Vote for BP.Net for the 2013 Forum of the Year! Click here for more info.

» Site Navigation

» Home
 > FAQ

» Online Users: 1,085

0 members and 1,085 guests
No Members online
Most users ever online was 6,337, 01-24-2020 at 04:30 AM.

» Today's Birthdays

None

» Stats

Members: 75,219
Threads: 248,626
Posts: 2,569,283
Top Poster: JLC (31,651)
Welcome to our newest member, Langdon
Page 1 of 3 123 LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 26
  1. #1
    Registered User
    Join Date
    05-08-2024
    Posts
    12
    Thanks
    16
    Thanked 18 Times in 12 Posts

    Exclamation Possibly sick BP, could really use some help figuring out if it's a big deal or not

    Okay, sorry for the very long post, but things have been weird and I'm stressing.

    So I have a beautiful 4 yr old Albino BP named Daisy. I've had him for a little under two years without any issues, up until this past winter. The issues started slowly, but suddenly escalated over this past weekend. Also, I have a second BP named Basira, who's in a similar set up and is the same age.

    I had to move in December, and with it being winter and also having the move, I did not question it too much when Daisy stopped eating as consistently. But then, around mid Feb, his behavior started to change. He started soaking in his water bowl daily. He has never done this before. I looked into various different causes and discovered that apparently in the new apartment, the tanks won't hold heat as well as before, and the temp was dipping too low during cold days. (He did not have mites, and while he did shed, that did not stop the soaking behavior. In fact, he kept shedding. Like... 3 times in one month). So I insulated the tanks more and went back to checking the temp manually (as opposed to relying on the thermostats to tell me when it got to cold, because they did not tell me there was a problem).

    At the time, he didn't look any different, but since the soaking habit didn't seem to be going away, I lowered the humidity some and just kept an eye on him. The tanks still won't get quite as warm as I'd like (can't seem to get them past 85-90), but they aren't dropping below safe levels anymore. Then I just tried leaving him be to see if he just needed extra time to settle. Of note, his tank has not changed at all. Just the room it's in.

    The last successful feed (F/T small rat) was early March. Around mid April, he ate but then regurgitated it up a couple of days later (another thing he's never done before. I also was not handling him at all at this time). He stopped soaking daily around that same time, but still dirties his water way more often then he used to. He has also refused to even touch any food since the regurgitation.

    Then, this past weekend, I went to handle him for the day and realized that he had some scale rot towards the base of his tail. Slightly upsetting, but I thought I caught it early. So I scheduled a vet appointment and went about cleaning the scales once a day while I waited for the appointment, which was today. Now we get into the really messy stuff.

    There's only one vet in my town that will look at snakes, and he admitted before we even started that he wasn't as experienced with them as he could be. Which, fair. It sucks, but fair. I told him all of the above and showed him Daisy's belly. That's when he drops that he thinks its actually Septicemia. (Cue panic) His reasoning was that daisy's belly was very pink, which it is. (I initially discounted the pink belly because Daisy's belly always gets a little pink around shed time. But upon pointing it out, it does look a little different from that sort of pink belly), and also that his eyes were cloudy (once again, not the same as when he's about to shed. His eyes turn kind of pale orange when he's about to shed, but currently his eyes are straight up foggy). I had not noticed the foggy eyes somehow, and I'm really mad at myself for missing that.

    Problem is, that vet doesn't have the tools to do blood work on snakes. If I want to know for sure, I'd have to drive two hours to the nearest mega city for a specialist. I thanked him and left. Called the specialist and set up an appointment for the nearest time I could manage, which is Friday morning. Functionally speaking though, I could go in tonight. It would cost twice as much, and would really mess with my work schedule for tomorrow, which is the only day of the week where I need to be on my game. But like... I love my babies and I will do it if I have to.

    Problem is I don't know if I have to? I tried looking up stuff about Septicemia and realized that it was way scarier than I originally thought. The posts I found (on this forum), mostly showed images of snakes much farther along than Daisy seems to be, but they also were all too late to save them, and like... I panicked. But I know I have a tendency to do so, so I tried to get a second opinion, just on whether or not I needed to go tonight, or if I could wait till Friday. So I reached out to the friend who originally gave me Daisy and Basira, and she told me to call the local "Expert".

    Dennis is not a vet, but he is a BP breeder, and he's been doing it for a long time. The vet did say that he wasn't as experienced with snakes, and with no other options, I figured a breeder with lots of experience would hopefully be able to tell me if this was "Go tonight" bad or just "go when you can" bad.

    According to him though, there is nothing wrong with my snake at all. He didn't even think the scale rot was scale rot, insisting instead that it was just dirt. He said the pink belly and foggy eyes just meant that Daisy needs to shed (ignoring the fact that I insisted this does not look the same as pre-shed belly and eyes stuff), and when I mentioned the feeding issues, he said it was because I was feeding F/T and that I needed to just feed them Live. He (very forcefully) opened Daisy's mouth to check in there and said it all looked good, and then rubbed his eyes to try to prove that the hazy eyes were just old eye caps...

    If it is not apparent yet, I did not really like my interaction with Dennis.

    I can acknowledge that I have a tendency to assume the worst and worry over things that aren't actually that big of a deal. That's why I was willing to ask for a second opinion. And of note, I still intend on bringing Daisy to the vet regardless. I am just still stuck on the issue of "is it dire or not?" So now I'm asking for a third opinion.

    I don't have a very good photo of Daisy's belly, since his encounter with Dennis stressed him out and I didn't want to bother him anymore, but I have these photos if they will help at all.




    So yeah... Any help would be appreciated. Even if it's just reassurance that I am over-reacting to some minor scale rot. It's just... this is all coming after months of steadily increasing worry over slightly strange behaviors.

  2. The Following User Says Thank You to Rai For This Useful Post:

    Homebody (05-09-2024)

  3. #2
    BPnet Senior Member Lord Sorril's Avatar
    Join Date
    03-05-2018
    Location
    Massachusetts - USA
    Posts
    1,471
    Thanks
    629
    Thanked 3,229 Times in 1,107 Posts
    Images: 84

    Re: Possibly sick BP, could really use some help figuring out if it's a big deal or n

    Quote Originally Posted by Rai View Post
    The tanks still won't get quite as warm as I'd like (can't seem to get them past 85-90), but they aren't dropping below safe levels anymore.
    Can you confirm the temps on the enclosure?

    Ambient Temps for Ball Pythons:
    80-85F Comfortable
    86-90F Uncomfortable
    91+F Destructive/Lethal.

    UTH Temps (should only be available in a small section of the enclosure):
    85-88F Comfortable
    89+F Uncomfortable

    If you are pushing 85+ on your temps then your ball python is going to soak constantly in an attempt to try and lower its body temp.

    I would put the bp on paper towels until the discoloration on the belly goes away (scale rot/dirt/or not).

    Note: It looks easily reparable from the photos shown and hardly an emergency or dire situation.
    Last edited by Lord Sorril; 05-08-2024 at 11:06 PM.
    *.* TNTC

  4. The Following 4 Users Say Thank You to Lord Sorril For This Useful Post:

    Armiyana (05-09-2024),Bogertophis (05-08-2024),Homebody (05-09-2024),Rai (05-09-2024)

  5. #3
    Bogertophis's Avatar
    Join Date
    04-28-2018
    Location
    USA
    Posts
    20,369
    Thanks
    28,369
    Thanked 19,964 Times in 11,930 Posts
    Well, first off, frequent shedding is often seen in snakes that are sick or injured...their body is trying to heal.

    You mentioned the temperatures were too low for a while (how low???), & fyi, that causes a snake's immune system to not work very well, making them more likely to get sick from whatever pathogens they've come across.

    A BP that's not eating might be sick; then again, he might be too cold to digest. A snake that throws up their meal might be sick...then again, if they're too cold to digest, they'll throw it up. So exactly what temperatures has he been kept at? Also, once a snake regurgitates their meal (for any reason) you need to wait at least 2 or 3 weeks before feeding them again. Did you do that? Because trying to feed them too soon will also just cause another regurgitation if they haven't been able to replace their digestive enzymes quite yet. It takes time- a couple weeks+.

    You mentioned Daisy kept soaking in his water bowl, but that's also when the tank temperatures were too low. That makes no sense. Snakes soak for many reasons, including dehydration, too warm, mites, illness, burns, internal parasites, shedding (-but not usually unless their humidity has been too low).

    You also said ..."The tanks still won't get quite as warm as I'd like (can't seem to get them past 85-90)". So how warm were you keeping them & what kind of heat? If UTH, the pink belly could very well be a burn. And fyi, we generally recommend that the warmest portion of a BPs home not exceed 90* to avoid them being burned. Some snakes- including BPs- don't seem to know when they're too hot & being injured by excess heat- maybe because they're heavy-bodied & it takes longer for them to really feel the heat enough to react? BTW- I sure hope the heating sources are controlled by a quality thermostat- that's often how snakes get burned. If (?) he has a burn, that's painful & serious too-it takes time to heal, & the snake should be on antibiotic (after being seen by a qualified vet) A snake in pain may not want to eat, so this is another possibility.

    There's no real way for us to tell online what exactly is going on with Daisy's belly scutes- I've seen snakes where substrate gets embedded & looks kinda like that- but what kind of substrate is he on??? Have you tried washing it off? I can also remember someone that was in a panic because some reddish coloration (dye) from the substrate came off on their white snake...


    I've never personally had a snake with septicemia, but yes, it's serious so let's hope it's not that. But I guess that's also a possibility if a vet thought so.
    The scutes don't really look pink in that photo though? And yes, some pinkish color may also indicate a coming shed. (An adult shedding 3 times in a month is a lot & not normal.)

    Much as we have lots of experience & want to help you, we're in no position to diagnose your snake here (nor would it be ethical), but from everything you've said, sooner (to see a qualified vet) is better than later, though I'm not saying it's an emergency either . Remember we're just seeing still photos, not the real snake- a good diagnosis requires a qualified person seeing the actual snake. This might help you find another one:
    https://members.arav.org/search/custom.asp?id=3661

    Do let us know how it goes...I hope you get this figured out & I hope it's nothing serious like septicemia.
    Last edited by Bogertophis; 05-08-2024 at 11:55 PM.
    Rudeness is the weak man's imitation of strength.
    Eric Hoffer (1902 - 1983)

  6. The Following 3 Users Say Thank You to Bogertophis For This Useful Post:

    Armiyana (05-09-2024),Homebody (05-09-2024),Rai (05-09-2024)

  7. #4
    BPnet Veteran Malum Argenteum's Avatar
    Join Date
    12-17-2021
    Location
    Wisconsin
    Posts
    518
    Thanks
    948
    Thanked 1,205 Times in 463 Posts
    Images: 3
    "In fact, he kept shedding. Like... 3 times in one month". The long time breeder ignored this symptom, which seems to me to be the interesting one.

    This is an interesting symptom too: "but still dirties his water way more often then he used to."

    Personally, I would not freak out (it doesn't help), but would go to the vet on Friday and request extensive testing.

    Also, I would get some enclosures that hold heat well. BPs are enough of a challenge without fighting with sub optimal equipment. PVC enclosure, RHP on a quality thermostat (Herpstat) can make a world of difference in avoiding health problems and keeper headaches.

    Good luck, and please keep us posted.

  8. The Following 3 Users Say Thank You to Malum Argenteum For This Useful Post:

    Bogertophis (05-09-2024),Homebody (05-09-2024),Rai (05-09-2024)

  9. #5
    BPnet Veteran Homebody's Avatar
    Join Date
    10-19-2019
    Location
    Jersey City, NJ
    Posts
    1,643
    Thanks
    5,573
    Thanked 2,289 Times in 1,231 Posts
    Images: 22

    Re: Possibly sick BP, could really use some help figuring out if it's a big deal or n

    First, if a vet says that your BP is possibly septic, then you need need get that confirmed and/or treated asap. I don't see how there can be nothing wrong with your BP. You've described a bunch of symptoms that individually would be worrisome. Taken together, they require immediate action. The regurgitation and the frequent shedding are particularly concerning.

    Secondly, I'd like to help you get your BP's set up dialed in. A properly set up enclosure will help your BP heal and prevent future issues. So, what type of enclosure are you using (PVC, wood, glass)(screen top, front opening)? How big is it? What are you using to heat the enclosure? What thermostats do you use? What are the temperature (low to basking) and humidity ranges like in your enclosure, now? How are you measuring them? What type of bedding do you use? How often do you change it? Don't worry if you don't know the answers to all these questions. Just answer them the best that you can. Pics would help a lot. This thread will show you how to post them:https://ball-pythons.net/forums/show...-Post-Pictures.

    I want to finish by saying that I admire the diligence you've shown in addressing these issues. It speaks of someone that really cares. Good luck.
    Last edited by Homebody; 05-09-2024 at 09:33 AM.
    1.0 Normal Children's Python (2022 - present)
    1.0 Normal Ball Python (2019 - 2021)

  10. The Following 3 Users Say Thank You to Homebody For This Useful Post:

    Bogertophis (05-09-2024),Malum Argenteum (05-09-2024),Rai (05-09-2024)

  11. #6
    Registered User
    Join Date
    05-08-2024
    Posts
    12
    Thanks
    16
    Thanked 18 Times in 12 Posts

    Re: Possibly sick BP, could really use some help figuring out if it's a big deal or n

    Quote Originally Posted by Lord Sorril View Post
    Can you confirm the temps on the enclosure?

    Ambient Temps for Ball Pythons:
    80-85F Comfortable
    86-90F Uncomfortable
    91+F Destructive/Lethal.

    UTH Temps (should only be available in a small section of the enclosure):
    85-88F Comfortable
    89+F Uncomfortable

    If you are pushing 85+ on your temps then your ball python is going to soak constantly in an attempt to try and lower its body temp.
    Apologies, I should have been more specific. The tank set up I received with the snakes. There is a UTH on the cool side, but with a lot of substrate between it and the snake itself (it's a bio-active enclosure). The ground rarely gets past 80 on the cool side, and often sits at between 75 and 80. When the temps were too low, they dropped down to 72 at the lowest.

    For the hot side, I have an over the tank ceramic lamp. Above the hide, it's never gotten above 95, but for some reason, the hide itself blocks a ton of heat, so when it said 95 on top, that almost always meant that the temp below the hide was 85. When I can, I use the temp gun directly under the hide, to get a more accurate reading, but a lot of the times, daisy will plug the hole with his body, making that not viable. Hence listing the above the hide temp.

    So to properly clarify, during "the cold time", the cold side was sitting around 70 on the ground, and on the hot side it was 80 at the highest. I've currently gotten it about 5 degrees warmer than that on both sides, with the insulation I've put all over.

  12. The Following User Says Thank You to Rai For This Useful Post:

    Homebody (05-09-2024)

  13. #7
    Bogertophis's Avatar
    Join Date
    04-28-2018
    Location
    USA
    Posts
    20,369
    Thanks
    28,369
    Thanked 19,964 Times in 11,930 Posts
    I would say that 70*-75* F. is ALL too cool for a BP, & also that 91*-95* over the hide is too hot- if your snake decides to slide on top of his hide (as they all do at times) that could have burned his scutes (belly), causing issues like soaking to relieve pain & lack of appetite, etc. You really want a narrower range- nothing below 78* on the cool side. I know it's a challenge, but no one ever said BPs are easy snakes to keep- not me, anyway. In order to keep snakes healthy, it's important to provide the temperatures they require in captivity, since they're not free to seek them out. It makes a difference in how well their immune system functions, not to mention their digestion.

    Did the regurgitations line up with the time that temperatures were too low?

    Still can't say for sure if your snake is sick or how sick, but fixing the husbandry will go a long way, no matter what, at getting him healthy & feeding.
    Last edited by Bogertophis; 05-09-2024 at 03:24 PM.
    Rudeness is the weak man's imitation of strength.
    Eric Hoffer (1902 - 1983)

  14. The Following User Says Thank You to Bogertophis For This Useful Post:

    Rai (05-09-2024)

  15. #8
    Registered User
    Join Date
    05-08-2024
    Posts
    12
    Thanks
    16
    Thanked 18 Times in 12 Posts

    Re: Possibly sick BP, could really use some help figuring out if it's a big deal or n

    Quote Originally Posted by Bogertophis View Post
    A BP that's not eating might be sick; then again, he might be too cold to digest. A snake that throws up their meal might be sick...then again, if they're too cold to digest, they'll throw it up. So exactly what temperatures has he been kept at? Also, once a snake regurgitates their meal (for any reason) you need to wait at least 2 or 3 weeks before feeding them again. Did you do that? Because trying to feed them too soon will also just cause another regurgitation if they haven't been able to replace their digestive enzymes quite yet. It takes time- a couple weeks+.
    I looked online and must have found the wrong information, because I was under the impression I could try again after 1-1.5 weeks. I waited more than a week, but I don't think it was a full two weeks. But as I said, he didn't even touch his food at the time. But I will definitely keep that in mind for the future, thank you!

    Quote Originally Posted by Bogertophis View Post
    You mentioned Daisy kept soaking in his water bowl, but that's also when the tank temperatures were too low. That makes no sense. Snakes soak for many reasons, including dehydration, too warm, mites, illness, burns, internal parasites, shedding (-but not usually unless their humidity has been too low).

    You also said ..."The tanks still won't get quite as warm as I'd like (can't seem to get them past 85-90)". So how warm were you keeping them & what kind of heat? If UTH, the pink belly could very well be a burn. And fyi, we generally recommend that the warmest portion of a BPs home not exceed 90* to avoid them being burned. Some snakes- including BPs- don't seem to know when they're too hot & being injured by excess heat- maybe because they're heavy-bodied & it takes longer for them to really feel the heat enough to react? BTW- I sure hope the heating sources are controlled by a quality thermostat- that's often how snakes get burned. If (?) he has a burn, that's painful & serious too-it takes time to heal, & the snake should be on antibiotic (after being seen by a qualified vet) A snake in pain may not want to eat, so this is another possibility.
    I looked online for reasons why a snake might soak, and did see many options, but one of them had said that the tank being too cold might cause it. If that's not true, then now I'm even more confused. The tank definitely wasn't too warm, there are guaranteed no mites, and the tanks humidity was around 60%, which was normally fine for shedding for him. The only thing you listed that I didn't check was for internal parasites (not sure if that's something I even could check for myself), so perhaps that's it?

    Quote Originally Posted by Bogertophis View Post
    There's no real way for us to tell online what exactly is going on with Daisy's belly scutes- I've seen snakes where substrate gets embedded & looks kinda like that- but what kind of substrate is he on??? Have you tried washing it off? I can also remember someone that was in a panic because some reddish coloration (dye) from the substrate came off on their white snake...


    He has a bio-active enclosure, so the substrate is a mix of things (sand, coconut fiber, leaf litter (ordered online, not gathered from outside), some activated charcoal, a decent bit of hydroton at the very bottom), and he does 100% get dirt under his scales, especially when he's bulldozing over any new plants I try to add. This is definitely not that. Normally, with him, dirt will move around as you handle the snake, even if its under the scales. This does not. It's like the scales themselves are brown in some spots. Because I thought it was scale rot initially, I had been cleaning his belly with diluted chlorhexidine, which I had found suggested online, so yes, I had tried washing it off.

    Quote Originally Posted by Bogertophis View Post
    I've never personally had a snake with septicemia, but yes, it's serious so let's hope it's not that. But I guess that's also a possibility if a vet thought so. The scutes don't really look pink in that photo though? And yes, some pinkish color may also indicate a coming shed. (An adult shedding 3 times in a month is a lot & not normal.)

    Much as we have lots of experience & want to help you, we're in no position to diagnose your snake here (nor would it be ethical), but from everything you've said, sooner (to see a qualified vet) is better than later, though I'm not saying it's an emergency either . Remember we're just seeing still photos, not the real snake- a good diagnosis requires a qualified person seeing the actual snake. This might help you find another one:
    https://members.arav.org/search/custom.asp?id=3661

    Do let us know how it goes...I hope you get this figured out & I hope it's nothing serious like septicemia.
    Thank you, and I do completely understand. Photos are incredibly limited when it comes to trying to show this sort of stuff. And thank you for that link! Unfortunately I still have to drive out 2 hours to get to the nearest specialist, but at least now I know with more certainty that they actually are a specialist. And yes, I will most definitely keep everyone updated. Thank you!

  16. The Following User Says Thank You to Rai For This Useful Post:

    Bogertophis (05-09-2024)

  17. #9
    Registered User
    Join Date
    05-08-2024
    Posts
    12
    Thanks
    16
    Thanked 18 Times in 12 Posts

    Re: Possibly sick BP, could really use some help figuring out if it's a big deal or n

    Quote Originally Posted by Bogertophis View Post
    I would say that 70*-75* F. is ALL too cool for a BP, & also that 91*-95* over the hide is too hot- if your snake decides to slide on top of his hide (as they all do at times) that could have burned his scutes (belly), causing issues like soaking to relieve pain & lack of appetite, etc. You really want a narrower range- nothing below 78* on the cool side. I know it's a challenge, but no one ever said BPs are easy snakes to keep- not me, anyway. In order to keep snakes healthy, it's important to provide the temperatures they require in captivity, since they're not free to seek them out. It makes a difference in how well their immune system functions, not to mention their digestion.

    Did the regurgitations line up with the time that temperatures were too low?

    Still can't say for sure if your snake is sick or how sick, but fixing the husbandry will go a long way, no matter what, at getting him healthy & feeding.
    No, that is completely fair. Any way I can improve the husbandry, I will try. Is it normal for hides to block that much heat? Or would replacing the hide make it easier to keep things more uniform?

    Additionally, the regurgitation happened after I was already warming things up, but I will admit that it took some time to manage it, so I won't say it couldn't have been the cold.

  18. The Following User Says Thank You to Rai For This Useful Post:

    Bogertophis (05-09-2024)

  19. #10
    BPnet Veteran Malum Argenteum's Avatar
    Join Date
    12-17-2021
    Location
    Wisconsin
    Posts
    518
    Thanks
    948
    Thanked 1,205 Times in 463 Posts
    Images: 3
    After you get whatever is amiss with him cleared up with the vet's help, you might consider undoing the "bioactive" setup and rebuilding it in a more suitable way. Unfortunately, that style of enclosure design can be and often is more harmful than helpful.
    Last edited by Malum Argenteum; 05-09-2024 at 03:41 PM.

  20. The Following 4 Users Say Thank You to Malum Argenteum For This Useful Post:

    Bogertophis (05-09-2024),GoingPostal (05-09-2024),Homebody (05-11-2024),Rai (05-09-2024)

Page 1 of 3 123 LastLast

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  
Powered by vBadvanced CMPS v4.2.1