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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 10-10-2007, 07:02 AM   #1
Question on Veterinary Expenses

I'm planning on taking on my first python, and want be well prepared for its care requirements and expenses before I take the leap. I've been extremely lucky I believe, having kept corn snakes and the random lizard now for about 9 yrs. having had no issues that required a visit to the vet.
To me, keeping a large reptile is a serious responsibility, that cost of care will be expected to be high.
Being prepared for worst case scenarios seems prudent. I think I better get an estimate on what kind of money caring for a python will run me. My questions, then are these:
*WIll I need to schedule regular checkups, how often, and what's an avg. appointment fee?
*If my python contracts a respiratory infection, what would treatment cost?
*How much (if needed) will I spend on parasite prevention in a year's time, and if I encounter parasites, can I treat the snake myself?
*I've switched to keep my corns on aspen now, would this substrate be ok for a python? I see many ppl keep their boids on newspaper. Is this a cost saving measure?
*Can anyone reccomend a good reptile vet in Ohio within driving distance of Canton? (small city, mammal/rodent vets here only)
Thanks for any advice, I want to do right for an animal I plan on buying as a hatchling and raise to be a healthy, gorgeous adult.
Old 10-10-2007, 11:30 AM   #2


What type of python will you be getting?
Sorry I am afraid I wont be much help. WE have had a ball python for over 1 year that we got as a hatchling. Luckily, we have not had any problems at all, other than the occasional being picky on eating, but other than that, he has grown well & shed with no problems.
It is hard to say whether you need to take him in for a yearly or annual checkup. Of course, if you find a good vet & you have confidence in his abilities, then, that is completely up to you if you want to take him in yearly just for a health checkup. If your husbandry is good you shouldn't have any problems if you buy from a reputable breeder.
I never recommend self-treating on a species you are not familiar with or for new keepers especially. I realize you are not a new keeper, however. Most of the times, if you feel that the snake might be getting a respiratory infection, decreasing the humidity & increasing the hot end temps to slightly above 90 usually cures that. In more severe cases that it just will not go away, that will probably take a vet visit. Baytril or enroflaxin is normally used for respiratory infections in most snake species. Unless you know how to dose appropriately for his weight, or do an injection correctly, it is best to let your vet do that. There is oral baytril but getting a snakes mouth open is not the easiest thing to do! This medication is also used for stomatitis as well. If everything is good temperature & humidity wise, he should not fall prey to any respiratory problems.
If you have to take him in for a respiratory infection, you should only be paying for the office visit & the medication most likely, which greatly varies. Office visits run you around $40-50 depending on your area. Medication varies as well. Most should not cost you more than $20-25 on the meds. Fecals are normally around $15-20. It greatly depends on the location & the vet.
As far as deworming, usually Panacur or fenbendazole, is used for routine deworming. Upon getting your snake, I would wait a couple of weeks for him to settle in & hopefully eat for you. If you want to get a baseline of his parasite level, I suggest getting a fecal sample & take it in for analysis. If he has any worms, they can be treated then. The best way to avoid worms is to buy fresh food not wild caught, & to keep the enclosure clean. Of course, getting a captive bred snake is the best, but I am sure you already know that!
Self treating worms is pretty easy, if you are more experienced, because it needs to be properly dosed according to the animal's weight. However, there is a product called Parazap that is more like a food supplement that is a natural dewormer. It has wormwood & blackwalnut which help the GI tract rid itself of excess & undigested food that could be harbouring bacteria. It has been proven pretty effective in being used as a maintenance.
As far as I know, aspen is a good choice for a python. No problems there. I personally have never used newspaper for a snake, but we do use a nice soft green felt that we cut to size & it works really well. We have several pieces that can be washed out to be kept clean on a daily or weekly basis.
It is great that you are planning, because financially, you need to have some money stashed in the case of any type of emergency.
Check out these sites to help you find a good herp vet in the area:

I hope I answered everything for you.

Old 10-10-2007, 12:34 PM   #3
Im thinking about a jungle carpet or I. jaya maybe, pretty sure not a BP, but no burm or retic, (not wanting a future monster snake!) Just wanting an active variety, good for display that will max about 6' and not be super fat or heavy.
I wouldn't think it good to give meds myself, but thought it might be ok to dust for mites. Too worried about antibiotics to do that myself...
So feeding, substrate will be about the same as my cornsnakes, only bigger prey as it grows? And a larger habitat.
So assuming no visible health probs, 1x yearly for a checkup is ok? That doesn't sound too awful expensive.
Actually I think a habitat setup is going to cost more than the animal.
Thanks for advice, I'll do more reading up and post some Q's before I decide. Many helpful ppl here!
Old 10-10-2007, 12:40 PM   #4
Paul, I think a lot of your questions based on costs are nearly impossible to answer with any guarantee of accuracy, unless it is from someone using a vet right in your area. I know myself, living in a very rural area, (and having awesome furry critter vets) can expect to pay a great deal less than people in different and more populous areas. I can get an office visit including a general checkup and full round of vaccinations for a dog for $35.00....whereas I know of folks who pay $100 just for an office call, with extra charges for each other individual service. My vet also does "spay 2, get one free" deals on farm cats, lol...with each spay costing about $45. I don't think many vets do that, but just making the point on how much it can vary from vet to vet.

Routine fecals are probably the best and most common thing that I would recommend. Most vets will require you to bring the animal in for at least the initial exam to do the fecal, after that some vets will just let you bring in a sample in a baggie while others will ask you to bring the animal in each time. If it is the only snake you keep, external parasites such as mites are probably not going to be a concern as long as it is clean when you get it. Internal parasites can be contracted from feeder rodents, (less chance of such happening from feeding frozen/thawed), but again simple routine fecals should keep this in check, and even if they were to contract a parasite, treatment is usually pretty reasonable. I do not treat my snakes "preventatively" for parasites, and by doing routine random fecals and crossing my fingers, have not had a parasite problem yet.

Respiratory infection is USUALLY not an issue either if again, it is the only animal, and the enclosure is kept clean and temps are kept in the correct range. If he should contract an infection, early detection and treatment is quite simple and usually inexpensive. If it is let go for a period of time, that is when treatment starts getting pricey and more difficult. What you need to do in the case of a suspected respiratory infection will vary somewhat depending on the species of python you are looking at, a generic humidity and/or temp change can make things worse if done improperly. Best to at least consult either a vet or someone you know is well-learned in the specific pythons you are keeping.
Old 10-10-2007, 01:13 PM   #5
Mooing Tricycle
Originally Posted by Cat_72
My vet also does "spay 2, get one free" deals on farm cats, lol...with each spay costing about $45.

Holy cheap!!!! Spaying and Neutering around here costs upwards of 200.00 for some vets!
I had to actually get a certificate and bring my cat muta to a vet that participated just to get him neutered for cheaper.
Old 10-10-2007, 07:26 PM   #6
I'm in southern Ohio and my snake vet visits (well checkups) are $35 and a fecal in included. I've only had two sick visits one was a mouth abscess, it was $43 for the exam and $25 for the first injection, plus $12 for the follow up injections. The other was for a body abscess, $43 for the exam and cut the abscess, plus the same as above for the injections.

I did have one of my black milks quit eating and I took her in for an exam, fecal and a B12 shot, it was $39.75.

That should give you some idea of cost for minor things.

When you are a regular customer and have a releationship with the vet and don't just bring your animals in when they are sick and near death you may sometimes get a break depending on the vet.
Old 10-12-2007, 11:29 AM   #7
Well, if costs are overestimated, I'll be ok. Just concern since I feel a boid would require more attention to needs than say my cornsnakes. We raise our own feeder mice right now, probably will start rats if I buy a boid. We also have cats, dogs, silkie chicks, hamsters, fish, and tarantulas in the house, each with their own room. A small zoo really So my worries are that I couldn't guarantee some flea came in with the dogs and jumped on me then to jump into the snake's habitat and cause something, or the possible power outage.
Are boids any more or less hardy than colubrids? Maybe I'm a little paranoid about it, but it seems that a python has to be more than just "more surface area of snake" to accomodate than colubrids.
What type of disinfectant for housing is best? Is it OTC or vet-supply?
I have other Q's about boids(behavior relating to husbandry), but I'll put those in general topics.
Old 10-12-2007, 11:56 AM   #8
Paul - the husbandry requirements for boids can vary greatly, depending on what species you select. Since you have mentioned carpet pythons, I will say that they are a pretty good choice, and are fairly undemanding, overall. They are pretty forgiving of temperature and humidity fluctuations, but not so much as colubrids.
As has been said, if you meet their needs, there is no more reason for a boid to have health issues than a aside from an occasional fecal check, there isn't any "routine" veterinary care; and MOST illnesses/problems can be avoided with proper husbandry.
The best disinfectant for housing? Well, honestly, that depends on what you mean by best. Many will jump in and say Chlorhexidene, and for routine, day to day disinfection, I would tend to agree - it's fairly cheap, easy to use, safe, and widely available (OTC). However, it is not the best in terms of pathogen toxicity - meaning that it doesn't kill all the little nasties we want it to. The best would be either dilute bleach or quaternary ammonium products (ie Roccal), but, of course, they have more drawbacks. Both require rinsing (to remove residual product), are irritants to skin and mucosa (ever breathe bleach fumes in a confined area?), etc. I would recommend Chlorhexidene for general use, as previously mentioned, but use dilute bleach for disinfecting anything item that is used with a "sick" or quarantined animal.
Old 10-12-2007, 01:00 PM   #9

Hello Paul,

That is great you already raise your own feeder rodents, so that wont be a problem for you.
I agree, the Chlorhexidine is good, for pretty much everything. You can also try the Lemon or Pine Quat too, which are effective against a wide variety of gram postive bacteria. Any of those products you can get in large gallon jugs & just dilute it accordingly.


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