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Worried about Monty

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

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  1. Merlin

    Merlin Administrator Staff Member Premium Member

    I don't know of anyone using the predator mites on snakes. I do know a few that used them on the plant biting relatives in greenhouses. Some released them into the greenhouse and they were never seen again. Some had good luck with knocking the population down but it doesn't eliminate them and all it takes is one pregnant mite and it starts all over again.
    I'd go with the Reptile Releif
  2. BlackJack

    BlackJack Subscribed User Premium Member

    If I can get the reptile relief stuff here in Switzerland, I'll try that too... I was just hoping that the predator mites might protect Talyn's terrarium... but I'll probably just have to assume they're in there too and clean it all out and treat it and Talyn too!
    Waaaaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhh!!! :(
  3. Jay DeMore

    Jay DeMore Elite Member

    If you need it I will ship it to you!
  4. Merlin

    Merlin Administrator Staff Member Premium Member

    Yep that's our Jay! :D
  5. Jay DeMore

    Jay DeMore Elite Member

    How many times have I posted that?? :D lol
  6. Bitis Gabonica

    Bitis Gabonica Elite Member

    I personally wouldn't want to introduce anything else into the collection - I'm sure Talyn won't have been infected, but keep a close eye on her.

    Other treatments you can use or try while you are waiting for Jay to ship to you :p are: continue what you are already doing - keep Monty on paper towels, with simple cage furniture, so it's easy to spot any mites. Change and clean every day, and bath or soak Monty every day - this will keep the mites from spreading too much. Mites have to leave the body of the host to lay eggs, so by changing the paper towels every day you will eliminate lots of new mites hatching. By soaking you will drown many of the mites, though you will notice that more gather around the eyes and throat to escape the water.

    I have also read that oil works - olive oil, veg oil or mineral oil?? - or mouthwash, though I have never tried these mediums myself.
  7. BlackJack

    BlackJack Subscribed User Premium Member

    Thanks for the great support everyone!! I REALLY appreciate it!!! :p
    Bitis: I'm not only changing the paper towels but I'm moving Monty into a completely disinfected and fresh plastic box with fresh paper towels, a different water bowl and hide each day! (Then scrub the **** out of the other one to get it ready for the next day.)
    I did notice that the bumps seemed to be fewer on the body and much more on the neck, so it seems your theory there is correct. They seem to be on the move. :(
    We did give him a lukewarm bath with a shot of olive oil in it last night. A lot of mites seemed to come off but I read that this can really cause problems with his next shed, so I don't know how often I want to do that.
    Today I took Q-tips dipped in Betadine/water and worked over each bump, in case there's still a mite lodged under there somewhere... I'm not sure if there is or if that's a reaction to their blood-****ing (???) Either way the bumps seemed to flatten out a bit. Then he got another 10 minute Betadine/water bath, good rub downs with paper towel and some more fine-detail work....
    Man, what a trooper!!! He put up with it all so well (I didn't get bit once!!!) He's such a sweetie... if I have to do any of this on Talyn, my hands and arms are going to look like a peg board (after she's done biting me!!)
    Jay, I'll let you know if we need any Reptile Relief from the States ---SOOOOOO sweet of you to offer to send it! :D
    Does anyone know what is in it? Or if it might also be marketed under a different name?
    My husband ordered the predatory mites; especially to put into Talyn's terrarium... we'll see. I've heard they need a substrate to burrow into (newspaper won't work) and they need moist warm conditions (perfect) I just hope they're not needed!
    I'll keep you posted!!
  8. Merlin

    Merlin Administrator Staff Member Premium Member

    I'm not sure what is in it but it is touted as "safe natural and non synthetic. I know of a heck of a lot of keepers that swear by it.
    I haven't been able to locate a distributor outside the US and Canada.
    The manufactures name is Natural Chemistry and they have a website.
  9. Dave68

    Dave68 Active Member

    Nix Treatment for Snake Mites
    by Nathan Curtis

    Snake Mites
    Mites are ectoparasites that subsist on blood. They are host-specific, which means that they only feed on one type of animal. Snake mites will not affect lizards, nor will they affect humans or other household pets like cats and dogs.

    Mites can be identified as tiny black dots, much like a speck of dirt. However, unlike dirt, mites MOVE and will burst with a small red smear when squished against a hard surface (the remnants of their last meal). Mites can often be spotted crawling around a snake’s back or head area and on cage walls. For every mite you can see on your snake, there are likely dozens more that aren’t visible, that are hidden while feeding under your snake’s scales. These resilient parasites are commonly known as the “plague of snake keepers”. Really, with sound treatment and quarantine practices, this shouldn’t be the case.

    Snake mites have been known to transfer disease in snakes, much like mosquitoes can with humans (malaria) and with dogs (heartworm). If unchecked, mites on just one snake in one terrarium can multiply geometrically and establish themselves in an entire collection of several terrariums and dozens of snakes in a matter of a week or two. This is a problem that is unique to snakes in captivity. Wild snakes are able to keep these parasites in check through shedding their skin and leaving most mites behind. On the other hand, captive snakes are forced in close quarters with their shed skin and mites, thereby facilitation reinfestation.

    Mites will eventually overrun a snake in captivity to the point that their host becomes irritated, mildly anemic and therefore lethargic. Infested snakes are often found to soak for extended periods in water in a vain effort to drown the mites on its body, only to be reinfested once it emerges. Snakes in this situation will seldom eat, or even refuse to eat altogether, due to stress and discomfort.

    Why Nix?
    Nix was designed to treat human head lice and their nits (eggs). The one characteristic that separates the Nix method for treating snake mites from other mite remedies is its effectiveness at killing live mites AND mite eggs. All other mite remedies to my knowledge do not destroy mite eggs. As such, I have found the Nix method to be extremely effective at eradicating serious mite infestations. I even know of a pet store manager who sells several commercially produced mite remedies, yet uses the Nix method on imported snakes arriving at his store. Another pro to using Nix is economics. Around $12 will produce 4 litres of solution – much more than the largest private collection will ever require.

    There exists a popular reptile care site on the Internet that discusses the toxicity of Nix, but in the two cases cited, Nix was spread over the infested snakes in full concentration. Common sense should dictate that reptiles and amphibians coming in direct contact with any fully concentrated chemical that does not occur in their natural environment would yield deleterious, if not downright fatal, results. The use of Nix discussed below involves a diluted solution (1 part Nix to 68 parts water) that has never produced adverse reactions in any python or boa in my collection over the course of 6 years. In fact, some snakes in my collection are proactively treated every 6 months as they make appearances at semi-annual reptile shows and I am not willing to risk the chance of mites from other exhibitors making their way into my collection. Even routine treatments on these boas and pythons over the course of several years have yet to result in any negative effects.
    Spray bottle. Preferably one that has never been used, or at the very least, one that has never contained harsh chemicals and has been thoroughly rinsed.
    56 g (59 ml) bottle of Nix. I have only ever found this one particular size of Nix, which can be sourced at most drug stores and some pharmacy sections of grocery stores for anywhere from $6-$12.
    4L (1 Gallon) jug of distilled water. Distilled water should be used to extend the shelf life of the solution. With distilled water, the solution’s effectiveness is expected to last up to 12 months as long as the solution is stored at room temperature and in a covered box (light breaks down the active ingredient found in Nix). Although, with one treatment and sound quarantine practices, the first treatment should be all that is necessary.

    Creating the Nix Solution
    Pour the Nix cream into the 4L jug of distilled water. Nix is a fairly thick cream substance, so it may take a couple minutes to transfer as much of the cream into the jug of distilled water as possible.
    Replace the cap on the jug of distilled water and shake until the Nix cream is evenly distributed throughout the water. Again, this may take a few minutes due to the thick consistency of Nix.
    Pour the Nix solution into a spray bottle.

    Eradicating Snake Mites
    If snake mites are only found on one snake or only in one snake enclosure, it is wise to conclude that mites have infested ALL snakes and their enclosures that are contained within the same room. Mites may have also transferred to snakes housed in another room by “hitchhiking on your hands or clothes. Therefore, absolutely all snakes and their terrariums should be treated to ensure 100% effectiveness.
    First, remove the snake from the enclosure and place in a Rubbermaid container. Spray the snake liberally with the Nix solution. Do not avoid spraying this solution on their head, eyes and heat pits – in fact, this is where mites commonly hide so spraying the head area is essential.
    Remove all substrate from the terrarium and throw away. Do not leave the garbage bag containing this old substrate anywhere in the house.
    Spray the entire enclosure, inside and out, including all cage furniture (branches, hide boxes, water bowl, etc.) and glass viewing area. Make sure that all corners and crevices are well covered with Nix solution, as this is where mites and their eggs are often hiding. Even spray the outside back of the cage and a 2-foot perimeter around the cage on the floor. The Nix residue that forms after drying is thought to even be effective at killing mites hiding out elsewhere in the room that may attempt to re-enter the snake cage.
    Replace the substrate with paper, preferably paper towel, as it is easy to spot mites on this. It is essential to use paper until you are absolutely certain that full eradication has been accomplished. I suggest waiting 3 weeks after the last live mite is spotted before using non-paper substrate.
    Remove water bowl from cage and replace, filled with water, 24 hours later. This ensures that the Nix solution is not washed off the snake by soaking in the water bowl before the active ingredient has had a chance to destroy all mites hiding under its scales.
    Return the snake to its enclosure and spray it, the cage, furniture and paper one more time.
    When the snake defecates during treatment, remove the paper and clean the messed area as usual, but be sure to re-spray the cleaned area and new paper with Nix solution.
    Repeat in 5-7 days twice, for a total of 3 treatments. With all likelihood, the last live mite will perish within a few hours of the first treatment, but repeating treatment is good practice in case the outbreak is severe and mites are able to re-enter cages.
    Preventative Maintenance
    Any snake entering a collection should be quarantined for 2-3 months, ideally in a completely separate room from where other snakes are housed, but at the very least in a separate cage. It should be assumed that any new snake has mites, regardless of how well respected the previous owner or pet store is. I have personally been let down on several occasions by leading breeders in our hobby, and from personal friends. It is my experience that employing the “better safe than sorry” approach is of paramount importance in ensuring mite breakouts never occur.

    Given the above assumption new acquisitions, in addition to their cage and cage furniture, should be treated with Nix solution 3 times (one full treatment every 5-7 days). Same should hold true when a snake enters your colony for a breeding loan, even if it is your own specimen that was lent out and is returning. As previously mentioned, it is also wise to treat snakes that attend shows, where other exhibitors and spectators may have mite infestations. With the large number of people that handle your animals, or even just touch the enclosure in which your snakes are housed, the chance that a mite is hitchhiking on at least one of these snake enthusiasts at the show is good. Don’t become complacent and cut corners in this area, or you may find yourself right back where you started.

    Cage furniture and substrate purchased at pet stores can also serve as mite vectors and should be treated with caution. Mite-free substrate can be purchased from pet stores that do not carry reptiles, from a livestock feed stores, or from landscape centres. Newly purchased cage furniture should be sprayed liberally with Nix solution. Highly porous cage furniture (wood hide boxes, branches, etc.) should be soaked in a 10% bleach solution for a day, then rinsed thoroughly, sprayed with Nix solution, and allowed to dry for a week.

  10. BlackJack

    BlackJack Subscribed User Premium Member

    WOW; thanks for all the info Dave! It sounds like you have a really good prevention policy for keeping mites out of your collection!
    I'm going to look into this Nix stuff...

    Everyone else: the ingredients in Reptile Relief are:
    Active Ingredients
    dioctyl sodium sulfosuccinate 2.1%
    undecylenic acid 0.5%

    Other Ingredients: 97.4%

    I don't know if that really tells me anything. But both of the active ingredients can be harmful if too concentrated; so I guess the other 97.4% of stuff dilutes it enough.
  11. BlackJack

    BlackJack Subscribed User Premium Member

    No thanks on Nix!

    Sorry Dave
    But my research shows that the active ingredient in Nix is Permethrin.

    According to the Institute for Veterinary Pharmacology and Toxicology of the University of Zürich in Switzerland, this substance is HIGHLY toxic in all reptiles, amphibians, fish and cats!!!!
    It's mainly recommended to treat EMPTY terrariums but should not be left on residually or sprayed near the animals.
    It is not recommended for continual use. To use this so prophylactically could breed resistant strains of mites.

    As an ULTIMATE last resort to mites resistant to organophosphates, a dosis of 0.1mg/kg body mass in a maximum 0.1% concentration can be applied to the animal.
  12. Dave68

    Dave68 Active Member

    Hey BlackJack, I was only trying to help in sharing a proven, safe, method that I, and very many others use in erradicating snake mites. I can't see the resistance thing happening unless you don't effectively treat your whole collection. I have tried other methods including natural botanical products and for the most part unless your willing to do battle weekly with them, the mites come back. As was stated in the Nix treatment you cannot apply full strength, but diluted 1 part Nix to 68 parts water, it has been found to be effective and very safe. I would not suggest something I personally didn't trust. If in your research you found something contrary to this i would love to read it as well. Do you have a link or website I could check out? Thanks and good luck with whatever method you choose.

  13. Dave68

    Dave68 Active Member

    Sorry, one more thing permethrin is also the active ingredient in "Provent a mite" and is marketed specifically for use on reptiles. It just costs a lot more than Nix.

  14. BlackJack

    BlackJack Subscribed User Premium Member

    Hi Dave,
    I hope you are not offended. The whole point of this forum is to share ideas and learn from eachother. I appreciate your tips and advice, even if I, personally, am not willing to try them. You've obviously found something that works for you that you're comfortable with.
    I'm new to this whole "war on mites" thing and I'm not willing to spray ANY chemicals onto my animals. (Provent a Mite included). I understand that you dilute the Nix, as I'm sure Provent a Mite does, but I'd still only want to use anything like that as a last resort. (In which case I'd probably give Reptile Relief a try first, since it seems to have safer ingredients.)
    I've got a permethrin spray insecticide that I will use on Monty's empty terrarium and then wash off completely several times, and let sit empty for at least a week before he goes anywhere near it.
    I don't have a huge collection and I have the time to spend, changing my snakes to fresh containers every day and soaking them daily for several weeks to break the mite life-cycle.
    Here is the site I got my info from: It has dosis information for permethrin on everything from dogs to camels to turtles, etc. It's all in German, but the key words to understand are: Schlangen (snakes), Echsen (Lizards), Schildkröten (turtles), Reptilien (reptiles) and Hochtoxisch (highly toxic).
    I know they are speaking of the undiluted form, but how can I be absolutely sure that it is diluted enough to be safe for my animals and still be effective on mites? It's not a risk I'm willing to take right now.
  15. Dave68

    Dave68 Active Member

    It's all good BlackJack, no offence taken. Good luck and thanks for the link.

  16. BlackJack

    BlackJack Subscribed User Premium Member

    Monty is going to the vet

    Well, although I haven't seen a mite on him or in his plastic boxes for a few days, poor little Monty's skin is still full of pus-filled blisters! It seems like there are more and more each day. :(
    I thought it could be scale-rot/blister disease, but the underside of his belly doesn't have any blisters! It's just all along his back and sides. They seem painful to him and he is losing scales. Every time I change the paper-towel substrate, there are several scales on it. Do you think those mites might have infected him with something?

    The good news is that he ate a mouse yesterday and he's gained all his weight back plus a few grams. :)

    I love this little guy to bits and I made an appointment for him on Monday at 11:00 in the morning. I'm sure this is going to be the longest weekend of my life; but there's only one vet in my city that is experienced in snakes, so I hope she knows her stuff!!

    I'll let you know... keep your fingers crossed for little Monty that it isn't something really bad!
  17. Jay DeMore

    Jay DeMore Elite Member

    Good luck and keep us informed.
  18. BlackJack

    BlackJack Subscribed User Premium Member

    Thanks Jay,
    When Martin gets home I'll try to get him to take some pics while I hold Monty.
  19. DarkMagician207

    DarkMagician207 Elite Member

    good luck! hope everything gets all straightened out for you all. :)
  20. BlackJack

    BlackJack Subscribed User Premium Member

    Pics of Monty's skin

    Disclaimer: Do not read this if you get easily grossed out! :eek:

    Here are pics of Monty's skin problem. The scales seemed to be getting pushed up from eruptions underneath. When light pressure is applied, a thick, sticky pus comes out. They seem very sensitive/painful to poor little Monty. There are no bumps on the ventral scales: here some of the scales look torn or eaten away and there is a rust colored edging to them... but there aren't many of those.
    I've also included one pic showing one of his scales about to fall off.

    I'd welcome any guesses and I'll let you all know what the vet says about them on Monday.
    I still haven't seen a single mite on him since last Tuesday. So the bumps seem to be caused by some other kind of infection (caused by the mites? /caused by internal parasites? / or some other infection???)

    Attached Files:

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