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  1. #1
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    Bumps on snake - any opinion is welcome

    Hello,

    I live in Montenegro so unfortunately we here don't have a single reptile vet - you can checks if you wish... So money is not a problem here, nor laziness, but a real need for any help or suggestions.

    I have a 2 year old male sinaloan milksnake. He eats like crazy, moves around, poops great (5 days after a meal on point), and I feed every 15-20 days a mouse (not full grown). He is around 90 cm now. Otherwise with no issues.
    I noticed about 6 months ago two small lumps on either side of the body, just before cloaca, so almost both siders of cloacal opening. They are exactly the same size and position, soft to the touch, do not move when pressed, they just squish down. Snake does not react like they are painful. No discoloration or similar, and I am sure it is not impaction or poop, because snake does regular poops after every meals that are perfect. I did some soaks to be sure.

    I supposed he was developing fatty lumps so I decreased the meal size. But the lumps are growing. Just now I noticed two more very small lumps on one side, about 3-4 cm towards the body, also on the side of the body - same line as these lumps. And I freaked...
    I keep everything very clean, I feed frozen and have been since I got him as a hatchling. I keep him on aspen, and he has a humid hide. He uses all parts of his enclosure. I am providing some pictures below.
    Any advice is welcomed.
    Thank you.

    Him coiled up and visible lumps on tail:
    https://pasteboard.co/JZiQUnH.jpg

    View from above, two additional lumps are barely visible but look between two two last rings just before the lumps near cloaca.
    They are about a size of a grain right now. Hard to see but there. He might smacked himself somewhere also, because he burrows under his caves:
    https://pasteboard.co/JZiRygd.jpg

    Another view of lumps near tail and at one time two additional lumps on the right side of the picture - 2 last rings before the tail:
    https://pasteboard.co/JZiSwMx.jpg
    https://pasteboard.co/JZiTzO5.jpg
    https://pasteboard.co/JZiTO9l.jpg


    And his enclosure:
    https://pasteboard.co/JZiU0R4.jpg

    Thank you for any help or suggestions.









  2. #2
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    Hi...so sorry that you don't have any sort of herp vet where you are. I was thinking along the same lines as you were...that you might be overfeeding & these are fat deposits (like "saddlebags" on human hips) but from what you posted about his meals (prey given & frequency) you seem to be feeding him just fine. And since you said the lumps are growing even with a cut-back on food, unfortunately it might be some sort of cancer. (I hope not.) You said they're "soft"...might they be fluid filled? Some sort of infection? Or poor circulation?

    No way we can tell you much online, unfortunately. He's a beautiful snake, & only 2 years old- it seems quite unfair for him to have any kind of health issue, but life is just like that sometimes. I'm glad he doesn't seem to be uncomfortable- I hope that continues for a long time. That's a really beautiful home you've made for him too (more vertically-oriented than what is usually provided for milk snakes)- does he do much climbing? If so, how often does he fall? I once knew of a large snake kept by someone that fell from branches repeatedly & ended up dying from gangrene, according to the vet

    Wish I could tell you something to put your mind at ease but just no way to know what's going on, except obviously something isn't right. I've kept a few milk snakes in the past, but never had any issues like this, not in the milk snakes nor in any of the many other kinds of snakes I've kept over many years. .
    Last edited by Bogertophis; 04-27-2021 at 09:41 PM.
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  4. #3
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    Re: Bumps on snake - any opinion is welcome

    Quote Originally Posted by Bogertophis View Post
    Hi...so sorry that you don't have any sort of herp vet where you are. I was thinking along the same lines as you were...that you might be overfeeding & these are fat deposits (like "saddlebags" on human hips) but from what you posted about his meals (prey given & frequency) you seem to be feeding him just fine. And since you said the lumps are growing even with a cut-back on food, unfortunately it might be some sort of cancer. (I hope not.) You said they're "soft"...might they be fluid filled? Some sort of infection? Or poor circulation?

    No way we can tell you much online, unfortunately. He's a beautiful snake, & only 2 years old- it seems quite unfair for him to have any kind of health issue, but life is just like that sometimes. I'm glad he doesn't seem to be uncomfortable- I hope that continues for a long time. That's a really beautiful home you've made for him too (more vertically-oriented than what is usually provided for milk snakes)- does he do much climbing? If so, how often does he fall? I once knew of a large snake kept by someone that fell from branches repeatedly & ended up dying from gangrene, according to the vet

    Wish I could tell you something to put your mind at ease but just no way to know what's going on, except obviously something isn't right. I've kept a few milk snakes in the past, but never had any issues like this, not in the milk snakes nor in any of the many other kinds of snakes I've kept over many years. .
    Thank you so much for your answer and your time.

    As for the enclosure - he loves to climb, this is why I upgraded his enclosure like this. He is usually on one of the shelves and even climbs up faux plants to the top. He has fallen just once, a few months ago and it is due to my error because I didn't put in shelves (it was supposed to be done the next day) and I didn't expect him to manage to climb halfway up and then loose his balance. He fell about 30 cm down half on the branch half on the aspen, and I actually posted here panicking. But he was completely fine. But then after that, and me installing the shelves immediately next morning, never again. There is also bamboo bridge in the back, connecting 2 shelves that is around 5cm wide, so he climbs up the big branch and then uses the bridge to move between shelves. Also the space between shelves and bottom is just a bit longer than half of his body, so even if he decides to go down not using the branches, he can touch the bottom safely and slither down without falling. I also put a thick layer of aspen on the bottom. I have been watching him closely and listening during his night walks but all I can hear is him slowly moving the leaves around.

    The only possible source of injury is him slithering under caves. He is strong enough to lift one of the cave without bottom that is not that heavy. As the aspen bedding is deep, he slithers trough the aspen and then manages to move the cave also, but if anything I would think that two smaller bumps are the cause. The two big ones started slowly and a lot earlier that he could move the cave.

    I was thinking to bring poop to the vet as he can at least look at bacteria and eventually parasites inside. Thake photos, then I can look up on line. And I can do an x-ray. That was my plan if the growth continues, or the two othe lumps don't go away. But anything after that will be just experimentation from the vet side

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    And one more thing. When snakes became available here I really hold on for quite some time because more "sensitive" species came in to pet shops. I told my self it would be best to get a milk snake, or a corn snake, because we don't have reptile vets and then there is less chance something will get wrong. I even really obsessed about what I feed him, temperature, humidity, clean water and bedding. I clean poop the second he makes it... And still, there is an issue. And a snake that was absolutely thriving. I am so sad that he might be in any discomfort or pain.

  6. #5
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    Re: Bumps on snake - any opinion is welcome

    Quote Originally Posted by Rosa View Post
    And one more thing. When snakes became available here I really hold on for quite some time because more "sensitive" species came in to pet shops. I told my self it would be best to get a milk snake, or a corn snake, because we don't have reptile vets and then there is less chance something will get wrong. I even really obsessed about what I feed him, temperature, humidity, clean water and bedding. I clean poop the second he makes it... And still, there is an issue. And a snake that was absolutely thriving. I am so sad that he might be in any discomfort or pain.
    I would have guessed fat deposits too, but based on what you are feeding and schedule, I am not sure that is the case. Having said that, I cannot diagnose from here and I am not a vet anyway.

    Your tank setup looks wonderful and it appears you are taking great care of him.

    Please do not beat yourself up either way or blame yourself. If he is sick, it doesn't sound like it's anything you did wrong. Animals get sick sometimes through no fault of their owners. People get sick sometimes too and it's not because of anything they did or someone else did. Life can be really difficult sometimes.

    I am sorry you are dealing with this and hope he is okay. The fact he is eating and passing waste normally is a good sign. In light of him possibly fighting something, I would go back to a normal feeding schedule of an appropriately sized meal every 7-10 days.

    Hang in there. I, and I am sure others on here, are hoping for the best.

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    Please read my thread:

    https://ball-pythons.net/forums/show...ot-vet-advice)

    Mine was a much older snake, but he too had growths that were soft to the touch close to his cloaca that grew in 3x the size and very aggressively.

    Chances are what you are seeing is similar or it's an infection. Either way, the vet must diagnose and treat this asap. A biopsy is a must and if possible, while it is small, to be surgically removed asap. It may not prevent future bumps from coming back depending on what the cause is, but this requires a more time sensitive and aggressive approach because they are growing, and that is a serious concern.

    In the meantime, do not touch them, it usually makes them grow faster. I would start looking at the quality of life of your snake until it is in the clear. If it is cancerous, those masses will probably give him less than a year to live. But you must find any way you can to take it to the vet to get a biopsy and/or removal. Not doing so will most certainly sentence your snake to death. Drive to another city, call your local zoo, etc.

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    Re: Bumps on snake - any opinion is welcome

    Quote Originally Posted by Cheesenugget View Post
    Please read my thread:

    https://ball-pythons.net/forums/show...ot-vet-advice)

    Mine was a much older snake, but he too had growths that were soft to the touch close to his cloaca that grew in 3x the size and very aggressively.

    Chances are what you are seeing is similar or it's an infection. Either way, the vet must diagnose and treat this asap. A biopsy is a must and if possible, while it is small, to be surgically removed asap. It may not prevent future bumps from coming back depending on what the cause is, but this requires a more time sensitive and aggressive approach because they are growing, and that is a serious concern.

    In the meantime, do not touch them, it usually makes them grow faster. I would start looking at the quality of life of your snake until it is in the clear. If it is cancerous, those masses will probably give him less than a year to live. But you must find any way you can to take it to the vet to get a biopsy and/or removal. Not doing so will most certainly sentence your snake to death. Drive to another city, call your local zoo, etc.

    Hello, thank you for your answer.
    Very sorry about your snake your post is actually what I found on line and was read yesterday. It scared me a lot and was a very sad situation for you.

    I live in Montenegro, we don't have a reptile vet anywhere in country.
    Montenegro is a small country, just 600 000 inhabitants. We are located under Serbia. I live in a city where we actually have a vet that is most promising for treating other animals than cats or dogs, but the thing is that even tests, like cytology you are mentioning, can't be done. Vet can look at the cells under the microscope and that is all. Anesthesia for reptiles is also non existent.
    It is really not a problem of going somewhere or money, it is a problem of just not having the service.
    All they can offer me is - X-ray, not sure how it is called in English but looking of poop sample for bacteria, fungus or parasites, and they have a machine to do blood tests but they never took blood from a snake.
    I am planning to do an x-day and poop test because in your case you found an E.colli infection and parasites. So I hope in such case I would have diagnosis.

    Best wishes

  11. #8
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    Re: Bumps on snake - any opinion is welcome

    Quote Originally Posted by Rosa View Post
    Hello, thank you for your answer.
    Very sorry about your snake your post is actually what I found on line and was read yesterday. It scared me a lot and was a very sad situation for you.

    I live in Montenegro, we don't have a reptile vet anywhere in country.
    Montenegro is a small country, just 600 000 inhabitants. We are located under Serbia. I live in a city where we actually have a vet that is most promising for treating other animals than cats or dogs, but the thing is that even tests, like cytology you are mentioning, can't be done. Vet can look at the cells under the microscope and that is all. Anesthesia for reptiles is also non existent.
    It is really not a problem of going somewhere or money, it is a problem of just not having the service.
    All they can offer me is - X-ray, not sure how it is called in English but looking of poop sample for bacteria, fungus or parasites, and they have a machine to do blood tests but they never took blood from a snake.
    I am planning to do an x-day and poop test because in your case you found an E.colli infection and parasites. So I hope in such case I would have diagnosis.

    Best wishes
    No, we didn't do a fecal on my snake. The first vet wanted to but she was wrong and I refused the fecal. I did give him injections antibiotics because they stick a needle in to see what it is, so the drugs are just something they prescribed in hopes that it was an infection. The second vet properly diagnosed him and confirmed it is not bacterial in nature or an infection without a fecal. What confirmed his diagnosis was an examination and x-ray. It may or may not show much on your x-ray because your snake appear to be in the very early stage. Mine progressed a few more months before I found the 2nd vet. By then, the x-ray showed his tail bone was partially eaten away by the mass, and the mass grew big enough to see it wrapped around the tail.

    Good luck. It's very difficult when this happens to any pet. These types of growths usually have bad prognosis for snakes, due to the proximity of where they grow. But don't give up hope. It could be an infection, who knows? Let's see what the vet finds and go from there. You will know what to do when the vet sticks a needle in the bump. If it's bleeding excessively or white clear liquid is coming out, that is very bad.

    By the way, snakes experience pain differently than us. Mine did not appear to be in pain until the last week of his life. When your snake refuses food, prolapses, getting agitated when you try to touch or pick him up (if he normally is a friendly snake), no longer doing what he would do...those are the signs when humane euthanasia is best if the condition cannot be cured.

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    Re: Bumps on snake - any opinion is welcome

    Quote Originally Posted by Cheesenugget View Post
    No, we didn't do a fecal on my snake. The first vet wanted to but she was wrong and I refused the fecal. I did give him injections antibiotics because they stick a needle in to see what it is, so the drugs are just something they prescribed in hopes that it was an infection. The second vet properly diagnosed him and confirmed it is not bacterial in nature or an infection without a fecal. What confirmed his diagnosis was an examination and x-ray. It may or may not show much on your x-ray because your snake appear to be in the very early stage. Mine progressed a few more months before I found the 2nd vet. By then, the x-ray showed his tail bone was partially eaten away by the mass, and the mass grew big enough to see it wrapped around the tail.

    Good luck. It's very difficult when this happens to any pet. These types of growths usually have bad prognosis for snakes, due to the proximity of where they grow. But don't give up hope. It could be an infection, who knows? Let's see what the vet finds and go from there. You will know what to do when the vet sticks a needle in the bump. If it's bleeding excessively or white clear liquid is coming out, that is very bad.

    By the way, snakes experience pain differently than us. Mine did not appear to be in pain until the last week of his life. When your snake refuses food, prolapses, getting agitated when you try to touch or pick him up (if he normally is a friendly snake), no longer doing what he would do...those are the signs when humane euthanasia is best if the condition cannot be cured.

    I will provide an update on everything no matter how it goes. I hope it will be of some help to other people.
    I just hope he will make it. I will do what ever possible here.

    Thank you for answers.

    I found a post on Redit that looked very similar to situation with my snake. but no update on what happened.

    https://www.reddit.com/r/snakes/comm...s_this_normal/

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    Re: Bumps on snake - any opinion is welcome

    Quote Originally Posted by Rosa View Post
    I will provide an update on everything no matter how it goes. I hope it will be of some help to other people.
    I just hope he will make it. I will do what ever possible here.

    Thank you for answers.

    I found a post on Redit that looked very similar to situation with my snake. but no update on what happened.

    https://www.reddit.com/r/snakes/comm...s_this_normal/

    I send a message to this profile and he replied! Hew told me snake is OK lump was just fat.
    I have some hope now, even thou I will check.

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