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  1. #1
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    RI won't clear up after several treatments, any advice?

    TL/DR: My ball python has had an RI for months and hasn't cleared up despite antibiotics getting rid of the bacterial infection, what can I do to help her?

    I recently got a 4 year old female ball python (about 6months ago) and a few weeks after we got her we noticed some mucus in her mouth. Fearing the worst me and my partner took her to the vet and they confirmed it was a respiratory infection and we started with antibiotics (injections) and sent a swab off to the lab to be analysed. When the results came back they identified two types of bacteria, one of which was resistant to the type of antibiotic we were using so we switched to one that would be effective on both. After a few weeks of these injections the RI hadn't cleared up at all so we switched to another antibiotic again, that should be effective against both bacteria.

    After a few more weeks of this she seemed to clear up a little bit but there was still mucus and some slight wheezing/popping. We took her back to the vets and took another swab, this time looking for bacterial and fungal infections. While we were waiting for the lab results to come back (5 days) we also started nebulizing her daily with a solution from the vets, saline with some antiseptic dissolved into it.

    The results came back clear, no bacterial or fungal infections it there was still mucus so we continued to nebulize her assuming it was just leftover mucus taking a long time to fully clear up. Well that was about a month ago but she still is mucousy and we've stopped nebulizing her as we didn't notice it making that much of a difference and thought the daily disturbance might be stressing her out (although she seemed fine once she was in the box we nebulised her in).

    Throughout this time she hasn't eaten (we have offered her food but she hasn't taken any of it) and has had one successful shed (although there was a very small spot of blood on her paper substrate after, the skin came off all in one long piece) and is about to have another shed (currently milky). She hasnt really lost any weight (was 1.41kg with the first vet visit, hadnt lost any weight a couple months later and although we havent weighed her since she seems about the same weight).

    We're keeping her in a wooden vivarium with newspaper substrate, she has a warm hide under a ceramic heat lamp (no light and covered by a cage) and a cool hide further down the Viv. The hot end of the Viv is about 31/32C (88F) and the ambient temp is about 27/28C (81F) in the day. During the summer we turned the lamp off at night but it's getting colder where we live so we just turn the lamp down so the hot end is about 26C (78F) and the ambient temp is about 22C (72F). We keep the humidity between 50/60% and all temps are recorded with a temp gun and a digital hygrometer to measure the ambient temp and humidity inside the viv.

    Also whenever we do handle her she seems nice and relaxed, exploratory but not running away, not tense and nice and loose. Although we've kept handling to a minimum for the last few months.

    All of the treatments were as instructed from the vet but we're just wondering if anyone could share any advice on how we can do ally cure the RI/insights as to why it hasn't cleared up by now?

    P.S. just phoned the RSPCA reptile rescue to see if they had any advice and suggested changing the substrate to help increase the humidity and to get a UV bulb, I was under the impresion UV bulbs were pretty unnecessary as BPs are nocturnal and spend all day in their hides.

  2. #2
    BPnet Lifer Zincubus's Avatar
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    Re: RI won't clear up after several treatments, any advice?

    Hi ..
    A few years ago one is my Albino Royals got a RI ..

    A very experienced keeper told me to nebulise a very weak 1:250 solution of F10 daily ..

    It worked a treat after about 5 days ..

    Maybe I got lucky .. that Royal just has 5 baby Albinos last week

    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk Pro

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    PitOnTheProwl (10-20-2019)

  4. #3
    bcr229's Avatar
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    If you were in the US I'd tell you to have the vet send a blood sample to these folks to run a "Boid Panel" (it's an option on the submission form) since your vet hasn't tested for viral infections yet. Perhaps your vet knows of a company offering a similar service in your country.

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    Bogertophis (10-19-2019)

  6. #4
    Registered User Bogertophis's Avatar
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    The thing that jumps out at me is that she's in a wooden vivarium: if the wood is not perfectly sealed, wood can absorb & re-share all sorts of bacteria+ even when
    kept visibly clean. That's one reason I like glass tanks for housing's the best to clean -plastic gets tiny scratches in when wiped, even from paper towels, &
    over time may increasingly trap debris. I do realize that wood is a great insulator & that where you live, you probably need that, but what I'd do is change to a glass
    tank & insulate that...sometimes you can even find a furniture cabinet to modify & contain your tank (you can install it on a slide-out too, for example) or custom-build.

    If it's too cold now where you are to take your snake out for some 10-15 minutes of real sun (at both safe & adequate temperatures), it wouldn't hurt to try the UV, IMO.
    I've seen snake's appetites perk up & subtle but apparent health benefits from such doses of natural sun, yes even for nocturnal snakes. You need all the help you can
    get, dealing with resistant pathogens. Is this your only snake (reptile)? If not, I hope it's quarantined away from all others.

    What also might help is some nutrition to keep her going & help her immune system. It's understandable that she doesn't want to eat right now, & I do not condone
    "assist (force) feeding", but if she was my snake, I'd do a tube-feeding (liquid nutrition) as it's much more gentle for the snake and doesn't teach her to fear her prey.
    If you'd like instructions & more information about this, I'll be happy to PM you my write-up. It's not something you do as frequently as the snake might eat either...
    but it's helped many snakes recover that I've dealt with over many years of keeping many kinds. It is not that hard to do, I promise, & you might also share it with
    your RSPCA Reptile Rescue folks.

    Last edited by Bogertophis; 10-19-2019 at 01:07 PM.
    Many friends in low places...

  7. #5
    in evinco persecutus dr del's Avatar
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    Re: RI won't clear up after several treatments, any advice?

    The fact the vet has done cultures to get the best treatment but you are still seeing symptoms is a worrying sign.

    I wish I knew what to recommend.

    dr del

    7 adult Royals (2.5), 1.0 COS Pastel, 1.0 Enchi, 1.1 Lesser platty Royal python, 1.1 Black pastel Royal python, 0.1 Blue eyed leucistic ( Super lesser), 0.1 Piebald Royal python, 1.0 Sinaloan milk snake 1.0 crested gecko and 1 bad case of ETS. no wife, no surprise.

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    Bogertophis (10-19-2019)

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