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More Shiiva Problems :( Mouth Rot??

Discussion in 'Ball Pythons' started by TitoAndKatt, Jan 29, 2014.

  1. TitoAndKatt

    TitoAndKatt Elite Member

    So I am still having major problems with Shiiva. :( Her nose healed, the antibiotics cleared up the wheezing, and I thought all was good. Well she still has not shed her eye cap (though I think some of it came off which I hope is good) and she is nose rubbing super badly. Nothing has changed in her cage for years other than humidity levels which always vary (even the vet said on our last visit "yeah, humidity is almost impossible up here"). I don't know why she is suddenly nose rubbing so much. Her poor nose is a mess, I think the entire scale is gone this time instead of just a rub wound. When I put Silver Sulfadiaine on it her nose tip feels indented over the wound - like the scale is gone. Well on top of that, her upper lip now seems swollen! :'( I'm wasn't 100% sure at first if maybe I was just reading too much into it and over-analyzing every little thing, especially when it seemed to go down after a soak. But now I'm not so sure. It still looks swollen today, almost like a tiny over-bite. I have never previously payed so much attention to her mouth, because she has always been so healthy I wasn't busy microscopically investigating every thing. But I just don't think it looks normal. The vet is in for walk-ins on Saturday, so I am hoping I can get her in then. She seems fine other than her poor face. She is super active and drinking water. She hasn't eaten in a while, but that is normal for her (she rarely eats more frequently than every 6 weeks, even when I try to feed her more often).

    I got her a new hide this week since she had broken through her old one (big girl!) and since keeping a wet towel inside the cage for humidity was causing the hide to start to mold - not good. She has a nice plastic rubbermaid hide now and she loves it. I also bought a brick of sphagnum moss to put in her cage, but I misplaced the darn thing and can't find it anywhere.

    Anyways, hopefully we can get in on a walk-in basis on Sat, if not I plan on booking the first scheduled appointment after that. Meanwhile, I appreciate any ideas or input! I'm at a total loss here. Like I said, nothing has changed in her set up for years and she has always been very healthy. :( I don't know what is going on here that has made her suddenly start nose rubbing so much and it's breaking my heart seeing her rip up her beautiful face.

    40 gallon breeder tank
    Hot/basking temp = 96F
    Cold side 75-80
    Humidity - varies, I had it up to a solid 60% but it has been lower since I had to take the wet towel out bc of the mold Plastic hide should fix that though, so it should be back up to 50-60% (forgot to put the hygrometer back in the cage when I put her new hide in)
    Eats XL f/t Rats
    Huge water dish, plenty big enough to soak
    Gets regular soaks


    Pre-soak (my thumb is pulling her lower lip back a bit)



    Nose (white stuff is Silver Sulfadiazene cream)









    Kind of a neat shot of her poor eye


    Other eye, not as bad as the left
  2. Majora

    Majora Elite Member

    Her top lip does look a little bit swollen in some of the pics. Does the tank have a screen lid? If so you might want to see about replacing it with a custom lid (wood or plexi or something) so she won't have that to rub against. It would help keep your humidity stable too.

    I'd definitely get her back to the vet if it was me, just to make sure everything's ok. If she has a few layers of eye caps she may need help getting them off so you might want to have the vet advise you on that too. Good luck, she's a pretty girl, even with the nose rubs. :)
  3. TitoAndKatt

    TitoAndKatt Elite Member

    I hope the swelling is from rubbing her nose, and not something wrong with her mouth. :( Unfortunately right now I can't afford a new lid for her cage. The vet bills will already be pushing it as is. We are moving in a few months and the snakes will be getting some new, nice big custom built cages. No change one way or the other in her nose or lip so far.
  4. murrindindi

    murrindindi Elite Member

    Hi Kitty, I too think you need to replace the screen asap (it`s reasonable to assume it might have caused the current damage). It costs pennies (maybe even free) for an offcut of plywood/similar. The scale being gone is not a worry so long as there`s no infection.
  5. TitoAndKatt

    TitoAndKatt Elite Member

    A new plywood lid is not pennies.. I would have to have a way/place to place the lights, and a way to lock the lid to the tank so she cannot escape. Things I have neither the money, nor the equipment to do right now. And even if I did replace it, it doesn't solve the problem. There's nothing to say she won't rub on the new lid - and wood has splinters, that's worse than screen IMO because you risk infection. Also higher risk of mold/rot unless I seal it. I don't catch her nose rubbing often, but I have seen her rub on her water dish, tank glass, and wood branches when she does. I can't just strip down her entire cage... What I CAN do is line the inside of the lid with a few layers of foil (other than where the lights are), but again that still doesn't prevent her from rubbing on anything that is a physical surface. And replacing the lid would only be a band-aid - I need to figure out WHY she is rubbing. If it were another animal, I might guess boredom... but she gets out to explore (I even set up little "jungle gyms" for her to climb on), and her cage has been exactly the same for years so why would she suddenly get that bored?
    I'm thinking that the most likely answer is the initial nose rub from bad shed+ low humidity is the culprit. Though her nose looked almost completely healed in between each rub, I'm thinking perhaps the healing nose itched. Then by itching it she is recreating the wound worse each time, and making it itch even worse. That's my best guess at this point. Hopefully the vet will have some ideas too.
    She has no signs of a URI, no lethargy. She is super active and alert. I'm terrified of mouth rot with her lip being swollen, but if it were mouth rot would it be worse? I've never dealt with mouth rot before, and even working at the vet clinic only ever saw one case but it was in a snake (a severe rescue) so far gone with other problems that everything looked severely wrong. In Shiiva it's only that mild, sometimes hardly noticeable, sticking out of her upper lip... Her mouth looked good when the vet checked before, and I can't think of any way she could have injured it unless she did something eating. I'm really, really, really hoping it's just her nose.

    I had the humidity under really good control using wet towels. The towels get washed regularly, but her hide molded. She has a new, plastic hide now so I've put the towels back in and she has nice humid air again. :) I plan on putting some sphagnum moss in her hide as well, but I misplaced the darn thing and can't find it anywhere. I'll have to get some more if it doesn't show up soon. The 2-towel method works beautifully though. She also gets regular soaks.

    Vet on Saturday is still the plan.
  6. TitoAndKatt

    TitoAndKatt Elite Member

    Thank you. :) I think she is beautiful too, and it breaks my heart to see her tearing up her pretty little nose. :( The vet initially said we should wait a few sheds for the eye caps to try and let her get them off on her own. I'm not sure what she will want to do now since they are still there. I've actually been doing some reading and I found a few sites saying that ball pythons are prone to developing wrinkles on their eyes from dehydration due to low humidity levels. Considering low humidity was the original suspect for the *supposedly* stuck caps, and that they haven't come off - I'm wondering if she really does have stuck caps, or if she just has wrinkled eyes? NOW she has a partially stuck cap for sure on her left eye from the last shed. But I wonder if the wrinkles are really caps...
  7. murrindindi

    murrindindi Elite Member

    Hi again Kitt-Katt, maybe the fact she`s used to coming out means she`s more likely to try and get out (and possibly rub against the top/other items).
    Just because she lost the scale it doesn`t necessarily mean any infection will turn to mouth rot, but if it did and was caught early there`s every chance she`d make a good recovery.
  8. TitoAndKatt

    TitoAndKatt Elite Member

    It's not the lost scale that concerns me RE mouth rot, but the swelling of her upper lip. Like I said though, I'm not sure if that could be a sign of mouth rot with just the little swelling that is there...? She wouldn't let me look in her mouth and I didn't want to over-stress her by continuing to try.
  9. TitoAndKatt

    TitoAndKatt Elite Member

    The vet was in an emergency surgery when I went in today, after that she went right into a really critical emergency case so I wasn't able to get in. Going to try again tomorrow. She's only open for walk-ins this week, and I want Shiiva to see the same vet. She's still active and there's no change in her lip. Her nose might be looking a little bit better today, it's hard to tell for sure.
  10. TitoAndKatt

    TitoAndKatt Elite Member

    Well just got back from the vet. Good news - NO mouth rot! Vet said her nose is still just superficial damage but the irritation of causing her upper lip to swell. I'm going to continue putting Silver Sulfadiazene on her nose, but with an even wider margin. She also suggested covering any uncovered glass of her tank. We've never had a problem with the glass being uncovered before, it doesn't stress her out or anything, but she does tap her nose on the glass. Not rubbing, but tapping around as she explores. Hopefully covering the glass to provide a visual barrier will stop her from doin that as much and help her nose heal.
    No infection, her eye caps are definitely still stuck but the vet said they look good otherwise - no infection or anything like that. She suggested a stronger type of eye drop that I'll have to pick up tomorrrow, and continued soaks and monitoring.

    So overall, relatively good news. I'm relieved!

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