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Rosy experts, please advise

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Posted by: jyant at Wed Sep 17 23:13:51 2008  [ Report Abuse ] [ Email Message ] [ Show All Posts by jyant ]  
   

Dear Rosy Boa expert,

Thanks for perpetuating this fun and informative forum! I’m writing to ask for your advice regarding 1 of my 3 young Rosys which seems to be struggling at the moment.

Before I describe the issue, I should mention that my San Felipe (1-year old male) and Coastal Albino (2-year old female) have been thriving under identical conditions in separate enclosures during this entire time.

My “problem snake” is my 1-year old Harquahala female who has developed a respiratory infection. In retrospect, after some reading, I can see that the signs had been there for a few months. It wasn’t until I noticed her occasional open-mouth breathing, gurgling and bubbly nose that I realized there was a serious problem. This seems to have been caused by a humidity level that might have been a bit high (40 to 70%, depending on which of my hygrometers I read), despite the fact that the enclosure has a screen top and I only offer water once in a while.

I reacted to this respiratory issue by increasing her heat on one side of the enclosure from 90 to 100oF and making sure she spent all her time there (simply by removing the substrate and hide-spots from the cooler side). My wife and I also swept out any gunk that might have been present in her mouth on 2 separate occasions using hydrogen peroxide on a Q-tip (a fun experience for all!)

She’s just finished her second week under these conditions and has shown some really good signs of improvement… the bubbling/gurgling has stopped, she no longer has a pouch under her chin and the open-mouth breathing is much less apparent. This turnaround seems to have been marked by a beautiful, intact shed about a week ago.

Unfortunately, she’s been uninterested in food during this entire time… I’ve been offering her small-to-medium size, live fuzzies about once a week, but I think it’s been at least 5 weeks since she’s ingested anything. Despite this lack of food, she does seem to be reasonably active and alert.

So, my questions for you are these…

(1) Should I be more aggressive in trying to get her to eat? I’ve never tried force-feeding and would really like to avoid that if possible. Are there other techniques I should try?

(2) Should I just go ahead and take her to a vet, even though she’s no longer displaying any of the obvious symptoms mentioned above (beyond the lack of appetite)? I wouldn’t mind spending the $ if I had confidence that the snake wouldn’t end up dying as a result of vet treatment.

(3) Should I start her “winter cool-down” now? Last year (while she was healthy), she stopped eating around the end of Sept. (that was early, relative to my other snakes) and I finally cooled her down in early Nov. To my delight, she came out of that brumation in March this year with a steady appetite that lasted until early August when the respiratory issue really kicked in. An early brumation might be a good idea for her this year as well, but I’m apprehensive about cooling her down while she still might be sick.

(4) Other suggestions?

Any advice would be very much appreciated. In the meantime, thank you for reading and (again) for keeping this great forum going!

Jeff


   

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