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  1. #1
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    Elder snakes and masses

    Hey everyone.
    Just wanting to reach out and see what any long term keepers have as far as thoughts go.

    I just found a small mass on my oldest boy.
    The mass seems to be non-mobile, possibly attached to a rib. It doesn't seem to be move with the skin. It's also tougher feeling than I expect an abscess to feel. About the size of a kidney bean
    I'm thinking about heading to a nearly exotic specialist to go an have a look at him and x-rays done. I also have a opossum that should have a recheck there so it may be a multi-pet visit at this point... Probably a sooner than a later appointment now.

    I don't know if the tissue would be easy enough to get a sample of without sedation. He's in good health with a pretty good body tone. He used to be a live only feeder, but has finally gotten back to eating frozen thaw after a long time. So chances of it being some weird rat bite abscess would be small.
    Ball python male
    Age: 23y
    Wt#: 2700g
    I guess what I'm wondering is if anyone else has had experience with cancer on an older noodle. I've seen an article about an iguana being treated at UC Davis... Which would be a DRIVE but possible. I just don't think I would have the funding for it.

    Should I just push for an x-ray and excision? Because if he needs to be sedated for a punch biopsy or excision for sample testing I feel like it would be less stress overall to just remove the whole thing. I'm also unsure on how far I should push on medications. He's a large boy and it's such a small tumor, I expect him to heal up just fine. It's just IF the talk of chemo comes up, I don't know if I should try and fund it or just take a wait and see approach because of his age as well.

    I'm mostly just kind of reeling at this boy getting to this point and the idea of him passing when he looks SO GOOD and he's been through so much with me. I've had brushes with cancer in pet dogs, cats and rats... it's just new territory for me on a reptile and hope I'm looking through the right lenses here. They can be so much harder to read than a mammal and I just want to do what's most right by him I suppose.

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  3. #2
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    I think you're getting ahead of your skis- wait & see what the vet thinks. 23 years is up there in years, but that doesn't mean this isn't treatable. I'm sure you'll make the right decision once you get more information. I hope it's not as serious as you fear & that you have some good options for treating whatever this turns out to be, with hopefully a good outcome for him.
    Rudeness is the weak man's imitation of strength.
    Eric Hoffer (1902 - 1983)

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  5. #3
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    I guess what worries me most is it feels like it's attached to a rib at around the area of the heart.
    He's my first BP and he made the crazy leap from NY to CA life with me...on top of a bunch of other stresses at that time.

    I just wanna be prepared since I've got enough medical stress and possible upcoming things for myself as well @_@;
    Being a projecting mom. Especially after weird mammal health issues over the years.

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  7. #4
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    Re: Elder snakes and masses

    Quote Originally Posted by Armiyana View Post
    I guess what worries me most is it feels like it's attached to a rib at around the area of the heart.
    He's my first BP and he made the crazy leap from NY to CA life with me...on top of a bunch of other stresses at that time.

    I just wanna be prepared since I've got enough medical stress and possible upcoming things for myself as well @_@;
    Being a projecting mom. Especially after weird mammal health issues over the years.
    Honestly, I've lost a snake (a rosy boa) in the past to a mass in the heart area- wasn't a surgical option. It never hurts to be hopeful but still prepare for the worst. And you still have to take care of yourself too- sometimes you can only do so much, so don't beat yourself up if that's the case here. Is he still eating? I assume he's not really symptomatic yet? This could be slow growing, or fast.
    Last edited by Bogertophis; 05-07-2023 at 09:19 PM.
    Rudeness is the weak man's imitation of strength.
    Eric Hoffer (1902 - 1983)

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  9. #5
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    I honestly have no idea on the speed yet. Now that I know I'm definitely going to be keeping an eye on that.

    I've had him out a few times lately and missed it, but it's still so small who knows if I would have even noticed it sooner. It's in the area just above the belly where the flaming between the saddles/markings appear. The only reason I really even found it today was I put a bit more pressure than I usually use on the area because I hadn't realized my cat had snuck in after me
    Thankfully both cat and snake are very well mannered.

    If it had been more along his upper body or especially the belly I would have noticed it sooner I think. It just kind of got lost in that little fold of muscle until now
    Last edited by Armiyana; 05-07-2023 at 09:38 PM.

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    So maybe it's something harmless or slow-growing at least- I'm keeping my fingers crossed for you & your snake. You just don't have much info yet.
    Rudeness is the weak man's imitation of strength.
    Eric Hoffer (1902 - 1983)

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