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PostSubject: Infections   Wed Feb 06, 2008 8:45 pm

Respiratory infections:

Are common in snakes. They may be associated with septicaemia (body-wide illness, viral infections and mouth rot. Some respiratory illness may be the consequence of stress from poor or inadequate husbandry. Signs include loud respiration, discharge and/or bubbling from the nostrils and/or mouth, coughing and open-mouth breathing. Treatment must be aggressive and at the direction of a veterinarian. A bacterial culture of the windpipe and subsequent antibiotic sensitivity testing should be undertaken to identify the offending bacteria and the appropriate antibiotic(s) to use. The veterinarian may also recommend collecting a blood sample to determine the extent of the disease and to see if there has been serious compromise to internal organs. Antibiotic therapy should be by injection and may need to be long-term, especially in severe and long-standing cases. Inhalation therapy (vaporization or nebulization) is frequently employed as part of treatment.

Eye Infections:

Captive snakes occasionally suffer eye infections. Infections may be superficial or more extensive, involving the entire eye. Superficial infections may result from mild injury to the eye. Superficial infections may also become established below a retained eye cap. Infections of this type must be recognized promptly and treated aggressively to prevent involvement of the entire eye. The retained eye cap must first be removed if at all possible. Infections involving the entire eye may result from trauma to the eye or from septicaemia (body-wide) infection. In the latter case, the bacteria enter the eye by way of the bloodstream. Veterinary help is essential with these cases. Treatment involves use of topical and/or injectable antibiotics. Sometimes, drugs that help to exercises the iris (the colored portion inside the eye) are used to help prevent adhesions inside the eye.

Fungal Infections:

A number of fungal organisms can cause superficial and deeper infections of snakes. Most of these infections involve the skin and respiratory system. Fungal infections of the eyes are most likely to occur in snakes housed in damp, contaminated environments. Ringworm fungi that usually infect people, pets and livestock have also caused skin infections of snakes. Snakes must be housed in scrupulously clean and dry enclosures. The flooring must be easy to clean and should not be of a material that encourages fungal (mold) growth (see section on Housing). A veterinarian must examine Snakes exhibiting problems with their skin and/or eyes as soon as possible. A microbial culture and a skin biopsy may be necessary to obtain a diagnosis. Treatment of fungal diseases involves use of topical and systemic (oral and/or injectable) antifungal agents. Prevention of fungal disease involves correcting underlying problems with husbandry.

Viral infections:

in snakes, as a whole, are generally poorly understood. This is because viruses are extremely difficult to detect and identify. They are equally difficult or impossible to treat. Viral infections result in tumours skin growths in many native snake species. Other viruses can cause digestive, respiratory and nervous system disease among snakes. An example is a recently recognized viral encephalitis affecting pythons and boa constrictors. Afflicted constrictor species exhibit a very gradual deterioration of the brain and eventually die. Most viruses are highly contagious. Hobbyists must be aware of this and quarantine all newly acquired snakes for at least 6-8 weeks. This involves complete isolation of new snakes and careful scrutiny of them during this period for any signs of illness. All newly acquired snakes should be thoroughly examined and evaluated by a veterinarian experienced with snakes.
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PostSubject: Re: Infections   Tue Aug 05, 2008 12:26 am

Internal Parasites
Wild-caught animals are most often afflicted with internal parasites, however they can also be passed on from prey or contact with other infected individuals. Internal parasites may be difficult to detect. Symptoms may include regurgitation, lack of appetite, weight loss, and a generally ill appearance. To diagnose a parasitic infection, take a fresh fecal sample to a vet or vet tech to be examined under a microscope. They will be able to identify the type of parasite, if any, and prescribe a treatment. Over the counter worm treatments for cats and dogs should NOT be used except under advisement by an experienced herp vet.
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