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Alistaire Passed Without Warning.

Discussion in 'Over the Rainbow' started by Dragoness, May 27, 2014.

  1. Dragoness

    Dragoness Elite Member

    My JCP Alistaire was coiled up dead when I came home from work this morning. He was alive when I left, making his morning journey to his basking spot.

    This comes as a total surprise to me. He ate last week, but refused food this week, which was not surprising, since he is an inconsistent eater.

    I just cleaned healthy looking poop and urates out a couple days ago. His behavior has been normal, basking, moving around, and inquisitive. He has been eating fairly regularly ever since we got him past his winter fast.

    The min and max temps recorded on the thermometer don't show anything unusual. Nothing higher or lower than it should be. Nighttime low of 80 on the basking spot, daytime high of 92ºF. Cooler end of the tank gets down to high seventies. Humidity has been maintained between 44-74% according to the min/max recorded.

    I observed no respiratory symptoms, or anything at all out of the ordinary, in fact he had been eating so well, I was hoping he was finally going to grow a little more. He has been shedding well, and regularly, and his skin looked amazingly healthy and iridescent. No mites. Clear eyes. Clear vent. No neurological signs (IBD is a scary thought that has crossed my mind).

    I'm calling the vet tomorrow morning to inquire about necropsies, and what they may cost....

    Anyone ever had one? any ballpark idea what they might cost? I need to know what killed a seemingly healthy animal so rapidly, and if there is any possibility it has spread.... I have had him since 2009, if I remember correctly.
  2. jaydsr2887

    jaydsr2887 Elite Member

    sorry for your loss
  3. Dragoness

    Dragoness Elite Member


    I can't sleep right now, so I am reading, and reading and reading. Crossing my fingers and hoping that it is something non-contageous, like organ failure, or cancer.

    He has no body cavity swelling that I can see, and with regular bowel habits, I don't think any kind of blockage was an issue.

    My preferred reptile vet is only in her office one day a week - and it just so happens to be tomorrow. They open at 8, I will be calling at 7:30, and every 5 minutes after until they pick up. I don't work till noon, so I can run him down there before work.

    I'm paranoid that it might be something contagious. I just spend the last hour obsessively cleaning everything in that room that I can, even braving my big boas cage to clean, despite that she is about to shed, and has been known to bite faces...

    Right now, I have him in a bag in the fridge, to keep it cool until they can look at it. Freezing isn't recommended because it causes too much cellular damage, and it limits what might be found.
  4. DwarvenChef

    DwarvenChef Elite Member

    Sorry to hear, I'm hoping for natural causes so nothing could have prevented it.
  5. CryHavoc17

    CryHavoc17 Elite Member

    Thats terrible! Im really sorry for your loss. Sounds like their wasnt anything you could have done differently. Let us know if you are able to determine anything
  6. Darkbird

    Darkbird Moderator Staff Member

    Sorry to hear this Jen, let us know what the vet says if you get the necropsy done.
  7. Dragoness

    Dragoness Elite Member

    My preferred vet is out of town this week :(((

    The other one is open today, and will do a necropsy, I am waiting to hear back to see if I can get him in today, or maybe even tomorrow....
  8. Dragoness

    Dragoness Elite Member

    Second vet said he could do a Necropsy, but price could range from $100-$400 depending on tissue samples necessary. He actually referred me to a local college where I might get it done cheaper, directly by their pathology department.
  9. Dragoness

    Dragoness Elite Member

    The vet I spoke to who referred me there said that for a base price of $100, all he could really do was cut the snake open, and look at organs. If tissue samples were needed, he'd have to send them to a lab, and that could end up being $400. He suggested I just cut out the middle man, and take the snake straight to a pathology lab. Well, I called the place the vet referred me to, and their prices were reasonable. $200 gets a full necropsy (pathology, histology w/ tissue samples, toxicology if it is deemed necessary, plus cremation, and the ashes returned to me, along with a full report.)

    It's actually a teaching school, which is great, because aspiring vet students can get some hands-on practice with exotics under veterinary supervision. They are a full-service diagnostic and veterinary laboratory. I think I need to add them to the vet finder if they are not there already.

    Website: Diagnostic Center for Population and Animal Health

    I have also authorized them to release reports to both of my vets, as they showed an interest in hearing more about it.
  10. JoeyG

    JoeyG Subscribed User Premium Member

    I'm sorry to hear Jen. Hope its something that just happened and nothing that could spread. Sometimes it does just happen
  11. Dragoness

    Dragoness Elite Member

    I should know at the end of this week, or very early next week, what it was that got him so suddenly. I'm really hoping it's nothing that has the potential to spread to my other herps.

    In the histology exam, they will also be checking for viral and bacterial infections. I Did a LOT of reading last night, and the sum of what I learned is that viruses in reptiles are poorly studied, poorly understood, and there is little that can be done about them. Not much available in the line of treatment or prevention (aside from standard sanitation practices.)

    I will keep you all posted.
  12. Darkbird

    Darkbird Moderator Staff Member

    Good that you were able to get it done, and at a reasonable price too. Do they do full service veterinary work or just lab work and such?

    Nevermind, went to the website and answered my own question, just too late to edit my previous post.
  13. Dragoness

    Dragoness Elite Member

    I think they do it all.

    I'm anxious to hear form them. I work 4-midnight tomorrow, so I will be calling them before work to see if they have any news for me.
  14. Darkbird

    Darkbird Moderator Staff Member

    If they did that would be great for me, since MSU is less than a hour drive. The only vet local to me that supposedly treats exotics is still an unknown factor for me, and it'd be nice to know I have a more reliable backup.
  15. Dragoness

    Dragoness Elite Member

    Might be worth calling them. Since it's a teaching school, they probably have a heavy focus on mammals and farm animals, and your more standard cats and dogs, but if they are decent enough for my herp vet to recommend them, I'd have to think they have someone there who does reptile stuff.

    Then again it's a necropsy - much simpler than diagnosing a living animal.
  16. Dragoness

    Dragoness Elite Member

    I got the initial pathology report today. That is just the look-see portion. Histology is forthcoming, and should determine more details. Will update you guys as I get the details.


    The "black gritty substance" in his mouth was his substrate - when he died, he convulsed (presumably) because I found him in a convoluted and unnatural position with an open mouth full of dirt. Aside from brushing some of it off to see if there was mouth rot present, I did not remove it, in case the pathologists had a purpose in seeing it.

    Liver sounds fishy. Last I knew, they should be smooth, and evenly colored...
  17. MrsSmith88

    MrsSmith88 Member

    I am so sorry for your loss! I would be heartbroken. What were you feeding him and where did you get them from? I'm not saying that's what caused it but I'm curious. Good luck with your face biting boa. I have a couple young ones I hope grow out of that.
  18. Dragoness

    Dragoness Elite Member

    I have been feeding F/T rodents from rodent pro exclusively for 5+ years now.

    I sincerely doubt it is a problem with their rats, It seems more likely (and this is my own conjecture based on a few hours of reading what limited things I can find on the Internets) is that his liver was somehow compromised (tumors, viral infection, etc.) causing damage or failure of the liver, with kidneys soon to follow.
  19. EriksExotics

    EriksExotics Elite Member

    I'm very sorry to hear, Jen. Please keep us updated
  20. Dragoness

    Dragoness Elite Member

    I'm hoping I will hear more tomorrow. I realize they probably close up for the weekend, so maybe a histology report will come in tomorrow.

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