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Milk Snake Injured?

Discussion in 'Herp Health' started by darkrapture, May 25, 2008.

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  1. darkrapture

    darkrapture Member

    I will start off describing "Spaide's" habitat and hopefully get some advice on how to help her.

    *25 gallon tall aquarium with a metal screen lid (reptile lid with door, powder coated for smoothness).
    *Half liter water bowl sanitized daily.
    *8 watt UTH that provides avg daytime temp of 85F in the warm area, 80F in cooler area with about 8-10F drop at night.
    *Driftwood for climbing and silk plants for decoration and privacy.
    *Hide cave in the warm side, driftwood hide in the cool side.
    *Reptile bark and coco fiber substrate.
    *She readily eats pre-killed large hoppers about every 7-14 days (I breed my own mice).
    *Offered food in a separate 8 gallon converted rubbermaid with screen sides and top for viewing/ventillation.

    Now for the dilemma: She has swollen areas on her sides from about halfway down her body to her cloaca. Close inspection of her scales reveal 'wrinkles' or crease marks, perhaps from coiling up in certain ways because she is thick bodied. This may not be related to her current condition. It almost looks like lumps! I have never encountered anything like this and have owned herps for about 15 years.

    I checked in her cage to see if anything matches her 'injury' in shape and have ruled out the lid unless she got stuck between the top ridge of the aquarium frame, and lid. I question whether she could have gotten stuck between some driftwood and the substrate and worked her way out leaving some swollen areas... My last thought is that she may have contracted some kind of illness but my research has failed to provide me with any useful information. I inspected her cloaca and found there was some clotted blood and wiped it off. There does not appear to be any bruising in that area, but internal damage could be possible in the swollen areas.

    I have refrained from feeding her since last week when I noticed the problem. She is still active in her regular routine and is almost more handleable than usual. I am looking for a vet in the area to get X-rays to see if there is internal damage. Her spine looks fine with no swelling above or below on the belly. The 'lumps' are only on the sides, grouped together, in elongated swelling. I hope that I have been clear in what I am trying to describe...

    In the meantime I will remove the bark and replace it with coco fiber and leave her alone. I want to get her to the vet before trying to feed her again. Any advice or experiences?
  2. Rich

    Rich Administrator Staff Member Premium Member

    You have me puzzled. The only things that come to mind would be an impaction, or a gravid snake.

    I have no experience with what you are describing though. I am speculating based off of what you have written. An x-ray will reveal if there is a blockage, or eggs for that matter. If its an internal injury, that too will be revealed. In some instances of internal bleeding, you will be able to see blood pooling if you look at the belly where abnormality is. There will be a dark discoloration that will begin to appear. Over the course of a few days, it will enlarge as more blood pools. Of course, this isn't a practical way to ensure the snake does or does not have internal injuries. It also doesn't work this way with all snakes.

    If its possible, post a picture.

    I wish you the best. Please keep us informed following the x-rays.
  3. darkrapture

    darkrapture Member

    Well, there is no discoloration near the belly, it is almost like the muscles on the very side of her ribs are injured. She has not been mated and I did not think that it is possible to have eggs form in this case, but it definitely looks likes the injury is on the outside of the ribcage... I'll post a couple pictures.


  4. kenman1963

    kenman1963 Moderator

    From the pictures it looks like she's gravid. We have a Hoggs Island / Columbian cross that has lumps on both sides as well. We took him in for x-rays years ago and the vet determined it was just the way his muscles developed, probably due to genetics with the cross breeding. I too say you should get an x-ray done.
  5. darkrapture

    darkrapture Member

    I realize I did not mention her age. She was attained at 3-6 months of age and I have had her for about a year now. I was trying to do some research about the possibility of producing eggs in the absence of a male and have been unsuccessful. Is it actually possible?

    My thoughts lead me to agree with the comment from Kenman1963 about muscle formation. Obviously I can only speculate until I have x-rays done. I am having difficulty locating an experienced exotic vet near my city, so hopefully I will find one soon! I reside in a surrounding city of Vancouver BC, one would think that it should be easier to locate one!!
  6. Rich

    Rich Administrator Staff Member Premium Member

    I did a quick search for you, and this is what I came up with for that area:
    (I am not sure if any of these are close, but they deal with exotics.)

    Anderson's Animal Hospital
    8465 Granville Street
    Vancouver, B.C.
    (604) 263-6767


    Chris Harvey-Clark
    University of British Columbia
    6199 S. Campus Rd.
    Vancouver, B.C.
    V6T 1W5


    Dunbar Vet Hospital
    39th & Dunbar
    Vancouver, B.C.
    V6N 1W6

    I hope one of those helps. ;)
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