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RE: The bf of "Countessnaamah", more details

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Posted by: joeysgreen at Tue Apr 13 09:13:00 2010  [ Report Abuse ] [ Email Message ] [ Show All Posts by joeysgreen ]  

Unfortunately it sounds like this could be "all of the above"; heat stroke, toxicity, and trauma, or any combination. In such a small animal, and such a complicated history, it would be very difficult to find out what exactly caused this. I think the best course of action right now is to address the symptoms, with or without the help of a vet (personal decision on your part). I"ll try to further the discussion a bit to give you a little background information to work with.

From your history, I would place overheating at the top of my list of possible causes. Overheating an animal can definately cause neurological signs that may or may not be perminant. Although serious, usually a more pertinent matter is "DIC" or desciminated intravascular coagulation. This is the clotting of blood throughout the circulatory system, essentially cutting off supply to the tissues. Brick red, mottled, or other discolouration to the mucous membranes (gums, cloaca) in the first day or two will strongly support the presence of DIC.
Support your snake by allowing free access to water (perhaps add a small concentration of electrolytes), proper husbandry temperatures, and rest in a stress free environment. Warm water to 80F to avoid cooling the snake. Veterinary help will likely include parental fluids of a more appropriate type and supportive medications.

The toxicity of potential concern is a permethryn if I'm not mistaken (and I probably spelled it wrong). This type of chemical definately can cause neurological symptoms but has been treated successfully. Hatchlings and small reptiles are most likely to be "overdosed" and I don't recommend use for these animals unless absolutely necessary. Treatment requires the absolute removal of the toxin. At this point overall health is a priority to mite protection. If quarantine is a concern for your current collection (as it should be with any new addition), keep the enclosure in a different room on the opposite side of the house if possible. Treatment is supportive in allowing the animal to metabolise and/or excrete the toxin. To do this the animal must be optimally, or even slightly hyper-hydrated. See the treatment advice for overheating.

Trauma to the head might explain the behavior. This of course could be caused by handling or being caught in the lid of the container during the many possible handlings at a reptile show. While probing can definately cause problems, I wouldn't expect anything above the tail region to be affected (unless the restrainer caused damage elsewhere). While the tail may have been damaged, the tail behavior may also be explained by whatever neurological problem is present.

The problem with such small animals is that diagnostics and sampling are very difficult. Still, X-rays or other imaging if available would be a good idea and might prove revealing. I doubt enough blood could be taken to test for a toxicity, but important values (especially in regards to heat stroke) like the PCV, and total protein, and cell count and integrity can be measured. If such a concern as intracranial pressure is present, then drugs like Mannitol are available to treat the problem. Heparin might be needed to battle DIC if suspected. These are just examples of what a vet might be considering for your snake's condition. As always, having a vet experienced with reptiles is an asset.

For you, you face the decision of facing this yourself, or getting the help of your veterinarian. Either way, at some point, you need to address the quality of life of the snake. Is it improving? Does it look like it will have a good quality of life? Is euthanasia a good idea at this time?

I hope this helps a bit, good luck!


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