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  1. #1
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    Scale rot! Need advice.

    My ball python (3y/o male) has what I assume is a mild case of scale rot, and I would like some advice because this is my first ball python, and while I have had him for 3 years, I have never dealt with scale rot before.


    Tank temps are ~82F hot side and 75F cool side, and it drops to 72F at night. Humidity is 40% right now (lower than usual because I read that I should keep it drier for the scale rot). Heís on paper towels right now and his tank just had a deep clean.


    I started out treating him with Neosporin (no pain reliever) and wanted to wait until he shed to see if the scale rot would clear up. Unfortunately, we are in the middle of his annual winter hunger strike, so he hasnít shed because he isnít eating, and the scale rot has gotten worse.


    Iíve began treating him with a diluted betadine bath for 30 minutes 3 times a week and applying Neosporin almost daily. Is there anything else I should be doing, or a different schedule I should be following? I donít live near a reptile vet, so I would like to avoid a vet trip if possible. I will find a way to get to a vet if necessary, though.


    I also just wanted some reassurance that his condition isnít life threatening. From what I have read online, I am terrified that things are too late already. I donít know how to attach images through the mobile browser, so hereís a google doc with some pictures of his condition:


    https://docs.google.com/document/d/1...pjLLxmD4A/edit


    I also thought I should add, oddly enough, the scale rot seems to have started on his back scales rather than his stomach scales. What could this mean? Iím assuming this isnít normal? Any advice would be appreciated. Thank you!!

  2. #2
    BPnet Veteran BeansTheDerp's Avatar
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    What are you using to measure the temps? And do you have any photos of his setup? If the paper towel is moist then him sitting on it would be the same as wearing a soggy sock for days, it would be a possible cause for this. People here will be able to help I'm sure, just also be on the look out for vet clinics because there is a possibility that you will have to go. Reptifiles has a vetfinder page if you need help finding one in your area.
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  4. #3
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    First off, this may help you find a qualified vet near you: https://members.arav.org/search/custom.asp?id=3661

    I cannot confirm that your snake has scale rot- not from these limited views & online. It usually is on the ventral scales (belly). Other things may cause such marks too- minor abrasions from things in the enclosure, burns from heat applications, or even dirt/debris/substrate stuck under the scales. Your best bet is to have a qualified herp vet look at him.

    Neosporin (without pain relief) is not the first choice- you should avoid using it much as it messes up future sheds (as do any ointments with a petroleum jelly base- as in those made for humans). A better choice is Vetericyn brand, it's a water-based ointment for topical wounds in reptiles. I think some pet stores might carry it, & if not, find it online.

    Bathing your entire snake is unnecessarily stressful for a snake unless their whole body requires treatment. For just some spots, you should be diluting Betadine/aka povidone-iodine & dabbing it on the spots only, with a Q-tip.

    You really need to address the proper temps. for your snake- when a snake is too cool their immune system functions poorly. The "cool side" should be no lower than 77-78*, & the warmest should be just below 90* (many aim for 88-89* F. max) You want to avoid a nighttime drop in warmth: you said it goes down to 72*? so no wonder he's not eating. Your snake has a much better chance of healing & being healthy if he's provided the right temperatures- it's really important that you do this a.s.a.p.
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  6. #4
    BPnet Veteran Homebody's Avatar
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    Re: Scale rot! Need advice.

    Quote Originally Posted by sarahanne View Post
    I also just wanted some reassurance that his condition isn’t life threatening. From what I have read online, I am terrified that things are too late already.
    I don't think that's scale rot. Scale rot comes from keeping your snake in a damp and dirty enclosure. If you aren't, then scale rot's unlikely. Your snake's scales also don't look shriveled like the photos of scale rot I saw online. Even if it is scale rot, it's a mild case. Clean the enclosure (as you have already done), dab a little diluted betadine (povidone-iodine) on it and it should clear up soon.

    Also, I'll agree with Boger that your temps are too low. This forum has an excellent care guide that's worth a read. I know you've been keeping for a couple years, but it's a good idea to look back at care guides every now and again to remind yourself of the basics. Good luck.
    Last edited by Homebody; 02-09-2024 at 10:48 AM.
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