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Old 02-16-2007, 09:43 AM
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Sick ball python!

I just got back from the vet's, and he doesn't really know what's wrong with our new rescue ball python. He sent away some samples, so hopefully we'll know a little bit more tomorrow, but in the meantime, I'm just sick with worry!
I got him off craigslist, and I knew just from the add that he wasn't doing well. I *HAD* to rescue him. The girl who had him before me apparently bought him at a show, and was FORCE FEEDING HIM. She acted like nothing at all was wrong with him in our email conversations, and when I picked him up, she just said "Oh, he doesn't look well because he's going to shed soon!" Apparently the reason she didn't want him anymore was because she has two adult ball pythons she wants to breed, and he just wasn't getting big enough fast enough.
I tracked her down on another forum after my vet said he recognized her name (in an extremely negative way!) and she has MORE snakes, and thinks of herself as a breeder.
This is Tigger, and his incredibly sick-looking belly, as best as I could pick it up with the camera... This doesn't really do it justice, though:
with flash:

no flash:

and a really bad patch near his vent, which I couldn't get a good shot of:

It's obviously some sort of infection, and he's pretty stuck in shed. What would you guys do? I've got his cage at 90, and he does still have a cool end at about 80, but he's pretty much just sitting on the heating pad, listlessly. He's on newspaper, and quarantined in another room from the rest of the snakes, obviously.
Has anybody else here ever seen belly infections like this before? Did the snakes come through alright? Is there anything I'm not doing that I should be? Should I soak him, or would that be bad since I don't know what's wrong yet? Would it stress him out too much? Ick, I hate feeling so helpless!
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Old 02-16-2007, 01:56 PM
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I wish I had some answers for you. I think it's great that you rescued him. I'm thinking bacterial infection. I hope your vet comes through soon. If not, you need to find another one. Someone here probably has some answers for you. Good luck.
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Old 02-16-2007, 02:05 PM
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Old 02-16-2007, 02:20 PM
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That looks like some serious scalerot, and pretty much the worst I've seen, too.

We need to know the name of this person so that she can be avoided by others in the future; or possibly reported. How old do you think this girl was?

Ulcerative Dermatitis (Scale Rot)

Symptoms: Discolored (pink, red, or brown) ventral scales, Chipped Ventral scales. Usually only 1 to 3 scales are infected but often
breaks out in multiple areas. Sometimes it effects only part of the infected scales.

Causes: The most common cause of Scale rot is one that can not be easily forseen therefore not easily avoided. Infections often start from within the animal and work their way out to the skin. This is what is known as a secondary infection. The primary other infection that has your animals immuno system broken down needs to be quickly identified and treated. Chances are, when it's cleared up and the immuno system kicks back in, between the natural immunities working again and whatever antiboitics you were treating the other infection with, it will go away too. The most common husbandry cause that CAN be avoided however is bacteria grown in dried urates left in the cage, especially in the basking area. When a snake lays in this to bask, the combination of heat and the bacteria found in feces and urates can become very dangerous. Another cause is overexposure to damp substrate or oversoaking in dirty water. Snakes with mites will soak for extended periods to drown them. This will sometimes cause scale rot. Ball and blood pythons seem to be the most susceptible of the boids but any reptile can have this condition.

What to do: Neosporin, Polysporin, or any Triple antibiotic ointment that does not incorporate Lidocaine or any pain medicine is very effective in clearing this up. Remove all substrate and clean or keep the infected snake in a secure plastic storage container with air holes and a water bowl large enough to drink from but too small to soak in while treating. It is normal for no apparent improvement to be noticed until the next shed. But, any skin irritation such as this will cause a snake to go into a shed cycle, sometimes even back to back sheds until it all clears up. Keep rubbing Neosporin on the bad scales twice a day and make sure the snake is clean and dry. Or...if you can get it, SILVER SULFADIAZINE aka Silvadene cream is the best broad spectrum anibiotic ointment on the market but it requires a prescription. Being allowed to burrow or crawl through any substrate at this time is a bad idea. There is no way any Neosporin or whatever will remain on the snake's belly and there is no way to keep it clean. This is why it is important to place the animal in a substrate free enclosure during treatment. If at any time redness spreads out over a larger area than where the infected scales are or if any puss oozes from the wounds, or it continues to get worse, a trip to the vet will be necessary. At this point the infection could very well become septic. Septicemia (blood poisoning) will quickly spread to multiple vital organs and kill the animal in as little as six weeks so a series of antibiotic injections will be needed.

Last edited by Adrya_Webb; 02-16-2007 at 02:23 PM.
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Old 02-16-2007, 03:49 PM
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Poor little guy. I hope you can help him. Best of luck.
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Old 02-16-2007, 05:09 PM
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I see you have already got excellent advice from others here. Use the silvasulfadiazene or just neosporin, and keep him clean and warm.

Good luck - and good on you for rescuing him!
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Old 02-16-2007, 07:17 PM
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[QUOTE=Adrya_Webb;360956]That looks like some serious scalerot, and pretty much the worst I've seen, too.
We need to know the name of this person so that she can be avoided by others in the future; or possibly reported. How old do you think this girl was?

Her name is Brittany Shomber, and I could only find her on one reptile forum on the WHOLE internet, which was Alex Hue Reptile Forums. I joined just so I could view her private profile, and apparently her collection includes 2 ball pythons, 1 redtail boa, 1 brazilain rainbow, 1 amazon tree boa, 1 reticulated python, 1 california kingsnake, 1 rough green snake.

She seemed young, but I'm a HORRIBLE judge of age. I thought she was like 16, 17, but my vet seemed to think that she was about 18ish. He said that she NEVER used him as a vet, but he'd heard of her, and unfavorably to boot. He called her a "Breeder Wannabe".

Thank you so much for the advice! Do you have any idea where I could get the silver stuff you mentioned? I know I used it for my iguana when we first rescued her, but it was just given to me, so I never had to go track it down.
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Old 02-16-2007, 11:39 PM
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I'm surprised nobody's reported her by now... I sure as heck would.

Honestly I don't know where you can get the Silvadene cream; but perhaps you could search on Google to see if you can find a website that sells it. If no luck, Neosporin is your next best bet.
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Old 02-17-2007, 02:40 AM
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Silvadene is by prescription only. You should be able to get some from the vet that's treating her. It's terrific on any injury especially burns and skin abrasions/infections. Hope she improves for you poor thing!
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Old 02-21-2007, 08:44 AM
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Thought I'd post an update!

Tigger's tummy has lost its ashen color and is now a lovely white. The bad spots are still there, but have noticeably diminished, and he's SUPER active, exploring his cage at night, and drinking a little here and there.

He even ate today! It was a very tiny "sorry you've been sick!" kind of meal, just a little f/t hopper mouse, but he hunted it for a good fifteen minutes, struck and "killed" it, and then sat bolt upright and chugged it like a little champ. We're going back to the vet this week to get the results of the swabs they took and get a refill on his meds, but I'd say he's on the mend!
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Old 03-15-2007, 08:40 PM
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Before everyone starts judging me can I at least say something. This ball python was sold knowing that he WAS NOT HEALTHY and so I sold him at a lower price. He was sold because I was going to be gone for little bit and although I have someone who is willing to take care of my healthy snakes I did not want to leave them with a sick one.
Yes I did force feed him a couple times because when I bought him he was sick, a total of 35g and covered in scale rot. I started out with fluids and moved to assist feeding a while later (after I talked to a vet and the local herp society). When I gave him to you he was eating in his own. I do not know what vet you talked to. There was one in north seattle that I used for one snake, a rescued boa with chemical lung burns that I got from PNHS (contact them, they will tell you). After that one snake I switched vets because I found one close (I have paperwork if you want to see). Anyway, under my care this guy gained weight and the scale rot went down. I did say he was going to shed, as you can see in her pics, but I did not say that would make all the problems go away.
I do have other animals and they are all in good health. I have never bred. I really dont know what else to say. I am surprised about this. Allysen I wish you would have just emailed me so we could talk this out. If you really thought I was such a bad keeper why didnt you do something instead of bashing me here? If possible I would really like to talk to you. Im sorry I joined the forums like this and I do hope he is doing better.
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Old 03-15-2007, 08:46 PM
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I also would like to say I am on multiple reptile forums. Look for the username aalomon and you will find me (constrictors.com, kingsnake.com...). Probably the reason that you could not find me is Shomber is the name from my mothers side of the family (parents are divorced) and I switch between using that name and my fathers last name (which I am not revealing after you said how much time you spent looking for my when you had my name, email and phone number).
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Old 03-15-2007, 09:39 PM
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Isn't it kind of irresponsible to sell an animal that is unhealthy? And if you knew it was scale rot why did you not tell the new owner? It would seem that if you were treating it for scale rot you would have told her what to do/what was wrong, and possibly given her the remaining prescriptions that you had been using on the BP. She should have never had to go to the vet to find out what was wrong, as you said you knew already what the problem was. If you were NOT treating the scale rot but KNEW that it was scale rot, then you WERE being neglectful and it was a rescue.

I understand that with every conflict there are 3 sides of the story, Side A, Side B, and the truth. However she did not know it was scale rot without making inquires, and you admitted that you knew the snake had scale rot, so obviously a breakdown in communication occured
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Old 03-15-2007, 10:17 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aalomon View Post
Before everyone starts judging me can I at least say something. This ball python was sold knowing that he WAS NOT HEALTHY and so I sold him at a lower price. He was sold because I was going to be gone for little bit and although I have someone who is willing to take care of my healthy snakes I did not want to leave them with a sick one.
Yes I did force feed him a couple times because when I bought him he was sick, a total of 35g and covered in scale rot. I started out with fluids and moved to assist feeding a while later (after I talked to a vet and the local herp society). When I gave him to you he was eating in his own. I do not know what vet you talked to. There was one in north seattle that I used for one snake, a rescued boa with chemical lung burns that I got from PNHS (contact them, they will tell you). After that one snake I switched vets because I found one close (I have paperwork if you want to see). Anyway, under my care this guy gained weight and the scale rot went down. I did say he was going to shed, as you can see in her pics, but I did not say that would make all the problems go away.
I do have other animals and they are all in good health. I have never bred. I really dont know what else to say. I am surprised about this. Allysen I wish you would have just emailed me so we could talk this out. If you really thought I was such a bad keeper why didnt you do something instead of bashing me here? If possible I would really like to talk to you. Im sorry I joined the forums like this and I do hope he is doing better.
I am sorry that I did not email you, but I was so incredibly angry. You did not tell me that you bought him sick, and in our email conversations you never ONCE mentioned scale rot. The one picture in the exchange was of his back, not his stomach, and the only problem I believed existed was that he was a problem feeder, and was underweight. When we came to see him, that was when I knew there was something WAY worse going on.

I do have copies of our email exchanges, I would love to know where you pointed out any other illnesses. If I had been just a rabid breeder out for a quick buck, I probably wouldn’t have taken him to the vet immediately, what if you sold him to somebody else off of craigslist? What if I had not responded to the add? If he had not gone to the vet when he did and received daily injections, silvadene cream, and exact temperatures and humidity, he absolutely would have died, very very quickly. He had MULTIPLE infections in dire need ot treatment. He had a VERY bad Staff infection, Morganella, and the worst was Citrobacter.

I think I was the most angry thinking about the other scenarios that could have happened if I hadn’t stumbled across your add that day. This poor animal suffered greatly and would have continued to suffer without immediate treatment. You did not communicate that he needed treatment, or that he had received treatment beyond force-feeding. I asked you several times where you got him, and you just said that you got him at the Hillsboro show, neglecting to mention the part about purchasing him sick. I still would have taken him in knowing that you had purchased him sick, and knowing his full history, I just wish you would have told me!

I did not email you because there were only two situations that were plausible. Either A, you were just ignorant and didn’t realize that he was so ill, or B, you knew full well about his problems and were trying to sell him without disclosing the full situation.

I am very glad to know what really happened now, however, and I do apologize for taking these problems elsewhere, but I really was just looking for advice from the friendly and experienced people here. I definitely apologize for my tone, but those first few nights after we had taken him to the vet, we did not know whether or not he was even going to live. He was given a 50/50 chance, and we’re very very lucky that he did pull through, he is a fighter!

I’m very relieved to hear that your other snakes are healthy! I do believe that this entire situation was pretty much a big misunderstanding, but I do wish you would have given me all this information when we were initially emailing back and forth, however. Despite the circumstances, welcome to the forums, it is a fantastic board with good information, and knowledgeable, caring people.

If you would like to talk, please feel free to send me an email at allysen@comcast.net. I do look forward to hearing from you!
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Old 03-15-2007, 10:23 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by deadliestformula View Post
Isn't it kind of irresponsible to sell an animal that is unhealthy? And if you knew it was scale rot why did you not tell the new owner? It would seem that if you were treating it for scale rot you would have told her what to do/what was wrong, and possibly given her the remaining prescriptions that you had been using on the BP. She should have never had to go to the vet to find out what was wrong, as you said you knew already what the problem was. If you were NOT treating the scale rot but KNEW that it was scale rot, then you WERE being neglectful and it was a rescue.
I understand that with every conflict there are 3 sides of the story, Side A, Side B, and the truth. However she did not know it was scale rot without making inquires, and you admitted that you knew the snake had scale rot, so obviously a breakdown in communication occured
Exactly, if she was aware that there were problems aside from the feeding issue, it was INCREDIBLY irresponsible not to tell me! I knew that something was up, and did know that he was not the healthiest snake (he was underweight, and being assisted-fed) but did not know until I set eyes upon him that he had other problems. I really worry what would have happened if a different sort of person (an irresponsible breeder, somebody who just wanted a different pretty morph of a snake) responded to the add on craigslist instead of me! Without disclosing the full story, somebody with less knowledge would not have known to take the snake to the vet, and might not have known that anything was really wrong with him until it was too late.

I really should have pursued more information through emails after the fact, but I should not have HAD to, either!
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Old 03-15-2007, 10:34 PM
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Huh..... interesting.
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Old 03-15-2007, 10:55 PM
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OMG, That poor BP..... So glad he pulled through, he's a trooper. (Hey, that could be his name! ) But I'm NOT happy with the previsous care... I'll keep it at that.
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Old 03-15-2007, 10:56 PM
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I did mention health problems in the origional ad. Also, because of the price I was selling him from I had multiple people email and I screened looking for someone with expirience. I was selling him because I with my current situation he would get care from someone else. You did hold him, look at him. I assumed since you did know he was not doing well and did not ask to conferm you know (a very bad assumption I now see). I do wonder why you say you knew something was wrong but you never even asked. I always ask before I get an animal, even one that appears healthy. Im not blaming you, but I have never sold a sick animal before and have learned for next time. I was treating this guy and was in contact with my vet. I really dont mind that you were on forums asking for help, I have done that before. I just wish that you had 1 emailed me back and 2 not given out my personal information on the internet.
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Old 03-15-2007, 11:04 PM
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happy hes coming back!
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Old 03-15-2007, 11:22 PM
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Good stuff where did you get that info from? OH HEY...I wrote that lol...plagiarizer!


Just kidding...actually I forgot that was up. It's nice to come to a thread and have already spoken...kinda lol

Quote:
Originally Posted by Adrya_Webb View Post
That looks like some serious scalerot, and pretty much the worst I've seen, too.

We need to know the name of this person so that she can be avoided by others in the future; or possibly reported. How old do you think this girl was?

Ulcerative Dermatitis (Scale Rot)

Symptoms: Discolored (pink, red, or brown) ventral scales, Chipped Ventral scales. Usually only 1 to 3 scales are infected but often
breaks out in multiple areas. Sometimes it effects only part of the infected scales.

Causes: The most common cause of Scale rot is one that can not be easily forseen therefore not easily avoided. Infections often start from within the animal and work their way out to the skin. This is what is known as a secondary infection. The primary other infection that has your animals immuno system broken down needs to be quickly identified and treated. Chances are, when it's cleared up and the immuno system kicks back in, between the natural immunities working again and whatever antiboitics you were treating the other infection with, it will go away too. The most common husbandry cause that CAN be avoided however is bacteria grown in dried urates left in the cage, especially in the basking area. When a snake lays in this to bask, the combination of heat and the bacteria found in feces and urates can become very dangerous. Another cause is overexposure to damp substrate or oversoaking in dirty water. Snakes with mites will soak for extended periods to drown them. This will sometimes cause scale rot. Ball and blood pythons seem to be the most susceptible of the boids but any reptile can have this condition.

What to do: Neosporin, Polysporin, or any Triple antibiotic ointment that does not incorporate Lidocaine or any pain medicine is very effective in clearing this up. Remove all substrate and clean or keep the infected snake in a secure plastic storage container with air holes and a water bowl large enough to drink from but too small to soak in while treating. It is normal for no apparent improvement to be noticed until the next shed. But, any skin irritation such as this will cause a snake to go into a shed cycle, sometimes even back to back sheds until it all clears up. Keep rubbing Neosporin on the bad scales twice a day and make sure the snake is clean and dry. Or...if you can get it, SILVER SULFADIAZINE aka Silvadene cream is the best broad spectrum anibiotic ointment on the market but it requires a prescription. Being allowed to burrow or crawl through any substrate at this time is a bad idea. There is no way any Neosporin or whatever will remain on the snake's belly and there is no way to keep it clean. This is why it is important to place the animal in a substrate free enclosure during treatment. If at any time redness spreads out over a larger area than where the infected scales are or if any puss oozes from the wounds, or it continues to get worse, a trip to the vet will be necessary. At this point the infection could very well become septic. Septicemia (blood poisoning) will quickly spread to multiple vital organs and kill the animal in as little as six weeks so a series of antibiotic injections will be needed.
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