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  1. #1
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    Unhappy Injections for RI - This super sucks for both of us

    Hey guys, I'm having a really hard time emotionally with this injecting my buddy business.

    My pastel bp Morpheus occasionally has been expelling air in a way that I can hear. It's not with every breath, it's almost like he does it on purpose like a sigh or a hiss. There's no mucous on his mouth or nose, He's had this happen before with no other signs of RI twice. Once, in 2015, the vet prescribed antibiotics and told me I'd have to force-feed him. I wasn't into that and he told me there was a new drug that could be effective in 2 doses. He gave him a single shot. He pushed directly through his skin from overhead, which took a great deal of effort on his part. He told me to come back for a second shot if he didn't get better. Knowing what I know now, it's clear that this vet had no clue what he was doing.

    The second time it happened was in February 2019 after my roommate's dumbass friend was vaping inside after I'd already told him that it was absolutely not ok to do so as my snake has had respiratory issues and I didn't want smoke anywhere near him. I came home to find my living room full of vape smoke and Morpheus was doing this breathing thing repeatedly. I took him to the emergency vet immediately at 2am. They told me to get a heat gun and make sure his environment was perfect, and report back. I made sure everything was good, changed his substrate, checked the temps and humidity and brought him into his other tank upstairs away from the smoke, and took him in for another checkup the next week. No signs of infection. It was always a struggle to keep the humidity high in Ottawa and it would often drop to 10% even if I was spraying it every day. I covered all the ventilation holes with plastic wrap and hooked up a humidifier right next to his tank and he seemed fine.

    We've lived in Ottawa for almost 9 years. Last year I moved across the country to Victoria. This September I had him shipped out to join me. He seemed fine at first, and ate right away, but then he stopped eating. He's done this before so I didn't think much of it. He looked hungry but nervous when I offered him the rat, and he's very rarely nervous. He was on Repti-bark with 2 hides and a little climbing thing. The tank is pretty big. Usually I like his space to be more diverse with lots of hiding places, but I'm still waiting for some of his supplies like his log and his fake plants to be shipped out from Ottawa as my roommate has been really busy with work.

    One day he was wandering around and I heard a hiss. That made me nervous. A couple days later, I was in bed and I heard the same thing from his tank. I immediately called my old roommate, told her to ship everything immediately, no more excuses. I bought a thermostat since I knew it would arrive faster from Amazon than from Ottawa either way. Before I hooked the thermostat up, it was close to 40C in his hot cave and around 25C in the cold side during the day. I noticed that he tends to try to escape a lot at night, and once he's out he likes to hang out by the window where it's colder than the rest of the apartment. Humidity was stable from 40% before I sprayed it to 70% after. He shed but it didn't come off well. I got him in the bath and helped him out of his shed, which he really liked. He wouldn't get off me until it was finished and he's usually not one to stay in one place for very long. I thought maybe the hot side was too hot, and he was having to go back and forth between hot and cold too often. I was also worried that he seemed to be craving cold, so maybe it was too hot in general. I set the thermostat to 32C during the day and 25C at night to try to replicate his natural environment. I got a daylight bulb which he really liked and he started sunbathing right away. I also changed his substrate from repti-bark to aspen shavings. He's very active and seemed happy except for his weird nervousness about eating.

    He's very active and often trying to escape, and he doesn't quite get that there's glass there despite being in this tank for 3 months. At one point I noticed something smeared on one of the walls of the tank, like snot. I've never seen this before. The hissing was still happening every couple days. So I took him to the vet right away. I brought his full medical history from the vet visit from 2015, the emergency vet visit from 2019, and the follow-up after. In one of the documents, it noted that he actually made the hissing sound when the vet was there. They said it sounded intentional rather than due to something in his lungs. They didn't think it was an RI. Each time the vets have listened to his breathing, it has seemed normal.

    The vet here checked him over and said he seemed fine. No evidence of mucous in his mouth, no labored breathing. She read through the whole history. She told me to get him a UVB bulb, to increase the humidity, to make sure I clean the tank regularly with dish soap and vinegar, and to put something over the glass so he stops bonking against it. She also prescribed a course of cephazolin to be delivered every 72 hours intramuscularly for 3 weeks. I told her that I was concerned that this might not be an infection, that I really didn't want to inject anything with anything, and that I certainly didn't want to give him medication if it wasn't necessary. She told me that she is very against prescribing antibiotics and "ask anyone, I never prescribe them". She said that in this case, given all the information she had, she thought it was necessary. She certainly seemed to know what she was talking about and at least she knew how to inject him properly so I feel like I should trust her.

    The first was administered by the vet, under a scale, top 1/3 of the body, below the spine, 45 degree angle. I helped hold him down and he struggled but he stayed curious and poking around and exploring afterwards. I told the vet I'm not really cut out for this kind of thing. She said I can either take him to the vet each time for 10 min appointments at a cost of $50 a pop, or just do them myself. If it was just the money I'd get the vet to do them all, but I also don't want to stress him out by taking him there and back 7 times when I could just do it at home. I decided it would be best for him if I suck it up and do it myself. I was already really worried that he was going to stop trusting me. I've spent years bonding with him, staring silently at each other for 15 minutes at a time, hanging out. I really value my relationship with this guy. It's really important to me and everyone comments on how cool we are together. I'm so grateful for him being in my life and trusting me so much.

    I got some window screening to cover the front of his tank so he'd realize it's a solid barrier. That worked pretty well. I bought some dowels for him to climb on to try to make his tank a little better. I bought a little air purifier for the room he's in just in case.

    The second injection I did by myself at home. He didn't even notice the needle going in, but he started squirming hard when I started pushing in the plunger. I got half in, but I didn't want to do it too quickly and he squirmed around enough to make me take the needle out. I had to do a second injection to get the rest in. He let me rub the injection sites afterwards, seemed to appreciate it. He did his hissing thing several times after the injection. He wasn't quite sure what had happened but he went back to normal in a couple minutes and wanted to explore and I put him back in his tank. I prepared a rat for him the next day. I wanted to see if he would eat so that there would be a couple days before his next injection. He did the same thing as before, but this time I left the thawed rat on his placemat and left, which I've never done before. When I went back, the rat was gone.

    Today I had to do the third injection. I think he was still feeling lazy after his meal a couple days before, so I had to take his cave out and pick him up. Usually I prefer to wait until he's moseying around on his own, but it was getting late and I didn't have time to wait. My friend had come by earlier and I had intended to get him to help hold him, but I forgot to thaw the syringe. I thought I had it figured out after the first one so I thought I'd be ok. I got my alcohol swab and needle ready, washed my hands and cleaned the table, got him out, and gave him the shot. Same thing happened as before and I had to do two injections. Same thing as before, he didn't really mind the needle, although he noticed more this time. He really didn't like when I plunged it in. I gave them on the opposite side as before as per the vet's instructions. He stayed on my lap for a while and let me rub the injection sites, but this time he was hiding his face and looked much more scared. I'm really not used to seeing him like that and it was horrible. I put him back in his tank and spoke softly to him for a while. When I put him back he almost jumped out of my hands. Then he stayed in the middle of his tank for a bit. He stuck his head in his cave, then back, he looked at me, came right up to my face, then jumped back. He just looked so confused and scared. Like these things that he had associated with safety were no longer safe and he didn't know what to do. It was absolutely heartbreaking. I put his screen down and he still looked distressed. So I put a sheet over his tank to try to make him feel more secure. He did his hissing thing several times and even as I write this I've heard him do it 3 times from his tank in the other room.

    He's a very curious and friendly snake. Rarely hides his face, just generally super trusting and I just love him so much. It's just killing me to see him so stressed out. I'm so worried that he's scared and hurt and that he won't trust me now and I still have 4 more to go. Hopefully his fake plants and his half log will get here soon and I can make him more comfortable. I'm also going to get the UVB bulb the vet suggested and some more aspen shavings and make a much thicker layer so he can tunnel around a bit and I'd like to get some leaf litter or packing paper to fill his tank a bit more and give him more places to hide. He doesn't seem nervous though and he'll often chill with half of his body outside his cave. I also turned off the nighttime mode on his thermostat for now to keep it at 32C all night. I'm going to do a full tank clean this week and again after the course of antibiotics is done and just make sure I keep my house super clean as well.

    I'm going to make sure someone can be here for the rest of the injections to help me hold him. I'm less nervous now doing it but I'm just so sad. I keep telling him that it's just to make sure he can be healthy and happy and that we're getting there and he'll be ok soon. It's just heartbreaking watching him so twitchy and sad and scared when he's usually so chill and happy and calm. Hearing him hissing from here is scary too but at least it's making me feel like I'm doing the right thing. I just hope that when everything is settled and the antibiotics are through, he's better. He just let out a hell of a squeak. I'm so scared and confused.

    Any tips or support would be appreciated. I'm happy he ate and I think I'm just going to leave him alone as much as possible until his next shot but idk if I should be giving him warm baths as well, or what exactly to do other than what I'm doing. I really hope he's cool with me after as well. I got so lucky getting a snake with such an awesome personality, I'm super shook at having to do this.

    Thanks for reading to anyone that made it this far. I think I needed to get this out more than anything but I also really want to know if I'm doing anything wrong or what else I can do. I looked this up in other threads and I still don't know. Is he going to be ok? Are we going to be cool?

  2. #2
    BPnet Senior Member dakski's Avatar
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    Re: Injections for RI - This super sucks for both of us

    WOW. Okay, I am glad writing that out helped you.

    Bottom line, snakes don't hold grudges and he will be much happier with you healing him then worry about that you gave the injections.

    Keep us posted and feel good that you are doing right by him.

  3. The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to dakski For This Useful Post:

    ballpythonluvr (11-21-2020),Luvyna (11-21-2020)

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