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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 02-02-2018, 10:34 PM   #61
Thanks for the thought Caro, I had thought briefly about lung worms, but I don't see where he'd have picked them up - he's been in my care almost 10 years now, and I feed him either chicks I have reared from newly-hatched "eggs-on-legs" or frozen chicken wing portions.

To be honest, being where I am, my options are limited. We've tried Baytril, and we're still waiting for the culture results, so now I'm just hoping that nursing, steam baths and nutrition will do the trick. He hasn't had a wheezing fit for 2 weeks now, but past experience shows this means nothing.

One thing - just been to the vet again and they are suggesting nebulisers. Anyone had any experience of using nebulisers to deliver medications to a snake? If so, which medications please?
Old 02-02-2018, 10:39 PM   #62

The vet has suggested dietary supplements. I am still waiting for the Nutribac to arrive, but they do have Nutri-gel. It's a high calorie supplement used in cats and dogs.

She suggested I look at the ingredients first to ensure there is nothing that might harm a snake. Any opinions on this MOST welcome - would you give this to your snake?

Composition: Contains Vitamins A, D, E, B1, B2, B6, B12, Nicotinamide, Calcium Pantothenate, Folic Acid, Iron, Manganese, Magnesium and Iodine in a palatable base consisting of fats, proteins and carbohydrates, providing approximately 1500 kilojoules of metabolizable energy per 100g.
Old 02-02-2018, 11:47 PM   #63
My only concern would be that a high-energy food supplement for animals often means it's relatively high in carbs compared to fats and proteins, which isn't appropriate for a snake. However, if the animal tolerates it then IMO it's better than nothing.

I'm assuming it would be mixed with water into a thin paste or slurry and then fed using a tube.
Old 02-02-2018, 11:49 PM   #64
On a previous forum, I can recall someone touting the use of a nebulizer for a snake with an RI...let me get back to you on that, it's been a long while. I do remember it was somewhat controversial, as far as what they used in it. (I remember thinking I'd have to be pretty desperate to use what they did- fearing harm to the snake.)

Likewise, I've only used supplements designed for reptiles, fearing the wrong concentration of ingredients that might harm a snake. If I'm not mistaken, Nutri-gel contains a fair amount of high-fructose corn syrup to boost the calories...what that does for a snake, I cannot imagine? It's designed for larger & very different warm-blooded animals, and no, I wouldn't use it. When I've tube-fed snakes, I used Gerber's chicken baby food, thinned with water so it goes easily thru the syringe & tubing, & usually added reptile vitamins as well as a drop of olive oil. I've brought around many a non-feeding snake that way, & you can add oral meds. if need be.

Lung worms- spread by snails/slugs, rats, etc. But don't chickens eat most anything?
(like a slug???) Maybe I've just been watching too many episodes of "Monsters inside me"? LOL
Old 02-03-2018, 12:02 AM   #65
The product we have here is called Nutri-Cal but I think it's essentially the same as your Nutri-gel? It offers 0.2% protein, 30% fat etc, & contains (in decreasing order) corn syrup, soybean oil, malt syrup, water, fish oil, cane molasses, & all the supplements. I'll stick to chicken babyfood+ as it's well-tolerated & closer to normal snake nutrition.
Old 02-03-2018, 12:29 AM   #66
This wasn't the forum I originally saw this on, & note the date (2012). There seems to be "anecdotal success" (-questionable) using the disinfectant F-10 in a nebulizer for RI in snakes; I think this got started with "Snakebytes" TV program (which is a "reality show" in a large commercial reptile business), I looked at a few episodes ages ago & wasn't a fan. I have used F-10 to disinfect snake cages only...and the reason I wouldn't make a snake breathe it is all the cautions on the label, but you can read more & decide whether or not you want to try this, I won't judge. I'll just say that what a commercial dealer may be willing to do does not always match what I'm willing to do, because I am attached to my pets. Read thru this- there are pros & definitely cons>>>
Old 02-03-2018, 01:38 AM   #67
Many thanks Melinda and Caro, that's all really helpful. I'll mull it over and digest what I can (pun intended ). Yes, the vet had suggested watering Nutri-gel down with water, which I would tube in, but I was also concerned about the amount of sugars there might be in it, and you have both brought that point up.

I hadn't considered baby food, and that is something I can get here, so that might be worth a try. The vet had also suggested supplementing with children's vitamins.

I only rear the chickens for 2 weeks, in an indoor enclosure, and feed them commercially prepared dry pellets (and sometimes rice) so unless the pellets contain lung worm eggs (which is not impossible I suppose, no idea exactly what is ground up to make them) I don't see how they could be contaminated. Would worms cause mucus or just lung damage? This is definitely soft white mucus he "coughs" up, not a worm body.
Old 02-03-2018, 03:13 PM   #68
Be sure you read the labels on baby food too...I recommend Gerbers as it's the best ingredients I've found, though I haven't read every baby food label in the world.
Gerbers 2nd Foods, "chicken & chicken gravy" to be exact, contains only ground chicken, water & cornstarch. When I needed to tube-feed a small snake for a while & didn't want the open jar of baby food to go bad, I dropped spoonfuls onto a metal cookie sheet & made "ice cubes" out of the leftover so I could thaw & use it as needed. It's good stuff, well tolerated by snakes, & no sugar or HFC. I keep a jar on hand, & any leftover is also happily consumed by my dogs. (I once rescued a bearded dragon using baby food too, only I used fruit & veggie-versions.) If you ever have a dehydrated reptile, Pedialyte comes in handy will add essential electrolytes.

You should be able to order reptile vitamins online: Rep-Cal "Herptivite is what I use currently & their info. warns against Vit A toxicity & uses only beta carotene, etc.

If this is your first time to tube-feed a snake, I can offer more pointers. If done gently, you'll be more stressed than the snake...

Your chickens are probably safe, & I don't know what could survive their pellet food, I just know that chickens naturally eat all sorts of things (bugs etc) when outdoors. I am
also not an expert on worms, but from what I've come across, lung worms could cause symptoms (mucus, irritation & damage) without actually seeing them, until they are really bad, or until forced out with medication that kills them. It's just a suggestion to run by your vet, who I'm sure would know more about that. Many animals can get them, & if you ever watch the series "Monsters inside me" you'll learn more about such parasites & the weird symptoms they cause. (gross & fascinating at the same time)
Old 02-03-2018, 08:27 PM   #69
Back to the question of steam treatments (and FYI) Vicks VapoRub contains menthol, camphor & eucalyptus, all of which work great on humans but not sure they're safe for snakes. I've never heard of anyone using it on snakes, & plenty of cautions about not exposing snakes to cedar (shavings) which has a similar ability to irritate snake lungs & some say is toxic to them as well.

After a course of antibiotics, I agree with adding probiotics (Nutribac) to replace all that was lost from the meds. I also agree that moving around more (in a larger cage) would be helpful to clear the secretions. Sure hope she makes a full recovery soon.
Old 02-03-2018, 11:31 PM   #70
So, I went baby food shopping (a new experience for me as I am child-free...) and the only variety I can get here is Heinz, mostly desserts, and the only chicken variant was mostly sweetcorn and carrot. Not ideal, I felt.

What I did buy was a tin of wet cat food, (9 Lives brand) Meaty Pate style so not chunky, with real Turkey Giblets. It includes meat by-products, turkey gizzards, chicken and bone meal, but less carbohydrate than the baby food, and it has some vitamins which the baby food did not have: Vitamins A, D3, B12, E, also Thiamine, Biotin, Riboflavin, Niacin, Folic Acid, Taurine, and a variety of minerals.

I crushed up 1 teaspoon of this, made a slurry with 4 teaspoons of water, and got most except the larger pieces into him using a soft disposable pipette. (I have done this before with non-feeding neonates, so that's not a problem for me, although he doesn't like it much....) I can get this down his throat and deliver 2 - 3 mls at a time, so it took several loads to get it all into him. If this seems to work I'll get hold of a syringe and tubing to deliver it in one go. Once (if) the Nutri-bac arrives I'll be more willing to force feed him chicken portion and trust to his own digestive system anyway.

How often would you tube feed? It was a very small amount, not what he would normally eat. He normally feeds every 2 weeks, but he's quite weak and lethargic right now, so I want to get nutrition into him, but not overload his digestive system.

Re Vit A toxicity - there's no actual information about the amount on the cat food label. Does anyone know what level is a problem, or should it be avoided altogether?

Thanks again, in advance.

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