I need help from anyone that has treated bad scale rot (photos included here)

ember

Arachnosquire
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Feb 13, 2007
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I have taken in a yearling female ball python that has seriously the worst scale rot I have ever personally seen. She was bought from a HORRIBLE shop here in town by a dad and his 5 year old son, first time pet owners. They have only had her three weeks, and the last week she has been in a vet office (a CLUELESS vet that has been treating this as a "burn as result from using an under tank heater". They were using a UTH made for reptiles and used in the proper way... The vet blamed them and the family has been heart broken. They did not know that ball pythons were not supposed to have brown flaky bellies when they bought her, and they brought her into the vet because her "belly was splitting open". In person it is really easy to tell that it is scale rot. The inner lining is covered in a white cream (hence the distorted appearance in the photo). The history is not clear, so there may be burned tissue there as well, but there is OBVIOUS scale rot.

She has, for the last week, been getting daily baytril injections and topical burn cream, and daily soaks...

So, what should I be treating her with topically?
Should I continue with the full run of baytril?
I have her on paper towel right now (in the laundry room, quarantined) with a heat lamp...
No more daily soaking... What should I be doing, though?
I am serious, this is BAD scale rot. She also has a lot of retained shed....
Her back end is stiff and she is not moving it.
She was tube fed while at the vet... I am upset that through all of this, the vet was force feeding her (she is not under weight or noticeably dehydrated).

How do I keep this snake alive long enough for her to recover?











I have her quarantined in a closed off laundry room. It is low traffic, too. I have been using gloves when handling her or any of her stuff, and then throwing the gloves away and washing my hands in hot water with antibacterial soap. I don't want to risk anything in case there is more going on that husbandry issues causing infection and rot. She may make it... lord knows we have a few that I was sure I would end up putting to sleep or that I would wake up to find dead... but she very well may NOT make it. It does not look promising, that is for sure!
 
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Mushroom Spore

Arachnoemperor
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Oh my GOD. There are so many things about this post that make me run around in circles. :eek: I hope she makes it!

She *will* need soaks to get the retained sheds off. However, at least one of her eyes looks clear (can't see the other one in pics), so you should probably wait and deal with the scale rot first.

The best I can find is that you can *temporarily* help the problem with applying betadine to the area, but you'll have to go to a vet (hopefully a better one, ugh) to get the proper medications (antibiotics? I think it's a fungal infection) to really knock it out. The post wasn't clear and I'm tired, maybe that's what you're doing already. {D (Another place I found says that just continually treating the area with betadine is fine, but they aren't discussing cases THIS severe, so take that with a grain of salt.)

Here's a home remedy for skin issues, but he does say he doesn't use it for deep open injuries, so I don't know: http://redtailboa.net/forums/132253-post4.html

I would keep her on just newspaper or the paper towels, but the problem with heat lamps is that they REALLY kill the humidity in a tank. While you do want her body dry, low humidity could bring on a respiratory infection, which is the last thing she can handle right now I'm sure. :(

How much of the back end is stiff? It sounds almost like some kind of spinal injury, or maybe, god save us, she might be eggbound too, if she really is a she. Has she had x-rays?

Provided there isn't some kind of fatal spinal injury, and she isn't eggbound (although even that could be fixed if caught in time), I see no reason why she shouldn't HOPEFULLY make it.

EDIT: Also, I have read that even scale rot can be EXTREMELY contagious, so even if that's all it is, quarantine is a good idea.
 

C.S

Arachnopeon
Joined
May 27, 2007
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21
First thing is to get rid of the heat lamp and use an heat pad or under tank heater...[most snakes , BP's included , are nocturnal and stress under the glare of lights....Paper towel is great choice in treating this.
Treatment- 3 times daily apply a good triple biotic polysporin.
Rub the cream directly onto the scales and be vigalint....use a q-tip to apply cream between the belly scales..then after the entire belly has been coated place into a rubbermaid [with hot side around 90 -cool side low 80's].
DO NOT HAVE A WATER DISH INSIDE THE RUBBERMAID.....
You want to keep her/him completely dry....offer water a few times daily BUT do not leave inside the enclosure...
Repeat treatment [like mentioned above ] 2-3 times daily , keep it dry and everytime you treat the BP be sure to change the paper towels..You want to keep the enclosure as CLEAN and DRY as possible.
After a week of treatments you can put a smaller water dish in with it..[ be sure it is small and sturdy] you don't want it getting tipped over OR the BP to soak in it.]
 

mindlessvw

Arachnobaron
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Mar 6, 2006
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i recommend(and typically always recommend) a vet...they will have special antibiotics and particular medications for soaking that will assist...i really recommend you either go to a vet or you could try a ball python forum...kingsnake.com is a good place to get some info...but really i would say a vet
 

Bigboy

Arachnoprince
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Nov 18, 2004
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That needs to be taken to a vet who has experience working with herps. "Scale Rot" is as ambiguous term as "Mouth Rot" and it can be a number of things. It could have originally been from a burn or simply from being kept in septic conditions, or it could even have been transmitted by the snake mite Ophionyssus natricis (that said, it is important to keep her quarantined). The pathogen can be one of a myriad of organisms that can cause diseases that look like the one pictured. First and foremost, you could be looking at a bacterial infection. When at the Vet's office you should ask them to perform gram stains for the presence of both gram negative and positive bacteria. They are fairly inexpensive but are also very important tools for diagnosis. You could also be looking at a fungal infection. Most likely some form of fungal dermatitis. A biopsy of the affected tissue would be a very good way to determine this. Regardless of what it is, there are bound to be secondary infections present in something that looks that bad and treatment is going to be prudent. And don't remove the heat lamps or lights, use them in conjunction with heating pads. Total darkness or gloom is never a healthy option.
 

Bigboy

Arachnoprince
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Yes, though odd that may seem. A deficiency of UV light, particularly UVB, or light in the 290 to 320 nm range often results in metabolic bone disease of nutritional origin (Mader, 2006). It is important not to confuse a nocturnal animal with one that is a troglodyte or fossorial. Present hypothesis shows that inappropriate photoperiod and temperature fluctuations result in repeated reproductive failure as a result of abnormal vitellogenesis, with chronic reabsorbtion of yolk and ultimately ovarian granulomas or tumors (Mader, 2006). Simply because an animal is genetically programed to be active during the night does not mean that it should be without a daylight cycle in captivity. Those animals that are normally inactive and anorectic during the winter months may continue eating when exposed to the same photoperiod , even though their metabolism is lower because of the ambient temperature reduction, resulting in obesity (Mader, 2006).


A good book is a wonderful thing. I strongly recommend this one to anyone who is serious about herps. It is practically the word of god in modern reptilian veterinary medicine. Pm me if you want more info.
 
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ember

Arachnosquire
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Feb 13, 2007
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Hey! I have been BUSY (with her, and with our other animals in general), and I will sit down and write out a good response to this thread... But I just want to clarify up front that this snake HAS been to a vet, and stayed there for several days. I am not just doing this "bathroom cabinet" doctor style with internet help. Granted, I am very concerned that the vet did not do a good job, and instead of saying "I am not experienced with snakes, here is a reference to someone that is" they did little, charged a lot, and gave limited advice. Through our local herp club I have a recommendation for a better vet, but I wanted to clarify, she HAS been to a vet.
 

Bigboy

Arachnoprince
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Nov 18, 2004
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Oh boy do I ever know about how difficult it can be to find a good vet on your own. You're very fortunate to have a handy local herp society in the area.
 
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