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  1. #1
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    Why did my ball python die?

    My ball python just died right in front of my eyes half an hour ago.

    This is my first snake, i've only been keeping it for 4 months. It is a juvenile, measuring about 2 feet 2 inches. It had just recovered from respiratory infections 1 month ago after treatment from the vet. Its last feeding was 2 weeks ago, then refusing feeding until last night, it took a hopper rat (about the same diameter as its widest part). He has been feeding on thawed hopper rats this size since about 2 mths ago.

    It took the meal as usual without difficulty yesterday. However, when i came back home just now, i smelled something foul smelling. My BP regurgitated its meal after 24 hours, and it appears to be writhing in pain. After about 5 minutes of struggle, it died. I did not handle it at all since the last meal.

    My housing temperature is 28 celcius at cool side and 35 celcius at warm side, i clean and disinfect my tank regularly and change water every day.

    I'm very distressed and I hope to learn from my mistakes. Can anyone tell me where have I done wrong and how should I prevent this from happening again in the future, thanks.
    Last edited by whymengy; 03-24-2012 at 10:28 AM.

  2. #2
    BPnet Veteran rebelrachel13's Avatar
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    I'm very sorry to hear about your snake. I know that it can be very upsetting and frustrating, especially when it happens unexpectedly and quickly and there's nothing you can do.

    The regurgitation itself was probably the cause. Regurges are incredibly stressful to a snake's body and it probably did a lot of damage to your snake's insides. Is there any way you can get a necropsy done?

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  4. #3
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    Re: Why did my ball python die?

    Quote Originally Posted by rebelrachel13 View Post
    I'm very sorry to hear about your snake. I know that it can be very upsetting and frustrating, especially when it happens unexpectedly and quickly and there's nothing you can do.

    The regurgitation itself was probably the cause. Regurges are incredibly stressful to a snake's body and it probably did a lot of damage to your snake's insides. Is there any way you can get a necropsy done?
    I agree with this, especially with just recently dealing with a RI recently. If you do plan on necroing him, do not freeze him. but take him right into a vet in a ziplock bag asap. Sorry for your loss, i have had many through out the years that were just explainable.

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  6. #4
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    Re: Why did my ball python die?

    Quote Originally Posted by rebelrachel13 View Post
    I'm very sorry to hear about your snake. I know that it can be very upsetting and frustrating, especially when it happens unexpectedly and quickly and there's nothing you can do.

    The regurgitation itself was probably the cause. Regurges are incredibly stressful to a snake's body and it probably did a lot of damage to your snake's insides. Is there any way you can get a necropsy done?
    Thank you, I dont think know anyone who is qualified for necropsy in my place, the vet i went to is not a herp vet, but rather a general vet (i'm from malaysia). Don't think i'll be able to get one done as I dont think there's any herp vet from where i'm from.

    Was the meal I gave her too large? But she tolerated it well past 2 mths. Also, there's no change in the housing.

  7. #5
    BPnet Veteran rebelrachel13's Avatar
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    The prey was definitely not too large. You said she ate and swallowed with no difficulty, so I presume the problem came when she tried to digest it and her body just could not tolerate the stress of the digestion process. The body's emergency reaction was to expel the intruding food, but unfortunately, the regurge probably exacerbated the problem.

    To me it sounds like this was not your fault and was not particularly preventable. I would attribute it directly to the regurge, and indirectly to the previous RI.

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  9. #6
    Registered User snake lab's Avatar
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    I dont think the meal itself killed her by itself. Stress from regurge could of contributed but i think the culprit is the resp. The fact your vet isnt a herp vet leads me to think they didnt first do a culture before treatment of the resp. What kind of antibiotics did you give her? Injections? If injections whete were you injecting? Resp can get in deep in the lungs and if its not caught soon into it the infection can be irreversible.
    [IMG][/IMG]

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  11. #7
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    Sorry, that had to be hard to watch

  12. #8
    BPnet Veteran Alexandra V's Avatar
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    I'm so sorry to hear this my condolences.

    The one thing that sprung to mind because you said you're feeding frozen/thawed is that perhaps the rat was still frozen on the inside - that it wasn't thawed all the way through. That would make the snake refuge, and perhaps the frozen prey and the stress from refuge itself was too much for the little guy.
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  14. #9
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    Re: Why did my ball python die?

    Quote Originally Posted by snake lab View Post
    I dont think the meal itself killed her by itself. Stress from regurge could of contributed but i think the culprit is the resp. The fact your vet isnt a herp vet leads me to think they didnt first do a culture before treatment of the resp. What kind of antibiotics did you give her? Injections? If injections whete were you injecting? Resp can get in deep in the lungs and if its not caught soon into it the infection can be irreversible.
    The vet did not do any culture. My pet was handed over to their care for about a week, they say she requires injections. This vet came highly recommended by the pet shop I go to, said the vet was experienced in treating herps. Not sure what antibiotics they gave her though.

  15. #10
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    Re: Why did my ball python die?

    Quote Originally Posted by Alexandra V View Post
    I'm so sorry to hear this my condolences.

    The one thing that sprung to mind because you said you're feeding frozen/thawed is that perhaps the rat was still frozen on the inside - that it wasn't thawed all the way through. That would make the snake refuge, and perhaps the frozen prey and the stress from refuge itself was too much for the little guy.
    I always thaw the rats under the basking lamp for about 20-30 minutes until is is slight warm and also soft when i press the abdomen. So i think the thawing should be okay.

    Thanks for everyone's prompt replies and condolences, really appreciate it.

    Watching my pet die was a really bad experience, I'll take some time off before I can find a new one.

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