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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

    Well, good news all around.

    The vet is no longer recommending surgery after seeing the improvement after the last shed.

    He does not think the oral tissues will be an issue (I asked because the scar tissue prevents V from closing his mouth completely, I was worried they would dry out and have recurring problems)

    He does however want to take a biopsy of and remove the cyst, but he wants to wait until the wounds are closed up a little more. A few more sheds.

    Only issue right now is that he has had 3 meals and no poop. Has me soaking him for 2 hours a day in a bin in his cage to encourage defecation. Failing that, it's laxatives and an enema in 2 weeks.

    The improvised heater worked very well. I ended up using a 25 watt red light, but I think I will try and pick up a 60-75 watt ceramic heater or similar object in the future.

    Later, I'll get some pics of what I did.
  2. toddnbecka

    toddnbecka Well Established Member

    A vent isn't necessary for a short trip, a large cooler would hold enough air for hours. If you're worried the id could be opened briefly to freshen the interior, but keep in mind that reptiles in sealed shipping boxes never suffocate overnight.
    Dragoness likes this.
  3. CTU2fan

    CTU2fan Elite Member

    I wondered with the progress in his healing if he might not cancel the surgery. That is good news.

    Snake enema possibility, not such good news. Hopefully he's just channeling his inner blood python and he gives you a poop soon.
  4. Dragoness

    Dragoness Elite Member

    We'll do what we gotta do. If we have to enema.... the vet says he has a special tub for that, because it sometimes works very quickly...

    Minimal ventilation for such a contraption would probably be deemed adequate when I drill a hole in the lit to admit the probe for the thermostat to keep the heat panel from baking the snake. Straw-sized.
  5. toddnbecka

    toddnbecka Well Established Member

    I'm wondering if he's not pooping because he's in maximum nutrition absorption mode. After going so long w/out food maybe his digestive system is working slower to extract all it can from what he's eaten lately?
  6. Dragoness

    Dragoness Elite Member

    I was wondering the same thing, and I did ask the vet about it.

    He said even with him needing to bulk up his fat stores a little, and using some of the extra calories to shed, there should still be SOME waste forthcoming, even if it isn't very much - just the hair, because the rest got absorbed.

    The odd part is, V actually weighs about a pound less at yesterday's visit than he did on his first visit on Nov 11, 2014. Though he has eaten 2 jumbo rats and a small guniea pig. . . and not pooped them out.

    My best guess is that he lost some more weight during all the antibiotics and treatments before we started him eating again. He has passed a lot of urates and fluids, and drinks very well...

    I am inclined to believe it is probably just some constipation. It had been a minimum of 3 months since his last meal, possibly longer. And with him eating live, there is a strong chance that he has parasites, too, but I won't know until he poops and I can run a fecal...

    All I can really do is speculate right now.

    Knowing the previous owners, I would also not be surprised if they fed him wild rats, either. They did live in Flint, wild rats would be easy to acquire. . .
  7. CTU2fan

    CTU2fan Elite Member

    I actually used to feed a lot of wild mice. I had a mouse infestation in my old apartment, and all anyone ever did was lay those awful glue boards. So I bought some regular snap traps and either fed them fresh killed or froze them (we had a LOT of mice). Probably not the safest thing, but I never had any issues with parasites. Of course live wild rats is another matter.

    I was going to ask if he'd passed any urates, since that's a yes I'm a little less concerned. Hopefully you get one soon, it will be good to run that fecal too.
  8. Dragoness

    Dragoness Elite Member

    He has passed enough urates to make his morning bath looks like a sulfur spring, and smell like one too!
  9. BrownFoundling

    BrownFoundling Established Member

    Well you know he is well hydrated then. Lol!
  10. Dragoness

    Dragoness Elite Member

    Well, he did poop. A totally normal looking poop, so everything is in working order.
    TamJam and lizardhoarder139 like this.
  11. BrownFoundling

    BrownFoundling Established Member

  12. CTU2fan

    CTU2fan Elite Member

    Hooray for poop!

    I feel like "eagerly awaiting a poop" belongs on that old "you might be a herper if" list from back in the day.
    Merlin and lizardhoarder139 like this.
  13. Dragoness

    Dragoness Elite Member

    Well, he had another vet checkup.

    The wounds have now formed all of their own scabs, which is good- he no longer needs the 'new skin' liquid bandage to seal them up, which is also good, because now that he feels okay, he is too active, and he was rubbing it all off anyways.

    Eating and pooping like he should be.

    Vet said he is through it all, and in the clear. The only things I need to continue doing is monitoring the wounds at sheds to make sure all the skin comes cleanly off, and using the ointment if I think he needs it, mainly to keep the wounds from drying out.

    We have been monitoring the cyst on his belly, and it has not changed. The vet said he is uninclined to worry about it unless he sees a change, in which case we will biopsy/remove it.

    Because there is persistent wheezing, the vet believes he has some permanent scarring/damage to his nasal cavities/upper respiratory which may mean he will always be a noisy breather, but as long as no other signs of infection are present, not to worry. He fully expects the wounds to close fully after the next shed or two.

    after 3 months, we are finally through it all!
  14. Dragoness

    Dragoness Elite Member

    Also, he has gained a pound. On intake, he was 22 pounds. After rounds of antibiotics, he lost a bit of weight, and was down to 21. Today he was back to 22.
  15. lizardhoarder139

    lizardhoarder139 Elite Member

    That's great to hear!! :D yay!
    And the vet wasn't worried about him having a hard time breathing because of the scar tissue?
    I'm glad he gained his weight back!
  16. CTU2fan

    CTU2fan Elite Member

    I did wonder about some permanent nasal issues. It's a delicate area and it doesn't take much scarring to affect air flow. But I agree with your vet, it's likely something he can live with.

    Great job, and you've got yourself a nice big healthy boa. How is his temperament? Boas tend to be so mellow, I've only ever come across one that wasn't, a central American with some mobility issues due to being struck with a snake stick - he was a bit jumpy and nervous, understandably.
    lizardhoarder139 likes this.
  17. toddnbecka

    toddnbecka Well Established Member

    V for Vader (noisy breathing)? Kudos for the care that got him this far along the road to recovery.
  18. Dragoness

    Dragoness Elite Member

    Vet says as long as he can breathe with his mouth closed (which he can) that the scarring isn't an issue. It just might be noisy - which it is, but only when he is exerting himself, or has recently bathed, and gotten water in his nose.

    He has a wonderful temperament. Through the whole ordeal, he never once bit, or tried to. Only got a token hiss a few times when the vet was cutting on him to remove necrotic tissue. Even then, he stopped when the vet stopped cutting. He's a total sweetheart. Even when he is being subjected to a bath or other unpleasant things, he really just tries to get away.

    As the vet pointed out, if he is going to sit there and let a rat eat holes in him, clearly there isn't much that bothers him...
    lizardhoarder139 likes this.
  19. CTU2fan

    CTU2fan Elite Member

    That's an odd thing, I wonder what "trigger" is missing that leads a snake to not defend itself when caged with a live rodent. I suspect most of the time the snake just isn't warm enough (or else it would likely have eaten the rat to begin with). But that can't be the only reason it happens.
  20. Dragoness

    Dragoness Elite Member

    Well, according to the vet, it's pretty common for a boa to do nothing when confronted with a live rat it isn't going to eat.

    Of note, his cage could not have been warmer than 50-60ºF when I got him. The heat had been turned off for a month in the apartment, in Michigan, in November. He could barely move, and I honestly thought he was dead at first.

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