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Cryptosporidiosis in trans pecos rats

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Posted by: ecmartens at Mon Dec 30 18:50:17 2013  [ Report Abuse ] [ Email Message ] [ Show All Posts by ecmartens ]  

Hi all,

This is a follow up to a message I posted back in mid October (pasted below). I have a 2011 trans pecos rat that began having regurgitation issues back in June/July. He subsequently became reluctant to feed for quite some time (late July, Aug-September).

I posted a message in October seeking advice and got excellent feedback from Toby and Mark. I re-checked all temps., added a moist hide, re-located the cage to drier, lower traffic area and began feeding very small food items (3-4 day old pinkies; mind you, this is a young adult snake that was previous taking small adult mice agrresively). I also picked up a copy of the Complete Suboc and have read it several times.

Early on, I was encouraged (and hoping to report back with eventual good news) because the suboc had managed to keep a single pinky down three weeks in a row. However, when I increased the size to a fuzzy, he began regurging again. This cycle has gone on since then, with 10-14 days off between feedings.

I've looked into local exotic vets with poor success (at least poor recommendations) but succeeded in finding a former suboc keeper through a Detroit area exotic store who recommended dusting the back half of a pinkie with flagyl/metronidazole to eliminate a possible flagellate infection (apparently this has worked for him). I did this this afternoon and he regurged only a small pinkie within two hours.

While looking him over gently this afternoon after the regurg event (and checking cage temp. extremes for the umpteenth time) I noticed he had a discernibly increased mass in the middle of his body, a little less than 2/3 of the way down his length. I initially thought maybe this was just due to his increasing anorexia due to the feeding problems, but after only a little bit of research, it looks like this is a tell-tale sign of Crypto. infection. All of the other symptoms (mucous-covered regurg 2-4 days after eating; this timing has gotten shorter as he's progressed). He has not been formally diagnosed, but I plan to try additional feedings after he's had some time off and do my own PCR-based test on a regurgitated food item if he does it again.

Unfortunately, the news does not seem good for a snake that is already showing gross pathological signs of Crypto. infection (gastric swelling). Since he has already lost noticeable mass in the past 5 months, I don't want to prolong his suffering (he eats so readily when food is offered, just can't hold it down!).

Has anyone experienced any success with treatments or recovery from Crypto infections? I have several other rat snakes, which are fortunately in a separate room on a separate floor (but used to be in the same room). Has anyone had experience with infected animals and transmission to others and is there a way to treat them (I found something about tube feeding with bovine colostrum)? I try my best to be clean between handling/cleaning different cages (wash hands, don't exchange items), but crypto appears to be highly resistant.

Wishing I had more positive news to report,

From Oct. 15:

Hi all,

I'm somewhat new to keeping NA rat snakes (last two years) and have run into my first persistent problem that has me quite worried:

I have a 2011 trans pecos rat that I acquired a little over a year ago. He has been extremely healthy for nearly all of that time, but this past summer (early August) he went off food, whereas prior to that he had been taking young adult mice weekly. I've had other snakes stop eating like this so didn't force the issue, just offered food each week well into September.

In early/mid September he finally took a small mouse (right after defecating for the first time in a while). He digested this just fine. Since then, I have offered meals weekly and he has either refused or accepted and later regurgitated (now a total of 3 times).

His cage setup has remained relatively unchanged throughout the entire duration in my care: 40 gallon low breeder tank with underpad heater; ~85 at the warm end, ~75 at the cool end. I've played with things a bit to try and make him more comfortable, but don't know what variables to try beyond these basic guides. I've read a bit about moist hides and was wondering if folks had success with these and subocs.

Any other advice is greatly appreciated!

Best regards,


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>> Next Message:  RE: Cryptosporidiosis in trans pecos rats - ecmartens, Wed Jan 1 12:28:29 2014