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Veterinarian Practice & General Health Issues Anything to do with veterinarians, health issues, pathogens, hygiene, or sanitation.

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Old 01-25-2006, 02:20 AM   #1
researching IBD

I adopted a red-tail from the Northern California Herp Society today. It is in all ways apparently healthy and kept in a totally seperate area of the house than my ball python. These are the only 2 boids that I have.

I walked into the pet store I used to work at not long after arriving home with my snake (needed a bag of carefresh). The first thing my old boss told me was that Gary (a customer I used to work with) had come in and told her that his redtail boa had just died and the veterinarian suspected IBD.

She said that the snake had gone to the vet 4 days prior (according to Gary) and then died. He also has a ball python in his home.

I've been reading through some of the information on about IBD. And from what I've been seeing, it would have been a much longer, drawn-out death than this. She also told me that Gary had not opted for a necropsy, as far as she knew.

I have read a bit on here about entire collections having to be euthanized to avoid spreading the disease.

Does anyone have any good websites that they could point me to? Any deeper information?

Any thoughts on the death of Gary's redtail? (kind of hard with almost zero details, I'll see what else I can find out).

And are researching relatively sure that IBD does not affect colubrids?

Old 01-25-2006, 02:22 AM   #2
Originally Posted by GuinnyOne
And are researching relatively sure that IBD does not affect colubrids?
That should read "And are researchers relatively sure that IBD does not affect colubrids?"

Old 01-25-2006, 01:34 PM   #3
It is known that a snake can be infected for up to two years before any symptoms are seen. Testing is expensive, a live liver biopsy can run upwards of $200. Though the difficult part is IBD can live in other parts of the body, including the snake's brain. Some snakes will die quickly from IBD, some will not.

IBD is far more serious than many people believe, the analogy I was given, is that IBD is like AIDS for snakes, but it can easily be passed from one snake to another like the cold virus.
Old 01-25-2006, 05:48 PM   #4
Well, I called my old boss today and discussed some of the research that I had done as well as what she had looked up.

There is no way Gary had a necropsy done. Which is very bothersome to me.

My boss told me that he had taken the snake into the store the week before to show it off and buy some food for it. Luckily, she does not have any boids in the store currently. She realizes that the disease can be airborne, but I don't know if she has disinfected anything....but I don't know if the snake actually touched anything while in the store, either.

So from what I have been reading, it is basically possible to handle a snake a reptile show and then transfer it to your own snakes. Course I take a shower after every show I go to before going around my own pets. I'm sure that not everyone else does this.

This, to me, is really scary.
Old 01-25-2006, 07:35 PM   #5
This should be scary to everyone.
Old 01-25-2006, 11:50 PM   #6
I noticed Laura Cox said on another thread that she had her entire collection euthanized due to IBD. Perhaps if she sees this she would be willing to share input. I feel kind of sick to my stomach having to I'm sure she feels sick to even think about it.

I was also thinking....maybe this is stupid....but what about putting together a data base of some sort. And is there any possibility of a vaccine in a future?

I know I'm naive. Kelly
Old 01-26-2006, 12:27 AM   #7
Do snake mites serve as a vector for IBD?
It seems plausible. And if so, holy cow!
Old 01-26-2006, 02:18 AM   #8
Signs and Symptoms:
All boid snakes should be considered potentially infected by this virus, and the division of symptoms with neurological disease in pythons and regurgitation, cachexia and pneumonia in boas is not always accurate. Less commonly, infected boids may show stomatitis, lymphoproliferative disorders, leukemia and undifferentiated sarcomas. All age groups are affected, although it is most common in adults. Juveniles tend to show a more rapid onset typified by flaccid paralysis; pythons do not show chronic regurgitation.

It is unknown if other snake groups such as colubrids can act as hosts for the virus and potentially transmit it to other boids.

Transmission is currently a mystery - it could be spread through direct contact, aerosol, intrauterine infection or venereally. While the snake mite Ophionyssus natricis was initially implicated as a vector, it is now thought to not be capable of transmitting the virus as it has not been implicated in all cases.
That was taken from this website:

Kahl, P. 2005. IBD. Found at Accessed March 19th 2005.
I'm assuming that the above statement was made with this reference. However, the link is dead. I have no idea how accurate that information is.

This is taken from Melissa Kaplan's website:
The snake mite, Ophionyssus natricis, has been found in collections in which IBD has occurred but it is not implicated in all cases of infection.
There seems to be a lot of mention of IBD on many websites, but very little researched/definitive information.
Old 01-28-2006, 10:08 PM   #9
It is not known how inclusion body disease virus is spread--only that it is contagious. If it is like other viruses it is likely to be spread in secretions (which can be aerosolized). Research is being done at the University of Florida College of Veterinary Medicine. It is thought to be a retrovirus (similar to HIV) and therefore a vaccine is unlikely (and funding is in short supply). Boas can be carriers for several months to years and usually show gi or respiratory (pneumonia) signs prior to showing neuro signs and then dying. Pythons can also show resp and gi signs but typically progress to neuro disease more rapidly. Disease in pythons is usually less than 6 months. Several colubrids and crotalids have shown similar inclusions as IBD infected boids (from collections with IBD) but it is far less common. Biopsies are the best way to detect IBD (other than histopathology at necropsy).
Michael Wenninger DVM
Old 01-31-2006, 06:06 PM   #10
Originally Posted by mrwenninger
It is not known how inclusion body disease virus is spread--only that it is contagious. <snip> Michael Wenninger DVM
Thanks very much for your information.

My boss told me that Gary had been in again when I visited the store yesterday. She said that *he* didn't believe the vet when he was told it was IBD that killed his redtail. And that he had gone out and purchased another snake. She did tell me that he said he purchased another cage for the new snake.

Unfortunately, fact remains, he still has a ball python that could have very easily contracted the disease and it could easily be passed back to the new snake....assuming the new snake doesn't have it already if he purchased the snake from the same place as he purchased the last one.

The man won't listen to reason. If he is correct that his other redtail did not have IBD, WONDERFUL. But he doesn't *know*. So now he has put another snake at risk.


And my redtail is in a seperate area of the house as my ball python and I shower and change my clothes after handling my redtail.


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