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Schneider's Skink With Possible Respiratory Infection? Home Treatment?

Discussion in 'Skinks' started by Monica, Apr 6, 2017.

  1. Monica

    Monica New Member

    I have a green and orange-spotted Schneider's Skink. He's 14 years old now. They can live to be 20. I'm worried he might have a respiratory infection. Last night before going into his cave, he opened and closed his mouth a few times, pretty exaggerated-like, which I've read is indicative of an RI. I didn't notice anything else like that earlier this week, but I'm gone all day. Last Thursday, though, I think he made a sort of clicking noise. Couldn't tell if he was flicking his tongue at me because I was in the room, or if it was another possible indication of a respiratory infection.

    His habitat and other details for reference:

    I have him in a 40 gallon cage, 36 x 18 x 18, with about 50 pounds of sand so that it's roughly 3 or 4 inches deep. There are two heat lamps, 2-50 watt halogen bulbs (which I understand are equivalent to 100 watts of heat), and I use the white one during the day and the red one at night. I put a thermometer near the basking spot light and it gets to about 90 degrees F. There is a 12 x 8 heat mat underneath the right side of the cage, and there is also a long UVB bulb that I positioned in the middle of the cage on top. I also used to have a bit of peat moss on the cool side that was dampened, which he liked in the past, so that he could cool off there. I haven't done that but plan on doing that again too.

    He used to eat silkworms, but he seemed to lose interest, so I just feed him mealworms these days. I've neglected coating them with calcium powder over the years, so presumably he could use more vitamins, so I plan on getting some ReptiVite in the next few days. I decided to try putting a smidge of chicken and liver pate (which has minerals and vitamins in it, high quality brand, we give it to our cat) along with the mealworms today. I change his water every day.

    I wrote the reptile vet nearest us (about 40 minutes away), and he said he can't diagnose over email, even with pictures, which I knew would be the case, but tried anyway. The visit starts at ~$100, which I think is probably fair, since he came recommended by a reptile enthusiast I know, but that isn't including possible exams or antibiotics or things, not to mention the stress of my lizard being put through an x-ray machine if that's what was called for.

    Can anyone give me some guidance, so that I can try and do things to improve things for my lizard at home so as to maybe avoid taking him to the vet? I'd rather not take him, just because he is so old and *so* not into being handled, that I worry that will stress him out much more than it would help him. He runs when I come near the cage, just because he knows in the past I would pick him up. I guess I just let too much time pass without handling him over the years, so now he's unaccustomed to it, and I try to leave him in peace as much as I can, while still tending to his needs.

    I found some forum threads online that mentioned home treatment methods for RIs in reptiles (though those were for snakes), such as putting boiling water and Vicks VapoRub in a bowl in a plastic tub, then putting him in a separate container inside the tub, and closing the lid so he breathes in those menthol / eucalyptus fumes to help his infection, if he has one. A different forum mentioned putting drops of ReptiAid (herbal, oral syringe, not sure there's much of anything in it) on his lips, and still another suggested using a ReptiFogger with boiling water and an F10 veterinary disinfectant, and doing the same thing (lizard in one tub, solution in another, all of them in one big tub, and fogging up the space so he breathes it in), but that sounded riskier.

    Links for reference to the above-mentioned home treatment threads:

    - Guide to Home Treatment for Respiratory Infections (R.I) With Pics - Reptile Forums

    - Treat a Respiratory Infection (RI) from Home. DIY

    I'd be happy to try some sort of home treatment, though may end up taking him in if things seem worse after keeping an eye on him tomorrow. Open to any advice.

    If it helps, here are some pictures of his set-up, his food and him (he was still sleeping in his cave, so it's just a bit of his head that you can see in them, sorry!).
    IMG_20170406_081940502.jpg IMG_20170406_092457228.jpg IMG_20170406_082323914.jpg IMG_20170406_082657415.jpg IMG_20170406_082724427.jpg
  2. Monica

    Monica New Member

    Figured I'd update for anyone else who runs into this with their pet. I asked a variety of people about the home treatment methods and they all said don't do it and to most definitely take your lizard to the vet. So I did.

    The vet did some blood work and started him on antibiotic shots. I was also advised to keep his basking spot at the warmest level of his recommended range (~100 / 104° F for this particular kind of lizard) and to give him a bath / place to soak himself in order to shed better.

    I've never had to worry about him before, but now I'm having trouble getting the warm side of his tank to register as being warmer than 90° F and am trying to figure out if two basking spots are a good idea or going to cook him (!) and if I need a more accurate thermometer or two or a different place for them or what.

    In any case, don't skip on the vet if you can afford it.

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