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Thread: RI Question

  1. #1
    Registered User NJ Balls's Avatar
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    RI Question

    I rescued a juvenile (300g) piebald ball python a few months ago. They were giving him away on craigslist because it had a respiratory infection and they didn't want to deal with it. I took him to the vet ASAP and the doctor prescribed a months worth of injectable antibiotics (10 shots). I thought it did the trick but in about two weeks I noticed signs of a RI and back to vet again. I am now on my second month of oral antibiotics (bytril) every other day for the past 6 weeks with two more weeks to go he sounds a little bit better but he definitely still has an infection. I believe he's going to need at least another months worth of antibiotics but maybe more.

    Has anyone else ever had a stubborn RI that took a long time to cure? I take meticulous care of my snakes and have never had a RI before.

    He's still eating normally, shedding in one piece, and is gaining weight each month.

    Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

  2. #2
    Telling it like it is! Deborah's Avatar
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    First you find yourself a new vet the fact that he prescribed oral anti-biotic tells me his knowledge is very limited.

    Treating with injectable anti-biotic is standard however if you treat for a month and you are not using the proper anti-biotics it's pretty much like doing nothing.

    There are different type of RI and they are not treated the same way there are also other things where RI is just one of the symptoms, what was the result of the culture? The vet did a culture right?

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  4. #3
    Registered User NJ Balls's Avatar
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    Re: RI Question

    My heart is dropping into my stomach and I feel sick. I didn't get a culture, I didn't know to ask for one. I would go to a new vet but the one I'm going to is the only one in the area that sees exotics. There is another doctor in the practice that sees exotics, I'll make my next appointment with him.

    Besides the culture is there anything else I should be asking for?

    Is there anything with the husbandry that I should change? The doctor told me to lower his humidity too but now I'm questioning that as well.

    I feel really bad, I've basically been torturing this guy for the past three month and it's going to continue.

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    Do not lower humidity with a snake with an RI; you want to bump up both its heat AND its humidity. Think about when you are congested and take a hot, steamy shower; a lot of the crud in your sinuses and throat breaks up and you can expel it and breathe more easily. The same goes for your snake.

    Interestingly enough my vet doesn't do cultures unless the client specifically asks; he pushes both injected baytril and fortaz instead. His reasoning is that the culture is more expensive than the meds, the vast majority of RI's will respond to one or the other, and people with less valuable snakes won't bring them to the vet if a RI costs $300-350 to treat instead of $150 - they will just let the snake die and get another one.

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    Re: RI Question

    Quote Originally Posted by bcr229 View Post
    Interestingly enough my vet doesn't do cultures unless the client specifically asks; he pushes both injected baytril and fortaz instead. His reasoning is that the culture is more expensive than the meds, the vast majority of RI's will respond to one or the other, and people with less valuable snakes won't bring them to the vet if a RI costs $300-350 to treat instead of $150 - they will just let the snake die and get another one.
    Thatís a shame. For a few reasons - one, because it would be nice to think that animals are worth more to their owners than their purchase price. But also because that sounds like a recipe for transmissible diseases propagating farther before anyone knows whatís happening; and because automatically dosing with antibiotics when you donít know if theyíll help is a great way to breed resistant strains. I get it that not everyone is going to pay for the culture, but it seems like vets should at least encourage it. Surely there are people who would be willing to pay for it, but either donít know to ask or assume that if the vet doesnít mention it first thereís no reason to ask.

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    Re: RI Question

    Quote Originally Posted by bcr229 View Post
    ...
    Interestingly enough my vet doesn't do cultures unless the client specifically asks; he pushes both injected baytril and fortaz instead. His reasoning is that the culture is more expensive than the meds, the vast majority of RI's will respond to one or the other, and people with less valuable snakes won't bring them to the vet if a RI costs $300-350 to treat instead of $150 - they will just let the snake die and get another one.
    In my experience & hearing from others, many if not most vets (that see snakes) approach it this same way. They take their best
    shot at it, but it's not always the right shot, & Coluber42 brings up good points. But to NJ Balls, you took on a lot more than you
    realized...I believe the person who gave the snake away DID realize this was an uphill battle though, possibly resistant, etc.
    Last edited by Bogertophis; 10-01-2018 at 12:19 PM.

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    BPnet Veteran Crowfingers's Avatar
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    Re: RI Question

    Baytril is not usually the best antibiotic for RI infections in snakes - however it is often prescribed as non-specialist vets know that it it "safe" in reptiles, though in birds and mammals it can cause muscle death at the injection site - I would assume this is the case in reptiles too. Usually for RI you would treat with Tazicef (ceftazidime) injections. Usually 1 shot every 48-72 hours for several weeks. You can call the vet back and ask for a culture of the bacteria in the mouth - this will take 5-7 days to come back from the lab, but once the vet has the proper organism they can get you on the proper antibiotics- the cost is worth it if it is a recurring infection.

    Also, oral meds for snakes are difficult - how exactly are you giving them? Squirting it directly in the mouth risks aspiration, most oral meds are either tubed or injected in prey then fed. Just don't want to see you complicate things with bad veterinary advice. Aspirate pneumonia is far harder to treat than RI.

    Bcr is right, keep the temps and humidity up until he kicks the infection. You can even put him in a "hospital" tank - remove substrate and replace with paper towels or something else easy to clean daily to keep his habitat as clean as possible.
    No cage is too large - nature is the best template - a snoot can't be booped too much


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    Registered User NJ Balls's Avatar
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    Re: RI Question

    I'm taking him to a different vet tomorrow to get a culture and switched back to an injectable antibiotic.

    He has been in a hospital tank on paper towels for the past 3 month and I did raise the heat to 95 degrees. Starting today I'm bringing his humidity back up too.

    The vet gave me a small syringe without a needle to squirt the antibiotics into his mouth which I thought was weird for the same reasons you stated but I followed the instructions because I trusted the vet.

    I'll keep you posted and thank you for all your help.

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    Re: RI Question

    Quote Originally Posted by NJ Balls View Post
    I'm taking him to a different vet tomorrow to get a culture and switched back to an injectable antibiotic.

    He has been in a hospital tank on paper towels for the past 3 month and I did raise the heat to 95 degrees. Starting today I'm bringing his humidity back up too.
    Make sure he has a cool side too, should be 82-83*F.

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  17. #10
    Registered User NJ Balls's Avatar
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    Re: RI Question

    Just got back from the vet to have a culture sent out for analysis and I'm waiting for the results. Should be back in 4 or 5 days.

    The vet said the culture results would most likely be skewed because he's been taking the antibiotics for six weeks.

    Vet also said that it's mostly likely developed into a lower respatory injection and moving forward we'll follow a pnemonia treatment protocol which is an extended period of injectable antibiotics. The type of antibiotic is yet to be determined until the culture results come back. In the mean time the vet said to stop the oral medication and raise the humidity in his enclosure which I had already done.

    The new treatment he suggested is saline nebulizer treatments 15 minutes a day. Which isn't a problem because I already have a nebulizer from my son when he was having asthma attacks.

    Are saline nebulizer treatment going to help?

    It's a shame but after the previous advise I've been given I'm now questioning everything.

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