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Patches of Scales Missing. Is There Anything I Can Do?

Discussion in 'Common/Red Tail Boa' started by mightyrtb, Apr 21, 2014.

  1. mightyrtb

    mightyrtb New Member

    So I just got a new boa for free and it came with a lot of health problems.
    -Sounds like it has an RI
    -Had mites (Did a NIX treatment yesterday)
    -Has a couple torn patches of scales where you can see skin (pics)
    -Might have mouth rot(Not sure though) "lip" area looks kind of dirty and brown
    Is there something I can do for the patches of flesh?
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  2. MorganLeFay

    MorganLeFay Elite Member

    The skin patches look like old rodent bites to me. Reptiles take quite long to heal so the skin patches will not disappear overnight. You will see some improvement with every shed, but the scales most probably will not grow back and there will always be a scar. With all the things you listed, though, the only thing I'd recommend you do is take her/him to the vet ASAP. RI and mouth rot are not to be taken lightly, and these wounds look relatively fresh so they mind need to be looked at as well. Not to be rude, but the vet bills for this snake will probably be equal to or even exceed its price. There's always a catch when you get animals 'for free'...
    Anyway, best of luck with her and keep us posted. :)
  3. mightyrtb

    mightyrtb New Member

    Yeah, i'm sure the vet would be pretty spendy. I'd like to try to fix him up myself. Rodent bites are likely since she was feeding him live rats.
  4. MorganLeFay

    MorganLeFay Elite Member

    For now keep the enclosure spotlessly clean. And I mean spotlessly - if she got an infection now it would definitely be very bad for her whole system. If the bites seem fairly fresh (you can tell best, but from the pictures they still look a bit raw in some places) you can treat them a few time a day with small dabs of antibiotic ointment (betadine, peroxide, iodine). Use any oil-based treatments sparingly and never outside the wound area as they may cause the top layer of the healthy scales to flake off (happened to me once and believe me, you don't want it, lol). No fancy things/sharp objects in her enclosure right now + use paper towels as bedding. Keep track of the proper temps and humidity (she'll probably be shedding more often now in order to heal the bites) and watch her closely. But I really do recommend seeing a vet, even if just for an evaluation. You don't know exactly what's wrong and unless you're a trained veterinarian you're very likely to mess up at some point (with all due respect:)) and then the snake will just have to go through unnecessary discomfort. As for home RI treatments, here's a useful link that you might find helpful :Guide to Home Treatment for Respiratory Infections (R.I) With Pics - Reptile Forums
  5. Dragoness

    Dragoness Elite Member

    MorganLeFay has excellent advice. Get those temps up (a few degrees warmer will give the immune system a boost), jeep it CLEAN! and make sure your boa has fresh water at all times, and a secure hide. For now, I'd say keep handling to minimal necessary interactions.

    When my snakes have had injuries, after the first shed, if all goes well, you have healthy pale skin covering the site of the wound. Successive sheds do not generate new scales, but nearby scales will slowly grow into the area a bit, resulting in a few wonky looking scales. It may not ever get fully covered again. Mine have never had injuries that large, usually just a scratch here, or in one case, some bad cuts on the face from trying to escape.
  6. EriksExotics

    EriksExotics Elite Member

    If you suspect that the snake has mouth rot, you need to go to a vet. There's no cheap way around it and it needs ti be treated or it will progress and the snake can die. Mouth rot is also usually the result of underlying health issues such as internal injuries or sickness(es).

    Not to be rude but there are some things you can do at home and some things that need to be assessed by a vet.. Costly or not, you need to take him to a vet if you expect a positive outcome.

    As for the scales, I can recommend a few things for hone treatment.

    Keep the enclosure extremely insanely OCD clean.
    The He's going to heal with sheds. I have a Dumeril's with a big scar on her nose and the damage on her was much less and even with that being said, it took about three sheds/approx six months to heal so don't expect this to get better over night. Boas do not have scales so they can't grow any back but they will heal and scar eventually.


    One of the absolute most important parts is to leave the snake alone. Give him food, clean his cage, care for his injuries and give him water but do not handle him or open his cage for any other reason. It will stress him out and if he's stressed, his immune system will drop and it will be easier for infections to happen.

    Keep his hot spot no lower than 92° and no hotter than 98°. Any higher can cause nerve damage, any lower can help infections take place since a higher hot spot nakes for a better immune system.
  7. MorganLeFay

    MorganLeFay Elite Member

  8. EriksExotics

    EriksExotics Elite Member

    Boa Constrictors have rough folds of skin but not scales :p

    To the op: If you see symptoms, the mouth rot is likely already pretty bad. The longer it takes to get to a vet, the worse it'll get. Don't play around with mouth rot.
    Last edited: Apr 22, 2014
  9. MorganLeFay

    MorganLeFay Elite Member

    OMG I had no idea! Really? Wow, thanks, I'm learning new things every day. :) Does this go for all boids or just some species?
  10. Merlin

    Merlin Administrator Staff Member Premium Member

    That's nonsense!

    Boa constrictors DO have scales!
  11. MorganLeFay

    MorganLeFay Elite Member

    I've always been sure that they do have scales - as in proper scales made out of keratin, as I have seen and handled some boas and there doesn't seem to be any difference between them and other snakes, but I've never really given it much thought. Where's the truth then?
  12. EriksExotics

    EriksExotics Elite Member

  13. Merlin

    Merlin Administrator Staff Member Premium Member

    This is ridiculous! They have scales! All you have to do is look at their skin or a shed!
  14. mshrmheadcharge

    mshrmheadcharge Moderator Staff Member Premium Member

    Oh my. Boas don't have scales? That's the most inaccurate thing I've read in a while.
    Erik, do you happen to write articles for the onion? Because you should.
  15. barb2014

    barb2014 New Member

    I had somewhat of the same issue but needs antibiotics for mouth rot vet charged 11 dollars for antibiotics and 50 for visit scales tend to fall when humidity is low and will grow back but you have to be careful on the might treatment since too much can harm snakes vet can give a shot for 12 dollars and prescribe the right dosage just make sure it is a herp vet cause other say they are and waste your time and money took about took four months of antibiotics three times a week finally for my snake to get better if not treated properly will started eating at its jaw bones and lose some teeth vet is recommended
  16. Poison

    Poison Elite Member

    Scales: each of the small, thin horny or bony plates protecting the skin of fish and reptiles, typically overlapping one another.

    Boas have scales.

    Erik, are you the same Erik from ssnakess?
  17. MorganLeFay

    MorganLeFay Elite Member

    When you look at a close-up of boa skin, it has regular scales similar to colubrids, unless there is a difference in chemical composition. Is there any scientific input on this besides the RedtailBoas site?
  18. MorganLeFay

    MorganLeFay Elite Member

    To all intents and purposes, scales are skin folds, as they are composed practically of the same material as the epidermis. Let's just stick to the version that all snakes have scales unless selectively bred not to, end of story.
  19. murrindindi

    murrindindi Elite Member

    Hi, to the OP; I have it on very good authority that Neosporin with or without pain relief is NOT suitable for reptile use because it`s petroleum based.
  20. EriksExotics

    EriksExotics Elite Member

    I am willing to discuss the whole scale thing if someone wants to make a thread but I'd prefer not to spam this thread

    @Poison, yes that was me. I'm no longer a member there

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