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Reptile Wounds

Discussion in 'Herp Health' started by BlackJack, Dec 31, 2004.

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  1. BlackJack

    BlackJack Subscribed User Premium Member

    As most of you have probably read, Talyn seriously injured herself the night after Christmas. It's a bad injury: one major cut with the skin torn off to the muscle and another big slice as well as smaller puncture wounds, so don't look if you have a weak stomach!
    She seems to be handling it better than me: she is alert, active and she ate a good-sized rat shortly after the injury. My husband (a people doctor) checks the wounds daily as we wash them out and apply antibiotic creams:

    Question: does anyone have any experience with wound-healing with their snakes? Will this wound scab? Will the skin and scales grow back? How long does it take for snake wounds to heal?
    I've heard they go through several sheds rapidly after injury... my vet is hopelessly unhelpful here...
    I just want to know what to expect.. Thanks!
  2. Merlin

    Merlin Administrator Staff Member Premium Member

    Reptiles are very slow to heal. It is going to take time. With each shed you will probably see improvement. However I have seen many snakes that had obviously had some large wounds at one time and have healed up but retained a scar. The normal skin pattern did not return. The smaller wounds will most likely all but disappear with successive sheds. Due to the size of the larger wound I suspect that Talyn will carry the marks of this for a very long time.
    I know that this is not what you wanted to hear and hopefully she will prove me wrong.
    However the fact that her behavior is normal and she is eating is a good sign. I'll take a scarred snake over a dead one any day!
  3. Jay DeMore

    Jay DeMore Elite Member

    So sorry to hear this. Lenore, Hannah's RTB had serious burns to her nose when she was found and since I have taken her in she has shed 3 times. The burn is gine and there is no noticable scarring. However, her injury was no where near as severe as this. Snakes are amazing animals though, time will tell.
  4. steel rip

    steel rip Elite Member

    I have read snakes shed there skin more frequently to speed up healing, not sure of the actual process tho, scabbing over ECT, heres a web page I found, it doesn't have much, its for sick or injured snakes, and basically just says to treat it just as you are doing already. CLICK HERE
  5. BlackJack

    BlackJack Subscribed User Premium Member

    Actually I don't really expect her skin to grow back in that spot and I agree completely with you Merlin: I'd rather have her alive and scarred than not at all.
    Talyn is still an extremely beautiful animal and no amount of scarring will change that! I love her more and more and will do everything to make sure nothing like this ever happens to her again!!

    I was just curious as to the healing process, time-line, etc. I guess I'll find out eventually. Thanks for all the responses. :)
  6. Merlin

    Merlin Administrator Staff Member Premium Member

    And thats exactly why Talyn is one VERY lucky snake! ;)
  7. Herpmom

    Herpmom Elite Member

    when my Frosty had his surgery the vet gave me this stuff called "Collasate" which is a postoperative dressing. Pretty much like liquid bandaid.

    It creates an artificial scab over the wound until the skin repairs and heals underneath. It says it can be used on a fairly large area....and because it's water proof.....there was no need to constantly cleanse the wound (an act which could prolong the healing process)
  8. BlackJack

    BlackJack Subscribed User Premium Member

    Thanks, HerpMom, I'll ask my vet about that... I just want to do the right things to help her heal now.
  9. Herpmom

    Herpmom Elite Member

    you're doing an awesome job....keep it up and good luck with your baby.
  10. BlackJack

    BlackJack Subscribed User Premium Member

    Well, I called the vet clinic and they're not familiar with Collasate here in Switzerland... I ordered it online from the States but then, suddenly, felt unsure about using it on such a large deep wound. I was hoping to get a telephone consultation or e-mail the vet about it, but that's apparently not possible. I was hoping to spare Talyn a trip in a pillowcase across town in freezing weather inside my sweater... but, in spite of my doubts about this vet (the "local reptile expert")'s competence, I decided to take her in tomorrow.

    My sister "Baxter" says it's a waste of money, she's doing fine and I should just be patient, but the neurotic snake mommy in me feels the need "to do something" :eek: and to get some sort of second or third opinion on how the healing process is progressing.

    I'll let you know if the vet has any useful advice.
  11. Herpmom

    Herpmom Elite Member

    I hear ya....I'm the same way. I spent at least 5,000 last year in vet bills. I've learn a ton and hope this year is a healthy one.

    Let us know what they say. In the mean time, check out this will explain all about what collasate is and does

    I'm hoping for the best, for your lil' un.
  12. BlackJack

    BlackJack Subscribed User Premium Member

    sewn up!

    Well, as I mentioned my husband didn't like the look of the way the wound was healing, so we decided a vet visit was in order.
    The vet decided to put Talyn under anesthesia, clean out the wounds and try to sew them up. I was there for almost 3 hours this morning!
    Here's one before pic and the two after surgery pics.
    Thanks for the link, Herpmom: I ordered the collasate from that site. Do you think I can put it over these stitches? Talyn's not supposed to get them wet, but she's alread tipped the small water dish and when I replaced it with the bigger one, she dragged herself through it. My vet never heard of collasate, but it sounds like it could serve as extra protection now that the wounds are cleaned out and closed up... any ideas??

    Attached Files:

  13. Ryan

    Ryan Elite Member

    i hope he recovers soon.
    tell talyn i told him tobe strong and heal quick
  14. Herpmom

    Herpmom Elite Member

    oh definately and it will keep the wound from further contamination & heal it much faster
  15. Merlin

    Merlin Administrator Staff Member Premium Member

    Something you might try in the meantime is a trick I saw in Reptiles magazine recently. There was a case where a snake required medication being put on its skin and they couldn't keep it from getting rubbed off. They used a condom and slipped it over the area and secured it with a stretch bandage. The attached picture is from that article.

    Attached Files:

  16. BlackJack

    BlackJack Subscribed User Premium Member

    Thanks for the tips everyone. Ryan I've already passed on your message. She's definitely being strong...for good and bad! Hopefully she'll also decide to heal quickly! I feel a lot better now that the wounds are closed.

    The daily antibiotics and painkiller injections should be interesting!! Good thing my husband is a doctor and knows how to do injections. I'll be the one holding her still and hoping not to get bit!

    Thanks Herpmom: I ordered the collasate FedEx next day express but it hasn't arrived yet. :mad: The shipping cost more than the gel!! I hope it gets here by tomorrow!
    This is a bit late, but $5,000.00 in vet bills?!?! OUCH!! How many animals do you have?
    This visit will probably run me around $200 plus the cost for the next few follow up appts.

    Merlin, I've heard of the condom trick, but I'm a bit skeptical about getting it that far down. Also she's looking a bit cloudy, so I'm going to wait a bit to see if she's going into a shed. I'll keep it as a back-up option though; thanks for the pic!
  17. Herpmom

    Herpmom Elite Member

    I hope you get it soon. The more I read about that stuff, the more I like the sound of it and plan to keep it in my first aid kit always. Most animals won't keep bandages on and with it's natural pain management....I can invision it's potential.

    I have 51 right now: 5 snakes (3 corns / 2 balls), 2 mountain horned dragons, 1 club-tail agama, 3 mali uros, 2 iguanas, 1 savannah monitor, 5 leopard geckos, 2 rankins dragons, 30 bearded dragons. (not to mention 1 pionus parrot, 2 sugar gliders, 1 rabbit, 1 mainecoon cat and 1 shepard).

    I take any new animal I get in for an initial check up and fecal. But I also do rescue work (some I've kept some I've found good homes for), so alot of money went for their vet fees.
  18. BlackJack

    BlackJack Subscribed User Premium Member

    VERY fitting name then "Herpmom!" 51 ?! Wow!
    I admire you're passion and dedication and that you don't scrimp on the check-ups and fecals in spite of the costs!

    Thanks for all the help. My two snakes have really put me through a major "crash course" in reptile medicine and care these last few months. I think 2 is my ultimate limit for the next few years at least!
  19. Herpmom

    Herpmom Elite Member

    ((blushes)).....thank you. And you are most welcome.

    I've had a few crash courses of my own and suffered conflicting advice from inexperienced vets....which propted my purchase of some reptile medical books(Dr. Frye's "Biomedical & surgical aspects of captive reptiles" & "Reptile diseases"), not to replace a professional herp vet, but to know everything I can to help my animals. They've helped me when I felt something was not quiet right & in determining the most qualified vet for my babies.

    I want to commend you though.....not everyone can admit or recognize their limits. It takes a very strong willed person....If there were more people like you, there would less animals in need of rescue. (((stands & claps)))
  20. BlackJack

    BlackJack Subscribed User Premium Member

    Now I'M BLUSHING :p
    Honestly, I should have stopped at Talyn and waited at least a year before getting the baby BP, Monty. But although these two have put me through the wringer; I love them both to bits and am doing everything I can to keep my footing.
    In the big picture we're doing OK. They both have enviable-sized terrariums and I really keep an eye on the temps and humidity levels, keep meticulous records of every feeding, urination, defecation, shed, water change, etc. As well as instant clean-ups of messes ... and LOTS LOTS LOTS of love.
    We are going to get the new edition of "Reptile Medicine and Surgery" when it comes out in February. Like you, not to replace a vet, but just to get as informed as possible!
    My vet made a surprisingly good impression today. But I hope not to need her too often in the future.
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