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Q: Uh-oh. Boa on his back. What could it be?
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In Relation To:

Jack [Dum-09-M1]
Some of you may know, my parents purchased a pair of Dumeril's boas at an expo in August. They're wonderful, pretty boas, and we're all already in love...

However, "Jack" has an issue. He seems to get rolled over on his back sometimes, and has been having difficulty rolling back over. I've kept a good eye on him because of this, but kept putting off posting a question. What can I say? I'm still in a little bit of denial, even as I type this.

Tonight, I stopped at the Dumerils' enclosures because Jill had "rearranged" her enclosure by pushing around her water bowl and paper towels. I peered in on Jack to find him completely on his back! Apparently, he had given up on getting up, because his head was flat on the ground, also upside down... So, my first thought when I saw him, was "OH MY GOD HE'S DEAD". Basically, anyway. When I opened up the tank and poked his side, though, he reacted immediately. He started trying to get up, but still couldn't. I went ahead and flipped him back on his belly before closing up his tub and leaving him be.

My worst fear, of course, is IBD. He doesn't have any other "symptoms" that I can see... Just the inability to get off his back. Are there any other illnesses/deformities/what-have-you that could cause this?

Jill isn't showing any weird behaviors (that I've noticed, at least--their tubs are almost floor-level, so they aren't exactly in my line of sight unless I'm specifically checking on them), and can flip over just fine when put on her back. I'm pretty sure Jill is from a different (later) litter than Jack, but they are from the same breeder. I have exercised strict hygiene between these two since noticing Jack's "problem", but I won't be making any bets on whether or not Jill is safe from whatever Jack's "problem" may be. All of the new snakes were treated proactively for mites upon arrival, and quarantine is being practiced.

Any and all advice/suggestions/etc are welcome and appreciated. I really want to get this sorted out. Plus, it kind of helps to have half an idea of what I'm talking about when vet visits and complaints to the breeder roll around. =P

Also, PNW people, what vet do you recommend most? I've come to the point of not trusting my former vet, so finding a new vet is now a priority. AFAIK, all of the local herp vets--minus my former--are in either Seattle or Portland. I'm about halfway between the two cities, over on the coast, so whatever vet is the most recommended (especially for snakes) works.

Points: 150
Topics: General Health , Finding A Vet
Tags: Boa, Cantgetup, Dumerils, IBD
Species: Boas > Large Boas > Acrantophis dumerili
Administrative: Show/Hide

Member Comment 9/10/2009 1:52:32 AM

The only thing that comes to mind is IBD or something else neurological maybe glioma of the spinal cord but that's pretty unlikely.  Whatever it is certainly isn't good and I'd get it to the vet ASAP.
Accepted Answer 9/10/2009 10:39:40 AM

I had a Chondro that was rolled on it's back a couple of times. 
Of course, IBD and Paramyxo seemed to be the likely culprits, and I freaked out. 
Had the animal put down on recommendation of the vet (and me, if it was IBD or OPMV I wanted it out of the collection).
Came back negative for both, and positive for systemic Salmonella susceptible to Baytril.

So, my lesson learned was at the bare minimum, set up quarantine, and broad spectrum and see what happens.
I killed a gorgeous chondro out of fear and the urging of my vet, who took me for $600.

So, outside of the normal "get to a vet", I'd just say stay calm, and understand that reptiles can't tell us whats wrong with them, and can only exhibit maladies in a finite number of ways. Showing neuro problems can be IBD, OPMV, Crypto, Salmonella, Dehydration, Poisoning, yadda yadda ya. Just keep the animal in QT and watch the rest of the collection (which when they look at you wrong, you'll think IBD, because at that point every "symptom" real or not looks like an IBD symptom). If your QT containment is absolute (different house) you can either get to a vet or wait it out and shotgun medicate it, entirely up to what you want to do.
Assisted Answer 9/10/2009 11:29:17 AM

My first thought is what did you use to proactively treat for mites? Sounds like it could be having a poisoning reaction. A lot of people experienced this when using no-pest strips to control mites...

Also could be an infection causing neurological reactions. Either way it sounds like an eventual vet trip.
I con only recommend vets south of you as that is where my experience lies. At St.Francis there is Dr.Stanhope, that's in Vancouver so probably closest as for south. There is Dr.O'laughlin in Tualatin at their E-vet clinic, Dr.Burgess in Beaverton at southwest animal hospital and my newest favorite is Murry HIll animal clinic, there are three vets there who deal with reptiles. There is one other good vet in this area a Dr.Bruno but I haven't seen him so can't say either way, he is in Milwaukie.

Good Luck and I hope your boa is ok.
Author Comment 9/10/2009 12:11:46 PM

I treated them with the Nix treatment (1-59 ml bottle of Nix lice treatment mixed into 1 gallon of water). Thanks for the advice so far, everyone! I'm glad to hear there are more things less serious that it could be than IBD... But I didn't realize crypto and paramyxo displayed through this symptom. It's probably naive of me to do so, but I'm leaning toward something a little less contagious since Jill isn't acting "weird" at all... My quarantine is far from ideal. They're kept separate from my collection and my hygiene is good, but all of the new snakes are in the same room and right next to the kitchen (meaning, all of my collection's dishes pass through the room briefly to get to and from the kitchen)--is there any danger in this? Also, I'll be improving the level of quarantine when I get home from school. At the very least, the Dums will be moved into my mom's room and away from the kitchen. (I would've done this to begin with, but my mom likes things cold--think, 50-60*F on average!) Shellboa, which of those vets would you recommend most? Is there one in Portland who you find more "effective" (so to speak) than the Vancouver vet? We're used to driving 3 hours for everything, anyway, so distance isn't too much of a concern. =)
Member Comment 9/10/2009 12:41:48 PM

In Seattle, my absolute favorite herp vet is Dr. Johnson-Delaney at Eastide Avian and Exotic.  I've also heard great things about her partner, Dr. Kamaka.  And I've heard rave reviews about Dr. Bennett at Bird & Exotic Clinic, too.  I really hope it's not IBD!!  Good luck!
Member Comment 9/10/2009 5:14:07 PM

Dr Cannon is another excellent vet in north Seattle, although I'd also highly recommend the two offices Emily listed. good luck!!!
Member Comment 9/10/2009 6:07:57 PM

I'm with Em and Aimee - my personal favorite is Dr. Kamaka as I've worked with her for years (both reptiles and birds).
Author Comment 9/10/2009 10:06:11 PM

Thanks for the vet suggestions and well-wishes. If we go with a Seattle vet, it sounds like it'll definitely be Kamaka. =)
Member Comment 9/11/2009 11:17:45 AM

out of the ones I have recommended I have had the best feelings and success with Dr'Olaughlin, his is an after hours clinic. He calls all of the animals "kids" great vet. Second choice and daytime place is Murray hill. $75 office visit for Dr'O $55 (I"m pretty sure) for murray hill, very modern and great vets.
Author Comment 9/11/2009 10:17:51 PM

Thanks, Shellboa. The deciding factor will probably be who's open on the weekends... I only just remembered that the school year has started. =/

We have a new symptom. When I moved his and Jill's tubs into my mom's room last night, I noticed he kept sort of staring up at the top of his tub. He would sit there for a couple minutes, unless I rapped on the side of the tub or opened it up to distract him, and the former took a LOT of tapping. I'm pretty sure this qualifies as stargazing...
Member Comment 9/12/2009 2:13:28 AM

Still sounds like neurological and could be from mite treatment. try murray hill first other wise St francis is open 24/7
Member Comment 9/12/2009 11:27:36 AM

Assisted Answer 9/12/2009 6:14:17 PM


I don't know if the above link will work, but I googled nuerological issues in snakes and that book preview came up with a decent write up that you might wanna check out. Book is called "What's wrong with my snake?" by DVM, MA John Rossi
Author Comment 9/12/2009 7:20:07 PM

I forgot about that book! I actually have a copy that I keep forgetting about... Thanks, vonnick. =)

Shellboa, we'll try Murray Hill then. I looked them up and they're open on Saturdays, which is even better since I won't have to skip a day of school to go. For now, I'm going to feed Jack, leave him alone, and do some more reading on those potential diagnoses. Thanks again, everyone, for your advice. =)
Assisted Answer 9/13/2009 4:35:50 AM

cheryl Todd
So.... my two cents worth: IBD is a horrible virus, but not always the culprit and certainly not the worse virus out there. IBD can be stopped in most cases from spreading with good quarantine and sanitation skills. My advice is to get Jack as far away from Jill and everyone else ASAP. Move him to another room or home as quickly as you can. Take him to the vet and have whatever testing done that you can. A fecal sample would be great. Get some gloves and antibacterial hand soap. Handle Jack as little as possible. Clean his water bowl and enclosure on a different day than the others. Videotape and document everything.... especially dates and times. A timeline is helpful with everything. Include how you treated for mites and how long you waited to place Jack back into his treated enclosure. Is there risk that his water could have been contaminated? All of my snakes stare up at the top of their enclosures on feeding day. I call it praying to the food god. Fear can make every tiny thing seem like a new symptom... that's where documentation comes in handy. I know, first hand, that OPMV is so much worse than IBD so take a deep breath and know that all is not lost, even if IBD is the issue. There is a vet it Seattle who has great experience in finding and stopping IBD from spreading. His name is Dr.Maas. I have spoken and visited him and have a lot of faith in him as a vet with incredible knowledge and compassion for our friends and us. If you want to talk, PM me and I will give you my number. You are not alone and sometimes it just feels good to talk about it. Best of luck! Cheryl
Author Comment 9/13/2009 5:53:49 AM

Thanks for the advice, Cheryl. Does Dr Maas practice on Saturdays? A vet with more IBD experience sounds like a good call right now.

I have Jack moved into a separate room, about as securely far away from everyone else as he can get without being subjected to my brother's room. I'm worried about having Jill near the other snakes (in case she DOES have whatever Jack has), but I can see the point in keeping her away from Jack. The best compromise I can think of is to put her on the opposite end of the room, so I'll do that tomorrow morning. I'm pretty sure the "stargazing" isn't a "feeding day" thing, because he continued to do the same thing after I offered him a mouse (actually, with the mouse beneath his head) today. He did eventually eat the mouse, by the way.

About the mite treatment. I treated him with the diluted Nix treatment, and put him back in his enclosure shortly after treating it. Water was kept out for at least 24 hours, and I moved Jack and Jill to larger, untreated enclosures (they were in 6 qts waiting for their 15 qts to get cleaned) a week later. None of the others are acting ill, and I did the same thing (aside from enclosure upgrades) for them all. I don't know if that's what you meant by contaminated water, Cheryl, but, other than that, Jack gets tap water, just like everyone else.

This whole thing is kind of surreal. I'm not scared; just frustrated and dumbfounded... Probably weird, but that seems to be how I "deal" with stuff. Whether that's good or bad, I have no idea. Despite that, THANK YOU ALL for your suggestions and support. In all seriousness, it means a lot.
Member Comment 9/13/2009 8:15:40 AM

cheryl Todd
Dr. Maas is open every day of the week except Sundays.  He is available for 24 hour emergency care.  He is the best as far as I know with IBD testing and results.  He recently started taking Care Credit.  I witnessed a necropsy he did and he will always answer any questions if you need to have one done.  When he euthanizes (i witnessed that, too), he uses an oral solution that works in about 30 seconds... way mor humane than a tail or heart stick.  He is passionate about the animals he treats and is a member of the medical board.  Here is his clinic information.  He is, in my opinion, the foremost expert on all reptile issues.  I have seen mark Burgess in Portland and he is good... old school and no bedside manner, but relatively good for common issues.  Please contact Dr. Maas and see what he can do.  His IBD testing is 99% accurate and he will take good care of you.  Let me know how it goes.

Avian and Exotic Animal Hospital, PLLC

10137 Main Street, Suite 6      Bothell, WA  98011

Author Comment 9/13/2009 12:35:22 PM

Thanks, Cheryl. I'll call in tomorrow, then, and hopefully we can schedule an appointment for next Saturday. =)
Member Comment 9/14/2009 6:27:43 PM

well said aaron!
Member Comment 9/15/2009 5:08:30 PM

Floof, please keep us updated!  I wish you the best!
Author Comment 9/15/2009 9:59:50 PM

Will do, Amaril. Thanks for the well-wishes. =)

We still haven't gotten a vet appointment scheduled. The last couple days have been stupidly busy (wouldn't you know it!)... Gotta love the beginning of the school year. Not.

Anyway, I dug up the breeder's phone number yesterday to have on hand, but I'm not sure when to call them. What does everyone here recommend? Should I contact the breeder before going to the vet, or wait until we have an idea of what's REALLY going on before we make a formal complaint? This is the first time I've had something like this happen, so I have no idea which is the better approach... =/
Assisted Answer 9/15/2009 10:35:08 PM

I'd call them ahead of time and just explain the situation.  Maybe ask if anyone else has called or if they've noticed anything in any of the snakes they have ask if they have any input don't be too accusing and if they have no ideas just mention you're going to take it to the vet and you'll give them a call afterwards it would benefit both of you if it does turn out to be infectious then there's an off chance they may really have no idea and they'll know it may be spreading in their own collection.  Also if they act strange it may also give you a pretty good clue as to what's going on.
Author Comment 9/15/2009 10:41:55 PM

Alright, that makes sense. =) Thanks, geckofactor. I'll most likely call the breeder after getting the vet appointment scheduled. I don't that to keep getting pushed back, or it'll be another week before we get to the vet. Ha-ha (not). xP
Author Comment 9/16/2009 9:56:28 PM

We called the breeder today. He seemed very sincere, and said he hasn't noticed anything weird going on with any of the animals in his collection.

I had my mom read through this today. After reading Aaron's comment, she pointed out that my Grandma's house was a separate house and therefore would aid in a "complete quarantine," and I'm able to go over as often as I need/want... Assuming Gram agrees to it, Jack will be moved to her spare bedroom (probably tomorrow). With this, though, my mom is pushing pretty heavily to put off the vet appt to the beginning of next month, which is understandable considering this month was so ridiculously short. If this were an emergency life/death situation, the vet visit would be a definite ASAP thing, but this isn't quite that. I'm leaning toward giving him a good soak/wash, moving him to a (well-ventilated) 10 gallon aquarium, boarding him in my Grandma's spare bedroom, and seeing how he does while we wait for the next paycheck. This way, if it's an issue with the mite treatment, he will have the opportunity to recover before we drop a couple hundred dollars at the vet.

I hope it doesn't sound like I'm shirking my responsibilities or anything... But this feels like the best course of action for the moment. I'll keep everyone updated on his condition, and thank you all again for all of the great advice. =)
Member Comment 9/17/2009 12:16:43 AM

If you already have an established vet (which I'm assuming you don't since you asked for peoples opinions on local vets but still) call and see if they will bill you even if you don't have an established vet more times than not they will work with you and maybe not make you pay right then and there.  Just out of curiosity did the breeder even give an opinion on what they thought it may be?
Author Comment 9/17/2009 1:17:28 AM

I'll discuss that with my mom. I think part of it, really, is she wants to give him a chance to "get over it" if it's something as simple as side-effects of the mite treatment... Which is something I can understand, because my least favorite thing is to go to the vet and find out there's not really anything wrong. We do have a vet that we've gone to the last few times, but the woman is as hard-headed as I am and we disagree on some aspects of snake care. Great lizard vet (she did an excellent job with my rescue beardie's MBD), but I'm skeptical of taking snakes to her (and that's excluding the personal half of it!).

I guess the breeder didn't give an actual opinion on what might be going on. He asked if we used any sort of chemicals (mite treatments, I guess) on him, and mentioned an experience he had with some hatchling rattlesnakes that started showing neurological issues but then returned to normal a few weeks after he gave them all really dark, enclosed hides. =P
Member Comment 9/17/2009 1:30:22 AM

The fact he even mentioned rattlesnakes is kind of odd but I'm a terribly pessimistic a lot of times hot keepers will casually mention they have venomous as though it's some sort of diploma of reptile keeping like of course the dum isn't sick and I'd know if it was because I keep rattlesnakes duh.  That and pit vipers react worse to a lot of situations than a boid would chemicals in my experience being one of those things and wouldn't have much all to do with the dum.  The wanting to see if the snake will get over it is understandable the only thing time sensitive in the matter would be if the dum does have an infectious thing you'd do well to catch it as early as possible to be even more proactive with the other animals.  Definetly keep the other dum as far away from the rest of the collection as possible and obviously for sure keep the odd acting one away.
Author Comment 9/17/2009 1:42:32 AM

Yeah. They guy keeps and breeds several species, including some hots and lizards. And hot lizards. It never occurred to me that one might think of him/herself as "superior" because s/he keeps hots. Makes a little bit of sense, I guess...

Thinking about it, I'll probably move both of the Dums to Gram's house. They'd be in separate enclosures still, of course, but that would get them both out of the immediate area of the established collection... The only issue there would be my ability to keep space between Jack and Jill. My gram's house is teeny tiny as it is, and I want to confine them strictly to her spare bedroom so they can stay separate from the rest of her house. We babysit her dog on a regular basis, which would be the only real "chink" in that proverbial armor, hence restricting them to one enclosed room. (This all, of course, assuming she approves--though I think she will, so long as she doesn't have to fuss with them!)
Member Comment 9/17/2009 1:55:31 AM

Yeah, you hear this sentence a lot with people getting into hots I've kept so and so and so and so and now I think I'm ready to graduate to venomous what's a good starter species and a lot of people keep that mentality or like to belong to some sort of special hot keepers only club.  but  anyhow  yeah if it's something like IBD it would have most likely been transfered at birth from the mother anyways it's kind of a sticky situation. Who knows a change of environment may even snap him out of it if it isn't anything serious.  As an odd bit of advice you may want to keep him by an open window for a few hours a day sometimes something as simple as fresh air can snap a snake out of simple things and things like appetite loss.
Author Comment 9/17/2009 2:12:27 AM

Change of scenery + Fresh air = possible goodness. Got it! =)
Eesh, I forgot how much school gets in the way! I have a 10 gal I need to scrub out (I want to give Jack plenty of ventilation in case it's the mite treatment's fault), but it's already late and I have school in the morning. Ugh. Thanks again. I'll start putting this stuff into motion tomorrow after my 8 hours of government sanctioned "learning". ;)
Author Comment 9/21/2009 1:15:56 AM

Okay! We finally moved Jack into the 10 gal, and the 10 gal to my grandma's house. I gave him a brief scrub/soak in lukewarm water with a teeny bit of dish soap when we got there, and then washed him again with straight water to get rid of any residue from the mite treatment... Which may have been a bit moot. He's gone into shed! =)
Assisted Answer 9/21/2009 6:01:16 AM

Good!  I would normally veer away from using any soap for a snake, but as you did that specifically for your concerns that he may have a residue from your mite treatment, I think you were perfectly justiied.  Very good on you for following with just water.  Hopefully, his shed will help.  I've got a sneaking suspicion that aside from the other well-known benefits & functions of a normal shed cycle, that a shed could also aid in the healing process... and I suspect I'm not alone in this theory.  If I'm wrong there, hey, chalk it up to anthropomorphism and ingrained thinking about the processes of healing & renewal (and the shedding/casting off of old problems), LOL.

If you don't already have a good disinfectant, now would be an excellent time to get some and use some strict self-imposed handling protocols to prevent the spread of anything that could in fact be an infectious disease (an ounce of prevention being worth more than a pound of cure, right?).  I say this because any of us can have all the experience, education, and good intentions in the world, and still have tons to learn about the management of a good quarantine!  One thing to think about in terms of your daily maitenance routines right now (again, if you haven't already – not making assumptions either way, this just seemed like a good discussion point to bring up), is that you want to establish an order of work flow, working in the direction of the longest-established animals (in terms of how long they have been in your collection, trouble-free) first, to the shortest-established animals, ending with the suspect animals (Jill then Jack) that are in the separate location.  These are things that I have learned from working with animals for research, but I don't think it's difficult to follow.  :)  With any animals that haven't been in the collection for very long (whatever you set at a quarantine period; depending on variables of what the animal is and its source, some people use as little as 30 days, or up to 6 months), I would definitely use disinfectant on any tools between enclosures.  Personally, I don't use disinfectant between animals in my established collection, just between my estabished collection and the quarantine animals (all of the animals I have in quarantine currently are from the same source).  Since you don't know right now what you have going on, I would suggest that you use disinfectant on all your tools between all enclosures, at least until you know more about the underlying cause of Jack's symptoms.  I also try to make sure that I get a shower between working with the animals in quarantine and the established collection.  I'm definitely not 100% accurate on that part, but I'm pretty good.  For your case, I would say you should just apply that to your workflow scheme; don't work "backwards," and shower before you start over (probably means just working with each enclosure only once per day).  It should go without saying that strict and frequent handwashing is a must for anybody doing anything with the animals in your collection.  :)  Anyhow, this is merely a suggestion.  I wish you the best of luck!!
Author Comment 9/22/2009 1:53:07 AM

Thanks, Amaril. Lol, I've gotten that in my head, too... The "shed might help" thought, anyway. I did the dishsoap thing because I've seen suggestions around here about using a drop or two of dish soap in a soak when dealing with animals with terrible sheds and/or mites. I figured it couldn't hurt, especially with the upcoming shed that would take off any soap residue. =)

As for the QT, I've been doing more or less that. I didn't really instill any quarantine protocols before now, but I got into the habit of working with QT animals last so I wouldn't have to shower constantly. I'm pretty lax about stuff between my current collection... Really, the only ones I'm at all careful about are the BPs and any possible cross contamination between the BCIs. As for tools, I try to use a completely different set of tools for QT animals and anyone who concerns me. Each of the BPs has their own tongs, for example, and I always set aside one set of tongs for the QT animals. With Jack and Jill, I haven't even bothered using tongs...

Jack's QT situation is going to be a bit complicated. I've got it pretty well hashed out... My grandma's house is just up the street from the school (several minutes closer than my house), so the majority of maintenance for him will likely be done immediately after school. At home, we enter through the garage, and then into the house through my bedroom (connected to the garage), so I'm able to strip contaminated clothing in the garage (where the laundry is done) and go immediately to shower. The only alterations in this plan would be those days we have dinner at Gram's, in which case I would go straight home (if a school day) and hold care off for when we arrive for dinner. As for tools, I'm taking over anything needed and LEAVING it there... This means hides, feeding tub, and all water dishes... And, to the best of my ability, using strictly disposable items (plastic tubs/tupperware bowls for water, old cottage cheese tubs and paper towel rolls for hides) so I can just toss them without it being a significant loss. Jill's "plan" will be the same once I get her to Gram's house, but that hasn't happened just yet. My main concern was getting Jack settled in.
Author Comment 9/28/2009 11:26:20 PM

Sometime in the last few days (before Sunday), Jack shed. I offered him a hopper, but he wasn't interested.... I left it in his enclosure overnight, and, according to my mother (food poisoning restricted me from going over myself), he had eaten it when she visited Gram today. He still can't get up on his own when put on his back (then again, I didn't expect any improvement this soon, anyway).
Member Comment 9/28/2009 11:28:55 PM

Yikes, well I certainly hope he did eat... that would be a very hopeful sign.  Any further luck on getting him to a vet?
Author Comment 9/28/2009 11:58:49 PM

Yeah. I was very glad to hear he had eaten. That's the one comfort I've been able to take--is that he isn't so sick that he can't/won't eat. (AND, his shed was perfect other than the top of his head & eye caps coming off in a separate piece).

We have an appointment scheduled for October 10th. It would have been this weekend, but apparently the vet isn't going to be in town this weekend... =P
Author Comment 9/29/2009 8:54:20 PM

Iherping from Grandma's house... We're here for dinner, and I went to check on Jack only to be hit with a horrible stench. Luckily, it was NOT a regurge... Rather, my mom hadn't looked enough to make sure the mouse had actually been eaten... The mouse, now rotting after two days on Jack's ~87* warm side, was under a hide. So, in other words, Jack has not eaten. I'll try again this Friday, this time slitting the back (which I normally do, but I had forgotten scissors and Gram isn't THAT accepting..). Bleh. =(
Author Comment 10/11/2009 1:23:07 PM

Update! First, I will say, Jack refused again this last week... To me, this means he's officially "off feed". In other (somewhat better) news...

We went to the vet yesterday. After four hours waiting for all of the in-house labs to be done (everything from a plain old fecal to bloodwork to an acid fast cytology to check for crypto), we got a verdict. He has some sort of gastrointestinal disease/infection (I can't remember which, TBH), which caused a secondary infection in his liver. The secondary infection in his liver resulted in a backup of toxins in his system that caused the neurological symptoms... Or something like that. The cause of the initial gastrointestinal problems is unknown ATM, but we're waiting to see if it'll clear up before we do a million and one more labs to figure that out.

There IS a a chance that the gastrointestinal problems were caused by crypto. He tested positive in the Acid Fast test, but Dr Maas is sending out a PCR test to make sure (along with a PCR test for Salmonella). I have doubts, though, because I noticed the issues only a week after we got him, and it's looking like, if he DOES have crypto, he got it from Srisgrisard, the Charcoal corn we got the same day (different breeder). We took Srisgrisard in for a check-up and a fecal because he's been having terrible diarrhea and is rather skinny (something, yeah, I didn't notice until I got home from the expo--at least it's a learning experience! =/). Doc tested him for crypto (another acid fast), and it came back positive. The infection is so severe that Dr Maas is 100% positive Sris has crypto. Oooh boy. We'll be calling the breeder today or tomorrow to... Well... Complain. Because this woman's severe irresponsibility has cost us at least $200 (and over $500, if Jack's issues were crypto's fault) in vet bills (not to mention the severe mental and physical distress as I wrestle and medicate two moody snakes and scrub clean every single enclosure and tank-stand in the house... Which, coincidentally, involves wrestling with another much larger and much moodier snake).

Anyway, now that the whole "what's going on?" thing is out of the way, we move on to "how do we fix it?". Jack and Srisgrisard have been prescribed Ponazuril for the crypto. In addition to THAT, Jack has been prescribed three other meds for his liver and intestinal issues... Entrofloxacin (Baytril?), Lactulose/Sylmarin, and Metoclopramide. If I remember right, the Metoclopramide is to flush the liver. Doc explained that Crypto is not airborne (not sure where I got that, lol--I might have been thinking of paramyxo), though it is very easy to spread. It can't be killed by bleach or alchohol (so much for my hand sanitizer and favorite tank cleaner!), but it can be killed by some kind of Ammonium compound.. I can't remember what the first two words were, but it was "something something" Ammonium compound. He told us Cascade Dish Detergent contains this whatever-compound, but, while it'd be easier to find than some milder cleaners, it's extremely harsh and pretty much necessary to wear gloves with... We bought a bottle of Zep Alchohol-Free foamy hand sanitizer containing this compound (active ingredient is Benzethonium chloride if it helps anyone!) at the clinic, and Dr Maas gave us some cleaner, to be mixed 18 ml per gallon, called Amine-Z by Zep. Even better, he gave us enough to scrub each cage at least 10 times over... Oh, and he gave me some slides and told me to go ahead and mail in fecal samples for some of the other snakes. =)

Thank you ALL for your advice!! It helped out a LOT with finding this "Trojan Horse" of a parasite... We were on the verge of giving up and just returning Jack to his breeder (back when I still thought Sris's problem was just an upset tummy). Cheryl, thank you for recommending Dr Maas.. He's great!

If anyone has any thoughts/advice on the situation, please post. I'll be closing out the question later today. =)
Member Comment 10/11/2009 10:18:35 PM

Here is some good information on disinfectants:
            http://www.anapsid.org/cleaning.html               http://www.anapsid.org/disinfectants.html

I think what you're trying to describe is a quarternary ammonia, like Roccal-D:
            http://www.drugs.com/vet/roccal-d-plus.html   If this is what you're looking for, Google "Roccal-D;" shopping results pop up.  Good luck!  I'm glad you guys have a direction to go with now!

Author Comment 10/12/2009 2:31:40 AM

Thanks for the links! That was probably it... I could have sworn it was two words, but I was probably wrong... Lol.

I did some reading, and I keep finding stuff that says crypto is incurable... I don't want to take any chances, so I'll be contacting the vet about euthanasia of the infected snakes tomorrow. I'm pretty sure Jill (female Dum) and Jello (hatchling Corn) also are infected, and there's a good chance Hector (Rosy boa) is infected, so I'll likely euthanize all of them to be on the safe side. It feels (and probably sounds) like I'm jumping the gun on this by making that kind of decision, but I'm thinking "playing it safe" is a lot better in this situation than "hoping for the best".

I'm thinking it'll be a good idea to bring Demeter, who I also got at the expo, out of brumation so I can get a fecal on her, too. I'll be doing fecals on the established snakes and beardie before I jump to euthanasia with them, but I'm trying not to get my hopes up even with them...
Member Comment 10/12/2009 5:31:42 AM

Taylor, my gut says strict quarantine and monitoring (and lots of testing) before euthanasia, but definitely see what the vet has to say.  I don't believe I've ever had to deal with crypto.  I wish you the best of luck!  This just sucks all around, and I'm sorry you're having to deal with all of this.
Member Comment 10/12/2009 6:11:33 AM

I just did some searching on Google, and in an old book I have.  The Google searches turned up a lot of random references, but I thought the following two were helpful: 
          http://answers.google.com/answers/threadview/id/48358.html          http://www.goldengategeckos.com/Crypto.htm 

I also looked up my book online and found out that there is a newer edition to it that was put out in 2007, which may be worth looking into...
          1993 edition (what I have): http://www.amazon.com/Understanding-Reptile-Parasites-Herpetoculturists-Herpetocultural/dp/1882770218
          2007 edition: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1882770900/ref=pd_lpo_k2_dp_sr_1?pf_rd_p=486539851&pf_rd_s=lpo-top-stripe-1&pf_rd_t=201&pf_rd_i=1882770218&pf_rd_m=ATVPDKIKX0DER&pf_rd_r=1RM8H2YFER7NSFMNHN5V

In my 1993 edition, there are roughly 4 pages on Crypto, and I'll transcribe the last paragraph here:
     "To date, cryptosporidiosis is thought to have no treatment.  Funk (1987) has suggested oral Trimethoprim-Sulfa at 30 mg/kg once daily or 15 mg/kg twice daily orally for seven days.  The use of this regimen by the author has not impacted the course of the disease in affected animals.  It is not known if the drug or supportive care offered is the most important component of this regimen.  Supportive care consists of fluid, electrolyte, and nutrient supplementation.  The author has stabilized affected animals by tube feeding a mixture of A/D (Hills foods) and lactated Ringer's solution every 2-3 days.  Due to the bleak prognosis and potential for affecting other reptiles it may come into contact with, euthanasia is often suggested as a course of action by veterinarians.  Affected individuals retained must be strictly isolated.  The potential for the handler to be affected should also be considered when making a decision for the disposition of the affected animal."

Basically, I interpret that as not having an easy answer.  My gut still says strict quarantine and further testing before euthanasia, but of course consult with the vet and get some more information before making a decision either way.  I wish I could offer something more helpful.
Author Comment 10/12/2009 3:37:52 PM

Thanks for the links, Rebecca. I seem to have forgotten, yet again, that I have books... Including the one by Klingenberg... Heh. =/

My gut still says "euthanize the infected, reduce the spread". The prognosis does not look good right now, and QT is nigh impossible to maintain in this house, anyway... The only available room for QT has no door, making the dogs a major breach of QT in and of themselves. I was plenty ready to treat the infected animals and follow this through to the end when it was initially diagnosed, but if there really is no effective cure for this, I don't want to risk losing 30 animals as opposed to just 5 or 6.

I am relieved to learn that reptilian strains of crypto aren't transferable to mammals... My grandmother was worried about her dog.
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