably more. She'd still be drinking water, and you
                      might even try offering some water soluble vitamins into the water now & then, but you'd have to dispose of it much faster than plain water, not let it spoil.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: Broken Jaw

                        I made the repti-links suggestion because as you noted, tube feeding every few days isn't going to give this poor boa any time for her jaw to heal and will just stress her out on top of it.

                        If the folks who make the repti-links can make them thin enough slip easily down the feeding tube, my thought was the OP could feed monthly and the meals would be more substantial than thinned baby food.

                        The problem is even the smallest links won't fit down the tube she's using, which is why I suggested she contact them first to see if they could make something smaller for her, that would fit down the tube. I certainly wouldn't take apart the links and blend them with anything either.

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                        • #13
                          Re: Broken Jaw

                          Originally posted by bcr_229 View Post
                          ....tube feeding every few days isn't going to give this poor boa any time for her jaw to heal and will just stress her out on top of it.

                          If the folks who make the repti-links can make them thin enough slip easily down the feeding tube, my thought was the OP could feed monthly and the meals would be more substantial than thinned baby food.

                          The problem is even the smallest links won't fit down the tube she's using, which is why I suggested she contact them first to see if they could make something smaller for her, that would fit down the tube. I certainly wouldn't take apart the links and blend them with anything either.
                          Thanks for clarifying, but believe it or not, a snake can survive very well on thinned Gerber's chicken babyfood (preferably with reptile vitamin/mineral supplements added); it's more "substantial" than you'd think.
                          Or as noted earlier, some ppl swear by feeding raw beaten eggs....though I cannot personally say I've used that & still worry about possible salmonella. Either way though, the snake needs to rest her broken jaw...
                          it hurts and cannot heal if you keep messing with her. I cannot imagine why your vet told you to feed her so often, except that they are not experienced with snakes?

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                          • #14
                            Re: Broken Jaw

                            I know this is going to sound awful, but I tried for three hours to get photos on here and couldn't do it. It kept saying there was an error somewhere and I couldn't figure it out. Silk weighs 19.9 pounds. She gained 1/10 of a pound. I realize that if we can't get the feeding tube issue straightened out its going to be too stressful for Silk. A clogged tube means taking it out, blasting it clear with water or using another tube, and then re-inserting it. That's what makes her fight it. That's when she starts re-adjusting her jaw and I think re-breaking it then. I am using Gerber chicken baby food, not the dinner type, but the real meat. When it is frozen, microwaved, it somehow expands to where the tube gets clogged with strings of tiny pieces of meat. So I have to make a batch at a time and use it up, not freeze and re-use. I'd like to see Silk around twenty pounds. I wanted to have her weight loss trend reversed. I am probably going to take the $600 and use it on a second opinion, rather than fixing my broken tooth. But that's not going to happen until the third Wednesday of this month. So I'm still going by how Silk is acting rather than what the vet is saying right now as far as how often I feed her. I figure I got a month, of trying everything I can to get her to gain weight, before I admit defeat... I may just let her go for six months or so then and get more X-rays then. I'm trying hard to do the right thing, I just don't know what the right thing is at this time...

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                            • #15
                              Re: Broken Jaw

                              You should NOT be using that type of food...no wonder it's clogging!!! Only use the PUREED type, "Gerbers 2nd foods" I think it's called...there are NO chunks in it ANYwhere, it's real meat, just not pieces!

                              Good Grief! Your snake is suffering!

                              You should NOT be worrying about Silk GAINING weight right now...that's not the issue at all. Her jaw MUST heal...to do that she needs a little food and a LOT of rest. Please get a second opinion...this is NOT
                              the right time to try to make this boa grow.

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