Is Your Snake Sick? How You Can Spot Common Symptoms And Help Your Pet Heal


Are you worried about your snake's health? Snakes and mammals behave very differently and have different signs of distress. While you might know what an unhealthy dog looks like, detecting symptoms of illness in snakes is more difficult. If your snake has started acting funny, it's important to find out right away whether or not your pet is sick. Use these tips to spot common snake health problems and get your pet healthy again.

Roaming With An Open Mouth

A healthy snake will rarely open its mouth, usually only doing it to eat. If your snake is sitting for prolonged periods or wandering its terrarium with its mouth open, it may be in respiratory distress. It could also be suffering from heat exhaustion.

If the snake is fairly energetic and moving around the cage, temporarily remove any heat-producing cage elements. Give the snake fresh water and monitor its behavior. If it seems very thirsty and goes back to normal when the cage is cool, your pet may be getting too hot during the day. Check heated cage elements to make sure they aren't malfunctioning, and lower your overall terrarium temperature by a couple of degrees. Continue monitoring your snake for signs of heat stress, and adjust its environment as needed.

On the other hand, a snake that seems lethargic and sits with its mouth open and head uplifted is likely having trouble breathing. It may wheeze faintly and have mucus around its nose and mouth. These symptoms could be caused by any number of issues, like a respiratory infection, inhaled terrarium sand, throat agitation, or more. The solution for virtually every respiratory distress problem is a checkup with your exotic animal vet. You may need to give the snake antibiotic medicine or put it in an special environment while it heals.

Regurgitating And Vomiting Food

Sometimes, you might come back to check on your snake after a feeding and find it has spit its food back out into the cage. Other times, you may observe the snake get halfway through a meal and suddenly abandon it. This is regurgitation, and typically happens when your pet is stressed or scared. You can reduce the risk of regurgitation by feeding your pet in a calm environment and allowing it to have alone time after eating. Avoid handling your snake during or after meals if regurgitation becomes a problem.

Vomiting is far more rare, and usually indicates a health problem. The difference between vomiting and regurgitation is that the snake has already begun to digest its meal before vomiting. Snakes may vomit if their food is improperly handled or if they have a digestive illness. Turning up the heat in your pet's terrarium after meals may help ease digestion slightly, but you should also contact your vet if you think your snake is vomiting its food.

Partial Skin Shedding

Healthy snakes will shed their skin in a single piece, with the whole layer coming off over the course of a day at most. This process is made easier with the help of a warm water bath or humidity box, which softens the dead skin enough to come off. Occasionally, a snake may have old skin stuck to its face. If this happens, leave the pet alone for a few days to see if the skin will fall off. If it won't, wipe it gently with a damp cloth until it comes away.

Partial shedding or losing patches of skin at a time is not normal for snakes and may indicate a skin disease or external parasite infestation. You should seek veterinary assistance if your snake shows signs of spot shedding and skin irritation. You may need to give it medicine or rub its skin with medical creams to fix the condition.

Snakes aren't exactly the most vocal or rambunctious of pets. If your snake is in distress, its health is dependent on you to notice the symptoms and treat the problem right away. When in doubt, take oddly-behaving pet to the vet's office. Check out a go to website like the one here to start searching for vet clinics in your area.


27 July 2015

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