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May Sound a Bit Odd... but a Picture Request :)

Discussion in 'Herp Awareness' started by RockyGurly, Jul 18, 2013.

  1. RockyGurly

    RockyGurly Well-Known Member

    Hey all :)
    In a month or two, I'm starting my own small scale reptile rescue in an effort to save homeless herps. But that's only half of it, the other half is I'll be networking (facebook, various forums, my own site, pet store workshops) to try to spread awareness about the many problems with the small pet trade, and urge people do to their research.
    So, I have a BIG request for you guys that I would REALLY appreciate! :D :D
    It sounds weird, but I'm looking for pictures of herps with various ailments. I'm not overly familiar with them, I know of MBD and impaction (but impaction is more something you feel) but are there any others? (oh, there's also dropped tails, would love a pic of that) I want to use these pictures to help myself be able to identify certain ailments, but I'd also like to share them with people. Kind of a help them help themselves thing. I've looked and looked, but so far I haven't found any small animal specialists in the area, so if I get in sick animals (and I'm sure I will) I want to be very familiar with what I'm dealing with, and how to deal with it.
    And also, if you've ever rescued a herp from poor conditions, and have a picture of the herp and the conditions it was in, and a picture of him now, happy and healthy (or not, if he didn't make it ) I would love to share his/her story with people.
    I know, it sounds kind of creepy, but my main goal with this whole thing is to stop the mentality that small animals are "justs" (It's just a hermit crab/lizard/snake, so why bother/care/try) I want people to realize just how bad it really is, and maybe encourage them to start doing their own digging, and start asking the hard questions when they buy or adopt an animal, and realize that the lives of these small animals are just as valuable as doggies or kitties, even if they're not portrayed as such by the pet industry.

    And I'll make another post when it gets closer, but if anyone in the lower BC area (Canada) has a home available for small animals or various lizards, I'll be based in Coldstream, about 10 minutes from Vernon :) I'm not sure what kind of response I'll get, but I'm trying to compile a list of people who could adopt animals I get in after they've had some TLC ahead of time.

  2. Katsura

    Katsura Elite Member

    Are you only wanting lizards? Cause I have pictures and a story about a snake that had her scutes ripped off. Of course, my pictures are in the stage where she's got a scar, but it's a pretty impressive one.
  3. cassicat4

    cassicat4 Subscribed User Premium Member

    One of the biggest issues you're likely to encounter is parasites, especially in any wild caught species. You may want to consider investing in a microscope and medical manual yourself so you can do your own (to save on costs). Every animal that comes into your rescue should be screened right off the start. The stress of relocation (from their home to your rescue) will be stressful, and any underlying parasites can become problematic during this change. They can also be easily transferred to other animals if strict quarantine measures aren't in place. Symptoms of parasites can include (but are not limited to): a change in stool texture or consistency, poor appetite or anorexia, weight loss, lethargy, dehydration, and/or regurgitation.

    Pet Health Resources | Reptiles | Internal Parasites in Reptiles | University Animal Hospital

    A second common issue is Metabolic Bone Disease (MBD). Shakiness of the limbs, soft bones (particularly the jaw), bone deformities, bowing of the limbs, difficulty walking/moving, lethargy, and anorexia are common symptoms, depending on the severity. Mild MBD can often be remedied through veterinary care and on-going treatment. Severe MBD can be fatal. On your Facebook page, website, etc., I would consider providing information on the importance of UVB, calcium, and vitamin D3 in the diet to potentially help people before the problem occurs. There are several excellent websites that I often recommend to people:

    Metabolic and Endocrine Diseases of Reptiles: Reptiles: Merck Veterinary Manual

    Pet Columns, Office of Public Engagement, College of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

    Metabolic Bone Disease

    A third issue will be superficial injuries/ailments. These can include burns, scarring, cuts/abrasions, incomplete shed - particularly on the toes, eyelids, and tip of the tail (dysecdysis), and insect bites. In many cases, with the exception of an incomplete shed, a healthy reptile housed in a clean environment will recover from these on their own. In the event it does not, be sure to keep antiseptics on hand, such as Betadine and pain-free Polysporin. These can be used to clean and treat the issue. For shedding problems, tupperware, paper towel, and Q-tips are your friend. A reptile "sauna" can often loosen shed to the point where it can easily be worked off with a Q-tip.

    Dysecdysis - Shedding Problems

    A fourth issue will be more serious external/internal conditions such as broken appendages, mouth rot (stomatitis), skin/fungal infections (e.g. scale rot), respiratory infections, mites, egg-binding (dystocia), impaction, and dropped tails. With the exception of dropped tails, the rest usually require veterinary intervention.
    -Broken bones may require surgery to fix, or in the best case, a splint.
    -Mouth rot is a symptom of an underlying infection and not a condition of its own. It can be caused by poor husbandry (dirty conditions), improper temperatures, stress, unhealed insect bites around the mouth, unhealed cuts/abrasions around the mouth, and snout rubbing.
    -Fungal infections are often caused by an unclean and overly wet environment. These often show up in the form of blisters or off-colored patches of skin, with or without the presence of pus. Increasing temperatures and drying out the enclosure or offering dry places to bask can often remedy mild cases of this, but it's always a good idea to have a vet check it out first.
    -Respiratory infections are often caused by stress, poor temperatures, and excessive humidity. Symptoms include gaping, discharge from the nose and mouth, difficulty breathing, lethargy, and poor appetite. Mild cases can be remedied by increasing temperatures around the clock until the animal has recovered.
    -Mites are specific to the species (snake mites only affect snakes, lizard mites only affect lizards) but can be easily spread. For snakes, the first evidence is often little tiny black dots in the water bowl and/or the snake spending an unusual amount of time in the water bowl. For lizards, they often appear around the eyes, but can be seen anywhere on the body. There are some over the counter treatments you can try (such as Nix) but a vet can often prescribe something a bit more effective.
    -Egg-binding is a very serious condition, and often requires emergency veterinary intervention/surgery. STraining to lay, distress, lethargy, and anorexia are some of the warning signs. Egg-binding can usually be prevented by providing the gravid female with an appropriate laybox in which to deposit her eggs.
    -Impaction often results from improper temperatures, dehydration, and/or poor choice of substrate/feeders. An impacted reptile will strain to defecate, may spend an unusual amount of time in the warmest part of the enclosure, and will often become lethargic and refuse food. Sometimes impaction can be felt in the abdomen (e.g. if it's the result of sand) and/or seen (as a dark patch in the abdomen) but many times you have to observe the symptoms in order to be aware of the problem. Mild impaction can often be treated at home through a lukewarm soak in water combined with the administration of mineral oil and belly rubs (from the top of the abdomen to the vent) and increasing enclosure temperatures. Severe impaction should be treated like an emergency and a vet needs to be consulted ASAP.
    -And finally, dropped tails can be quite common with many gecko species, primarily leopard and crested geckos. A dropped tail usually doesn't require any intervention on your part or the vet's. Keep the animal on paper towel and the environment clean, and it will heal on its own. In the event it does not, diluted Betadine and polysporin can be used. A couple readings:

    Ulcerative Stomatitis (Mouth Rot)
    Respiratory Disease

    Then there are many ailments, both serious and mild, that are species specific or most common in certain species (e.g. IBD in boids, Cryptosporidium in leopard geckos, Entamoeba bacterium in crested geckos, etc.) so to be truly educated (so you can educate others) I would also do some research into some of the most common ailments of some of the most commonly owned reptiles. Find out what's specific to them, so you have means of identifying them if they occur. For example, the three I mentioned are also the most dangerous to the species involved, and require very strict quarantine to prevent the spread to other animals.

    Crested Gecko Health: Gecko Diseases & Health Problems |
    Inclusion Body Disease - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    And some further reading on infections/diseases in general:

    The Learning Center - Diseases of Reptiles
    Reptile Diseases A-Z | The full list of reptile Diseases | petMD

    Rather than provide pictures, I encourage you to utilize Google Images to find what you're looking for. There are many excellent examples of the majority of ailments listed above. Often, several different images are required to give you a complete picture of exactly what you're dealing with.

    Hopefully this information can be of some use, and I wish you luck in your endeavors! I agree that the mentality of "it's just a snake/lizard/etc." needs to change, and education is your best bet.
    Last edited: Jul 18, 2013
  4. RockyGurly

    RockyGurly Well-Known Member

    I'm going to working with small animals of all sorts, so I would definitely love to share your snake's story! Poor girl :(

    Oh, wow, thank you cassicat!!! :D That's a huge help, and so much info *dances* I'm making myself a big medical book I can refer to as I get info from people, and you've just filled in quite a few sections :) and thank you for all the links! I'll be going through all of them in preparation for my little dudes 8)
    (and thanks for the hints about self treating, I'll be adding a microscope and the pain free polysporin and a few other things to the list now. I really do worry about getting animals in who need serious medical attention, but once I move into town I'll start asking around and seeing if any of the vets can be more help in person. Other than that, I really want to be able to diagnose and treat anything I can myself. It'll also help me be able to figure out what I need to do with a critter right off the bat without doing any research)

    Thanks guys!! :D
  5. RockyGurly

    RockyGurly Well-Known Member

    Oh, and it's still in it's infancy, but I have gotten the facebook page up already :) It's where I'll be uploading the majority of my photos, as well as my recommended reading list and linking to various resources for people, as well as updating people about what's going on at the rescue. It's called Rocky's Reptile Rescue if anyone's interested in checking it out :)
    (I thought facebook would be a good place to refer people to since they're already on it, for the most part)
  6. RockyGurly

    RockyGurly Well-Known Member

    Oh, also, after more reading and advice from various forums, a vet is a must. I will be sure to have access to a nearby vet who can help me before taking in any animals.
    I've learned a lot already :) But I know there's way more learning to be done! I do want to be able to diagnose and treat smaller issues if I can.
    I'm seeing dehydration and malnutrition coming up a lot, any thoughts on how to diagnose these before they're bad enough that hip bones/ribs protrude? I'm gathering that with these, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, and the animal will slowly get back to health with proper food and water (if it's not too severe) but if anyone has any tips/tricks or has dealt with it before, I'd love to hear your thoughts :)
    Last edited: Jul 18, 2013
  7. Kistyra

    Kistyra Member

    something im just going to point out (both from me and a friend)is that places that import flowers often get a few extra guests. Me, i found a bahama anole in some hanging basket ferns that came from florida. My friend, who's mum owns a florist shop, has gotten numerous frogs, a snake and a few lizards. This might be something to look into, maybe ask florists who run their own business to give you a call or sommat in case they do meet up with an unusual creature.

    Again, just pointing this out
  8. TigerIvy

    TigerIvy Elite Member

    I have had a 501c reptile rescue for years now. If you can tell me what ailments specifically you are wanting I can most likely get you pictures. I only deal with lizards though (oh and I had turtles once too). There is another gal I work closely with who takes snakes and larger lizards such as monitors and iggies. I lack the proper training to care for the larger species.

    Over the years what I see a great deal of overall bad husbandry and conditions relating to that. Malnutrition (including MBD), vitamin deficiencies, adenovirus, coccidia, hypocalcemia, hypercalcemia, conjuctivitis (AKA pink eye in humans), parasite loads including strongyloides, pinworm, and round worm. Other common issues include mouth rot, Respiratory and urinary infection, tooth decay, microbial degredation disorders, gout, gram negative staph infection, and reproductive tract issues. There have been some exceptions to that rule including with a compression spinal injury, intentional maiming and general cruelty issues.

    I have a strong human medical background having worked within a Medical Laboratory Technician program (these are the people who test your blood so your doctor can make the big money and tell you the results). Having a high power microscope, the equipment to general fecal workups and basic blood work is essential. Most reptiles have a 3 chambered heart but the basic blood make up is similar to that of a human being. Both contain RBC (red blood cells) WBC (white blood cells), Platelets, Plasma and antibody cells. These are the basic components for the sake of explanation because I would write a flipping BOOK trying to explain hematology in its entirety.

    The best way to learn is by doing. learn to stick and draw (carefully) and learn to analyze the amount of RBC, WBC within a normal healthy reptile. Each species differ in counts and that can be found in a reptile hematology manual. Learning to recognize abnormal cells is crucial to ascertaining when vet intervention is required versus a basic infection or parasite load (one being blood born, one being fecal tested)

    Vitamin deficiencies are easy but hard to tell honestly. I know that sounds confusing but often you will see reptiles with apparent hypo/hypercalcemia but why. Understanding the nutritional chain becomes crucial. What I mean by this is understanding that D3 and potassium are required components for calcium absorption - however magnesium is required for potassium to be effective and ect ect ect ect. Take the time to learn the chain of nutrients to understand how they work together. That is really important. Ok as a weird random example if you ingest something high in vitamin C at the same time as a protein - the protein is better digested then without vitamin C. (ok random - but true - example)

    From a rescue standpoint the best preventative is education. However you will encounter people who want to loudly proclaim about "wild environments" and that is fine however comparing a wild environment to captivity is like comparing a Volkswagen to a Rolls Royce. For example in the wild a reptile is not bound to an area measured in square feet or meters. They have a large range and must fend for food, water and other basic living necessities without intervention. And in a correct eco system, their metabolism is designed for survival. In captivity they only have what they are given. Nothing more, nothing less.

    Now to treat the common malnutrition/dehydration issues - you have to make sure you know what is wrong and take everything in moderation. If the reptile is an insectivore that requires specific humidity it is important to look at the humidity and protein types. If the reptile is a omnivore it becomes crucial to look at the amount and types of animal/plant proteins offered in what proportions and how often. If the reptile is a herbivore you have to stop and look at the plants being offered and how often. This is where variety comes into play. And these "complete balanced diets" for most reptiles are a joke. There are exceptions to this rule.

    This has to go one step further in insectivore and omnivore reptiles because you have to make a hypothesis of the nutritional value of the feeders offered. Back to the same process - what animal/proteins are offered, what carbohydrate and fat factors are included in the diet.

    It's also important to realize that it would take decades to learn every type of reptile and their needs so limit yourself to certain reptiles and associate with other rescues who take different reptiles. it is not bad to acknowledge you lack the necessary information required to care for a specific reptile and seek placement in a suitable facility.

    Ok there is a general over view. I could go on for hours about this but if you want to know more about something specific just ask.
  9. jarich

    jarich Elite Member

    *starts looking up florists numbers in the area...*
  10. TigerIvy

    TigerIvy Elite Member

    lol lol lol just remember they may not be legal to keep as pets in NY
  11. RockyGurly

    RockyGurly Well-Known Member

    Wow tigerivy, thanks! :D
    After about 7 hours straight with my nose buried in my computer and a couple books taking notes and reading, I am going to limit myself. Simply because I'm realizing there are animals out there that I can't cater to right now, specifically aquatic ones who require large habitats (which sucks because the biggest problem we have here is red eared sliders, who need a 150+ gallon enclosure)
    Some pictures I would really, REALLY appreciate, to use for myself and to show to people, are
    MBD (I've found a few, but no good ones)
    Common scrapes/cuts/bumps
    Possibly deformities/stunted growth due to a too small enclosure (to use as an example for people who's reptiles are "just fine" in that half gallon KK) if you have any
    And you wouldn't happen to have any pictures of very obvious impaction? Even possibly in a dead animal?
    And another "possibly" but, issues with joints or tail tips due to an incomplete molt left alone for too long?

    Other then that, right now I'm focusing on getting myself set up so I can do fecal examinations and bloodwork (if bloodwork doesn't require a lab? If anything I can take blood and bring it to the vet, I think) I'm trying to contact some local vets and talk to them about maybe showing me how to do some of that basic stuff I could do at home to save them time and me money, as well as get familiar with them, and possibly do volunteer work to see if I can pick anything up. I'm also looking into a microscope and a manual of some sort (although I don't really know what to look for regarding the manual)
    When it comes to the ailments, I'm now trying to focus on the most common ones I might run into, anything species specific I should be watching out for with certain animals, and anything I can treat myself (or at least help treat in an emergency until I can get the animal to a vet) I'm building a list of what I'll have in my reptile first aid kit, as long as some supplies I should have on hand before taking anyone in.
    Thank you all for your amazing help, it's only been one day and I've learned so, so much :)

    And I didn't think about the flourist! I'll keep them in mind :) I was watching some videos (maybe more stalking) a nearby reptile rescue guy who got a scorpion who came in with groceries-and then proceeded to have 42 babies. Yikes.

    OH! On that reptile guy, he has this MASSIVE reptile rescue center only 4 hours away!! I'm arranging for a tour right now, and I'm hoping to pick up some tips and get some advice (as well as check out the educational center he has set up cus it is so freaking cool)
    The Reptile Guy Rescues Reptiles, Lizards and Surrendered Reptiles <--- that's him. A huge inspiration to me right now! I'm even picking up stuff just from watching his videos, like removing eye caps, basic medical and the red ear slider problem
  12. TigerIvy

    TigerIvy Elite Member

    Hi! I believe I can search back and find pictures of all of the above for you actually (f not all - most). Some are autopsy pictures though so please be warned. I can even provide pictures of severe prolapse in which the colon and intestine descended. I work largely with bearded dragons and am most familiar with them. But honestly the most common things you want to do yourself are the same in most reptiles. Fecal testing (I can tell you where to buy a microscope chart for that, its awesome actually) and then basic blood work for adenovirus and coccidia and basic secondary infection like staph and strep. When my house settles down some I will start going through old records and pictures to give you pictures.
  13. RockyGurly

    RockyGurly Well-Known Member

    Thank you so much! *dances*
    Autopsy photos are fine :) I've performed them on hermit crabs who've died for unknown reasons, and these pictures will be for my big ol' medical book I'm making for myself.
    I really want to be able to do my own fecal examinations and bloodwork, so I'm currently looking into that 8)
    But thanks again! :D
  14. TJOHNSON722

    TJOHNSON722 Elite Member

    You can put healthy turtles in a watering troth with a brick at the bottom. Its what the rescue I work with does. Shortcuts like that help with the money. Just make sure you have concrete bottom and big enough pond pump/filter. I can help with that kind of stuff. I don't take pictures but your welcome to pick my brain about snakes. I only do snakes at our rescue though.

    Just remember, especially with snakes, they will go off feeding for no reason at all. I have a 14 ft burm who had a respiratory infection, scale rot and still hasn't eaten. Even after meds. He was kept in a small enclosure with no heat whatsoever, just room temp. It'll help if you get a vet on board. The guy who runs the rescue I work with has his vet tech certificate. We can get the proper medication because of that and most are wildlife rehabilitators. Turtles ran over, etc. It may work, it may not. However, if not maybe discounted rates.

    Once your name gets out there, you'll get busy. Currectly the rescue as a whole has over 40 snakes, multiple lizards, too many turtles to count, like 10 gators total ages ranging. Make sure you have help if you need it.
  15. RockyGurly

    RockyGurly Well-Known Member

    Thanks! I'm worried I might end up with more than I can handle right now, but I'm coming up with a few backup plans and making a list of people nearby who say they can take animals if need be. Hopefully I'll be fine, but if push comes to shove, I'm sure I'll be able to place everyone.
    With snakes and some lizards the "hunger strike" can leave me a bit confused. On one hand, it can be completely normal, especially for larger snakes, even some invertebrates, to just not eat for long periods of time, and I get that, but on the other hand, not eating can be a sign that there's an underlying problem, and since I'll be dealing with sick animals, if they're getting worse I'm not sure if not eating would be a bad sign or just normal. I'm wondering if it's kind of a guessing game?
    Could you go into detail about the makeshift turtle enclosure? :) I might not be able to set something up right away, but we have a HUGE red earred slider problem here, and hundreds of these large turtles who really need homes.. I'm going to try to find people with ponds that they couldn't escape from, but I'll need a way to temporarily house these turtles and rehabilitate sick ones (and one day when I have my own place, I want to set up an in ground turtle pond that they could live in year round and hopefully house quite a few turtles in need. But until then, I'll be confined to mostly terrestrial animals unless there's some way I can do a makeshift habitat for a fair price (and if my dad gives me the ok :p )
  16. TJOHNSON722

    TJOHNSON722 Elite Member

    With the snakes, it is confusing. I do a guess and check type. Ill look into one thing. Example, heat, lights spot on? yes or no. if no fix and try to feed. If yes, any wheezing, excess fluids for resperatory infection or 'cottage cheese' look for mouth rot and I could keep going. Initial checks for this stuff is imperative too and helps a lot. First thing I seen on chiquita was fluid coming out of mouth, then noticed bubbling. Boom, respiratory infection. Then kept checking and seen scale rot a few places on his belly. A lot of it will come from experience as you get going. Always do medical and physical assessment for any animal regardless of rescue or not though. Also keep detailed records. It'll help in long run.

    The pond thing. Its a cow trauth you can get at any farming store. They are usually round thick black plastic and 5 ft x 5 ft. He put a filter/pond pump to get water going. He also keeps baby alligators in a second one. Put a cement block in bottom and good to go. Its not a long term solution but the idea of a rescue is rescue, rehabilitate and adopt out again. Granted here in Ohio if you can't prove red eared sliders are captive they are being euthanized. Its that large of a problem in Ohio. Most of ours are getting euthanized.

    I would keep small for a while until you get hang of it.
  17. TJOHNSON722

    TJOHNSON722 Elite Member

    Everything I know, I learned from this site. Asking questions, reading past posts. Go through and read answers to questions. Even simple questions, I've learned are the ones where you get good info from. Example, what type uth should I get..... Turns out it may not have been the uth they needed to replace.
  18. TigerIvy

    TigerIvy Elite Member

    My best friend came over and I killed like way too much time. But I have not forgotten your pics!
  19. RockyGurly

    RockyGurly Well-Known Member

    Thanks again, Jhon! The guessing and checking makes more sense :) I'm kind of paranoid, so I examine my animals thouroughly and often. The trough sounds like an awesome idea, it isn't by any means a permanent solution.. but if I come across a slider who'll be euthinized, or released into the wild, or needs medical attention, it's a solution of some sort. My big worry is adopting them out after that, since there are simply so, so many of these turtles who need homes, and so few people willing to keep them properly. I don't want word to get out I have turtles and then end up with 100 turtles (mike the reptile guy said red eared sliders are the most common thing he sees, and he's gotten over 100 in a year! Scary.)
    No rush ivy :) I've got months to prepare! I appreciate your help a lot so worry about life first and then get back to me :p My book is coming along really well and I've learned tons in just a few days. I've got a lot of things filled in via the search bar and care sheets, which is awesome. But it really helps to know what I should be looking out for, what's more common, tips and tricks, etc. Every bit of info helps 8)
    (And I hope people don't mind I copy and paste for my book! o_o For the first ten pages, I tried writing everything out, but ten more pages later I find myself copying and pasting a lot. I mean, it's getting printed out and stuck in a binder for personal use.. but still.. )
  20. TigerIvy

    TigerIvy Elite Member

    here is a site you might want to check about about impaction. Warning, the pictures are graphic. The dragon autopsied died from impaction.

    Bearded Dragon Gross Anatomy

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