Discussion in 'Over the Rainbow' started by Dragoness, May 27, 2014.
I sure hope so and I also hope that it's nothing contagious
I found this really great information on merck manual it's a veterinary book and site but it goes into intestinal parasites and snakes. One of the things stuck out about causing liver failure fairly quickly. Something to look at I suppose. Disorders and Diseases of Reptiles: Reptiles: The Merck Manual for Pet Health
I actually have a copy of the merck manual - I'm very happy to see they now put such a wonderful resource up online.
I perused that one, and a dozen other good sites, but until I have histology, my only clues right now are that the liver was only a little abnormal, and the kidneys had fluid accumulation (often an indicator of kidney failure). He had "abundant visceral fat stores" so there was no weight loss or wasting. No digestive or appetite problems leading up to it. Never regurgitated or had loose stool.
More reports are in:
I'll give you the overview first, and then the specifics (largely in jargon I do not yet understand)
And the details:
Interesting to read, even if I don't have the training to understand parts of it. Well, ok, most of it, lol.
A lot of it I don't understand but I do know what Neoplasm is. Poor guy It's scarey to think that anyone of my snakes could also be sick like that and I'd probably have no clue until they passed. Sorry for your loss, Jen
"This snake suffered from leukemia,"
Blood Cancer... ouch...
At least it's not contagious so no worries about spreading.
I don't understand most of the specifics, but the overview was simple enough for me.
Still waiting to see if mycobacterium was implicated as an infectious agent causing the leukemia (nothing else was), and if it was, how it can be managed. Depending on the species of mycobacterium it my be infectious to people as well, which is something else I need to watch for.
I don't know if Leukemia in snakes is contagious the way it is in cats, or fairly isolated the way it is in people.... I need to talk to my vet(s) and decide on a plan of action.
I don't know if leukemia testing is even done on reptiles, or how effective (or affordable) it might be to test them.
All I can think of right now is that I clean all their water dishes with the same sponge...
Although, from what I am reading, there is little, if any link between mycobacterium and Leukemia. No other infectious agents were seen, and what I can find about mycobacterium infections in snakes leads me to believe he probably won't test positive for it. I think they are only looking for mycobacterium in the interest in being thorough - testing for all the major infectious diseases.
He had a very healthy body condition though, and none of the "chronic wasting" associated with such infections. I mean, they even commented on his "abundant visceral fat stores" in the initial report - in other words, he was a porky snake.
Merck's own website has some info on mycobacterium in reptiles: (Disorders and Diseases of Reptiles: Reptiles: The Merck Manual for Pet Health)
I feel like I can almost let out a sigh of relief.
Wow.... I have nothing... I'ts just heartbreaking. I'm glad it's not contagious. I'm sorry.
Neoplastic cells are basically tumor cells but there's really a lot more to it.. I won't get into that right now. There are different types of Neoplasia so it's not really a simple thing to describe or something with one description but obviously tumors can be cancerous so you can probably ask whether or not the neoplasm was benign (non cancerous) or malignant (cancerous)
- - - Updated - - -
Most likely the Neoplastic cells in his organs is where the cancer came from and ultimately what killed him
I spoke with the pathologist today when I went to retrieve his ashes. The leukemia was definitely an aggressive and malignant cancer that was so bad it was practically forming 'clots' of blood cancer that were blocking veins, causing tissues and organs (almost all of them) to become necrotic. And it all happened fairly fast. They are estimating the majority of the cancerous growth has taken place in the last 60 days or so. There is no way of knowing at this point if he had a dormant/remissive leukemia lying in wait for any period of time, or if it developed suddenly.
It is in no way transmissible to my other snakes. (huge sigh of relief here) The vets and pathologists I have spoken with have no reason to believe the mycobacterium stain will come back positive, but they are doing it in the interest of being thorough, because it is a fairly common infection in reptiles, even though he had NO symptoms of an infection with that bacteria.
Still going to clean the daylights out of his cage, and everything in that room. Just glad I probably don't have to worry about any of my other snakes dropping dead anytime soon from some unknown vector... Knock on wood.
Still waiting on one last call from my vet. I'm curious to know if there is any leukemia test available for reptiles, as there is for other animals. I don't know what I would do if there was, but I am interested in knowing.
On a side note about the facility that handled the necropsy, I really can't recommend them enough: They did very thorough testing and examination, and the staff were all exceedingly friendly, helpful, and interested. They e-mail a digital copy of the results upon request, and mail a hard copy to you as well, and they never once got frustrated with my incessant calls up there to inquire as to the progress of it. Everyone seemed to know what they were doing, and the whole thing was very well organized.
The pathologists were even willing to take time out of their day come speak with me when I asked, even though I had no appointment.
I strongly encourage anyone in the area to take advantage of this facility. Their prices are very reasonable, and it gives students hands-on time with reptiles.
Anyone not in the area may want to look into local veterinary or teaching schools that may offer similar services at reduced rates.
Here is their website again: Diagnostic Center for Population and Animal Health
Separate names with a comma.