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V's Recovery Thread

Discussion in 'Common/Red Tail Boa' started by Dragoness, Nov 26, 2014.

  1. Dragoness

    Dragoness Elite Member

    V had a follow-up visit at the vet today and his prognosis seems improved.

    His rough start is covered here:

    Today's Vet visit:

    All wounds were cleaned of all necrotic tissue. Bathing and ointment for the last 2 weeks had caused the necrotic tissue to separate from the healthy tissue underneath, and most sloughed off very easily. Tail and face scabs were removed to examine underlying tissues, all of which appear healthy. (Pics below)

    Wounds were cleaned with Chlorhexadine, and liquid bandage was applied to form a barrier in lieu of actual skin.

    The vet believes the Respiratory Infection is clearing up very nicely, and any wheezing I hear is likely due to the fact that V's nostrils are trashed (as in gone, destroyed, or blocked.)

    He will still be on antibiotics for another 2 weeks at least, but this may be his last 2 weeks on them. Pending review at next appointment.

    Moving forward, the vet feels that once all other problems are resolved, surgically closing the largest wounds would expedite the healing process.

    His routine for the next 2 weeks is to rinse the wounds with chlorhexadine (Just spray them, no need to bathe him) and apply SSD in a thin coating.

    Every 3 days, I will need to thoroughly clean the wounds, reapply liquid bandage, and give antibiotic injection.

    Next appointment is December 10th.

    V. 11.26.14 002.jpg

    V. 11.26.14 005.jpg

    V. 11.26.14 006.jpg

    V. 11.26.14 004.jpg

    V. 11.26.14 009.jpg
  2. Darkbird

    Darkbird Elite Member

    Wow, I guess I didn't have a good understanding of just how large the wounds were from the other thread. I mean I know the wounds are getting better, they just seem larger to me now that they are cleaned up and starting to heal. Glad he is doing better now though.
  3. Logan

    Logan Elite Member

    That's what happens when dead tissue builds up. Everything looks smaller until it comes off.

    Poor guy.
  4. lizardhoarder139

    lizardhoarder139 Elite Member

    Wow, I was just thinking the same thing. There must have been quite a bit of dead tissue. It's good that it's all gone and is able to just heal now :) hopefully his nostrils clear up alittle bit. So that he can breath alittle better. Keep up the good work :)
  5. Dragoness

    Dragoness Elite Member

    He shed last night. It went predictably poorly. When I checked on him, he had half of his face, halfway up.

    V shed 006.jpg
    Note the retained eye cap starting to peel back a little.

    When I checked on him this morning, he looked pretty tattered. Humidity in his enclosure was between 72-76% every time I have checked on him for the last 3 days.

    V shed 022.jpg

    Per the vets advice, a bath followed, in which the skin had to be peeled. Though the vet was clear that he would never advocate it for a healthy snake, with the damage here, the skin is unlikely to shed on it's own, and left in place, can cause more problems - especially around any injuries.

    Most of it came off pretty easy with gentle rubbing in a warm bath. He still has a few spots stuck on pretty tight - not near wounds - that I will continue to work on, but the worst of it is off.

    The vet said to expect adhesion anywhere there was damage - so pretty much everywhere but his belly. Though there were only about 6 gaping holes you guys have already seen, there were probably a dozen other lesions that were pea to dime sized that are nor much more visible, and a literal lacework of minor scale damage (which shows now as white skin peeking out between chewed-down scales in a lacy pattern that covers most of him.)

    V shed 028.jpg

    On the bright side, he did clear off that extra eye cap he had, and cleaned up his nose pretty good - and I can see both nostrils again.

    V shed 026.jpg
    Note, the lack of retained eye cap.

    Because there was such extensive damage to the scales on his back and sides, it stuck everywhere. Belly aside, the biggest pieces that came off of him were no more than a few square inches.

    V shed 023.jpg
    This was one of the damages pieces - it felt thick, almost leathery (may have been more than one layer...) and was visibly screwy. Most pieces looked like this one.

    Almost complete belly shed:
    V shed 034.jpg

    Overall, he looks better and worse at the same time. A LOT more damage is visible, but all of it looks healthy.
  6. king1239

    king1239 Elite Member

    He's looking better , I don't know how someone could let it go this far in the first place... that being said you are doing a great job in helping him recover, will the big wounds ever fully heal ?
  7. Dragoness

    Dragoness Elite Member

    Though they will heal, he will always be scarred. The vet wants to discuss a major surgery to close them at the next visit. I'm hoping we can book it in January (or whenever after that the vets feels is a good time to do it) so that I can use my Christmas money to help pay for it. Sooner than that may see me taking out a loan, and using my x-mas money to pay it off, lol.

    We need a few other things to fall into place first - one of which I believe is eating. He has been fed live food for his whole life, so he will need to be converted. The vet thinks it will be a problem, but I have dealt with stubborn snakes before, so I feel I can win this battle.
  8. Darkbird

    Darkbird Elite Member

    Well, him being a boa, I doubt there will be too much issue getting him to take frozen. All mine are normally fed live, but will readily take F/T if I'm low on feeders. I think the bigger issue will be whether he has the desire to eat, which hopefully he will.
  9. Merlin

    Merlin Administrator Staff Member Premium Member

    I agree. My experience with boas is they are garbage disposals! I think mine would hit an old shoe if I were to offer it.
  10. Dragoness

    Dragoness Elite Member

    Well, he hasn't eaten in at least 4 months, possibly longer. Though he is a little underweight, he is not emaciated, and the vet says he has enough fat reserves for now to get him through a few more weeks or months if need be. The mouth is looking much better. The other concern is that if he constricts (as many will do, even to F/T prey) it might cause some stretching or tearing of his wounds, which could be a problem if they have been stitched. I'd have to ask, but I think the plan is to get him eating before the big surgery, and see whether he will just swallow a dead rat, or if he feels the need to constrict it (which is likely, since he has never seen a dead rat before)

    Most of the wounds are along the second half of his body, so stretching them out from the size of a large meal is less of a worry. By the time a large meal gets that far along, it's usually starting to shrink.
  11. CTU2fan

    CTU2fan Elite Member

    I hadn't even thought of the wounds/stretching issues, I was thinking more that the damage to his face might make him not want to strike and swallow. Smallish prey might help, even if he's conditioned to constrict with a smaller rat maybe he'd only throw a coil or 2 over it.
  12. Dragoness

    Dragoness Elite Member

    with most of my snakes, they only throw one or two coils - and if the prey continues to 'move' they will keep coiling more and more until it stops.

    Went through that converting my picky BP to F/T, because if he struck and it stopped moving right away, he stopped. I had to hold the leg with tongs for a couple minutes wiggling it.

    His face actually looks pretty good - most of the damage seems to be on the outside, an on the nose, not the bottom jaw, so I think taking normal size prey is an option, if the snake is willing. The inside of the mouth is not in bad shape.
  13. CTU2fan

    CTU2fan Elite Member

    Well that's encouraging. It must have you tempted to offer him some prey...
  14. Dragoness

    Dragoness Elite Member

    I am sorely tempted, but I will wait for the vets approval. I see him again on Thursday.
  15. SebastiansExotics

    SebastiansExotics Elite Member

    Wow! what a great read! I recommend everybody read this from beginning to end (starting on the first thread).
  16. Dragoness

    Dragoness Elite Member

    It's been an adventure for sure, and I am more than ready for it to be over.

    That said, I am developing some nice biceps from regular 'arm wrestling' matches with V. Though he tolerates his wound care without complaint (as in, no hissing, biting, or aggression - he is mainly and understandably defensive), he does try, almost constantly, to escape. It has become a bit of a chore. He struggles more at each bath. I check temps, so I know it isn't too hot. I aim for 90ºF +/- 1º, so it's pretty consistent.

    Gotta use one hand to hold his neck (otherwise he is OUT of there.) the other hand to clean the wounds, and in the meantime, coils everywhere.

    That new-skin stuff hurts. I put some on myself this morning when one of my cats tore open a finger - that crap burns. No wonder he struggles...
  17. Logan

    Logan Elite Member

    Yup. And unfortunately he no speakaaah da engrish you can't explain it to him. I'm definitely interested to see how he looks once he's all healed up. I got to hold a red tail that came from a rough situation one day. His injuries were nothing compared to this and he had some pretty gnarly scars.
  18. Dragoness

    Dragoness Elite Member

    scales will kind of grow in to cover the 'bald spots' that area result of the scarring, but that takes time. When my little boa mashed his nose up, the lesion was only a 1/4" circle - and that took almost a year to heal, with the scales encroaching a bit more with each shed.

    I can only imagine what this guy will look like a year from now.
  19. Logan

    Logan Elite Member

    Hoppppeulfully significantly better.
  20. Darkbird

    Darkbird Elite Member

    That's about the only possible outcome as long as he eats. Can't imagine him looking any worse than he did and still being alive in another year.
    Merlin likes this.

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