Green urates and can't get python to eat

Discussion in 'Herp Help' started by Leishkin, Jan 9, 2019.

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  1. Leishkin

    Leishkin Not so new Member

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    Hi gang,
    First off, we have see Shane the reptile vet about this.
    Our 3 yr old coastal carpet python stopped eating going into winter. We thought nothing of it as a couple of our other snakes did too. But spring came and went and he still refuses to feed. About 2 months ago he started doing fluro green urates. They still had a white chalky bit but liquid was bright green.
    We took him to the vet who did bloods, found him to be dehydrated (though he always has water in his enclosure i guess this is because he's not getting any fluids from food) the vet suggested a kidney infection and we have just finished a 10 injection course of antibiotics but still peeing green. White bit is now green too... not sure if that's better or worse... I feel like he has just been peeing out all of the hydration he was given at the vets (he was on a drip overnight) as he is doing 2-3 wees a week.

    The vets (and our) hope is that if he eats he will come good but we have tried white rats, dark rats, rats scented with mice, mice, rats with bloody noses, quail, no luck.

    My husband believes force feeding is our "last resort" but he is very clearly losing condition (looking thinner, muscles along his body visible) and i feel we shouldn't wait much longer.

    Has anyone experienced anything similar and had a good outcome? Anyone got any ideas?
    I am very worried about my sweet boy :(

    Thanks!
     
  2. Sdaji

    Sdaji Almost Legendary

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    Firstly, let me say that I really hate saying the following, and I'm very sorry to be saying it.

    In my experience, green urates either come from dehydration (this is what I've most commonly seen,usually a yellowy green, dull, sometimes shades of yellow rather than green) or infection (usually a bright green), which is more serious. This fits with what your vet has told you, so for once they seem to have some clue of what's going on. The 'white bit' being green is indeed worse, I'm sad to say. I've never had it in any of my own snakes but have seen it in other collections and have never known a snake to survive for more than another few months I'm sad to say (this includes snakes treated with antibiotics). Also very sad to say that feeding is likely to cause the snake to die sooner than without any feeding, although obviously if there is any chance of a recovery he is going to need to eat, as obviously not eating will eventually lead to death by starvation. The fact that feeding at this point will likely result in a more rapid death is likely why the snake doesn't want to eat.

    I'd have the snake in quarantine, and if the condition of the snake worsened (if the snake's condition deteriorates significantly and/or the snake seems to be suffering), I would personally euthenase.

    The best hope is that the snake's immune system does its job, clearly things up, the body is able to repair the kidneys and the snake.

    The reason feeding is likely to kill the snake more quickly is a little bit complicated, but basically, when snakes eat a whole animal they are undertaking a huge task. It's not like us eating some food which digests within hours and some of the energy is available to us within minutes depending on what we eat. Snakes eat entire animals including skeletons which take a large amount of energy and resources to break down, guts literally full of $#!t which are toxic and take effort to process and detoxify which puts a strain on the snake, the meal is huge which itself means digestion is a huge undertaking, the body of the meal generally rots to some extent before it is fully digested, which is another strain putting toxicity issues etc into the snake, and the benefits of the feed don't come until after a lot of this energy and risk has already been expended. It's just such a huge drain on a snake to eat a meal. The toxicity snakes need to deal with puts a large stress on the liver (which is already under extreme stress during a significant internal infection) and the kidneys (which are fundamental in dealing with the filtration and excretion of toxins, and in this case are already under extreme stress from the infection even without eating a meal). Add a meal to the current situation and you have a potentially deadly scenario.

    Snakes such as adult Carpet Pythons in good condition can easily go 2+ years without a meal if there are no other issues. In this case it's difficult to say how large your snake's fat reserves are and how well his health is holding up given the current condition, but if he does have good condition, his best hope (which honestly, is slim) would be to not eat, use his body fat reserves for energy while fighting off the infection and then if it can be removed and the kidneys repaired, then he can afford to eat and go on with life as usual. If he is clearly in poor condition (which may be the case since his body is under extreme stress and he'll be using up his reserves at a much greater than usual rate), then his only hope is to eat ASAP, but I'd personally probably opt for euthenasia if a snake has bright green urates, is in bad condition and needs a lot of persuasion to eat. Then again, by that stage I've never known it to last much longer anyway.

    As I said, I've never seen a snake come back from this, but I have seen snakes surprise me with other issues, even after seeing the same thing happening for decades without exception. I'd love for this snake to be that first exception to this rule. Best of luck to you and him!
     
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  3. Leishkin

    Leishkin Not so new Member

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    Sdaji, Thank you so much for your reply, what you've said makes sooo much sense, whether we want to hear it or not it is good to know to stop trying to encourage feeding (vet suggested he could be digesting his own stomach and what we are seeing is the bile?) The urates were before quite "slimy"looking but have gotten less so which i hope is a good sign. We will stop offering him food every week and see how he goes for a week or 2 now that he's had the full course of antibiotics then return to the vet.

    He was in very good condition before stopping eating and still seems active and holds on well when handled, tongue flicking, curious to explore, i wouldn't say he is in terrible condition yet, just has thinned out noticably. He is out and in the warm end of his enclosure for most of the day. He has shed since the vet stay and it was all in one piece.

    We actually had another snake pass last year, she had regurgitated a feed randomly and was then off her food for weeks. She was acting normal the entire time so when she finally fed again we were thrilled... but then a few days later she hadn't digested it and was looking extremely unwell. We went to the vet who suggested all sorts of nonsense including sunshine virus (we had her tested for all viruses to be safe, nothing) because of her "neuro" behaviour (which appeared to me as her just being extremely weak) Now i realise why she went downhill so fast. She must have been fighting something else and was just not up to digesting anything :( poor girl. I am so sad we didn't take her in earlier before feeding her (though not sure the vets would have been much help anyway) i thank you for this information as i can now have some closure for her too.

    It is so hard to know if they are in any pain. :( we will definitely take your advice if he does not improve very soon. I wish the vets were as helpful and logical as you just were istead of always jumping straight to ridiculous viruses they never would have been exposed to. In the end experience sometimes clearly trumps books!

    Aleisha
     
    Last edited: Jan 9, 2019
  4. Sdaji

    Sdaji Almost Legendary

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    I've been working with animals my whole life and I've very rarely come across an exotic vet who is more than a con man. Even the majority of regular vets are just con men. If they can find any excuse to convince you to part with money they'll have a go, and coming up with these tests for 'sunshine virus' etc are one of many examples (for years it was IBD they were using as an excuse to charge money for, then eventually they had to admit that was a load of nonsense, then it was OPMV, which, oh, turned out to be nonsense, then this, then that... there's always something they have to say to you to justify asking you for your consultancy fee and down the track it always turns out that their words were literally worth less than nothing (not knowing is better than incorrect information which makes you think you know).

    As a biologist myself I know enough to recognise when vets are lying (99% of the time, although some of them blindly follow the book and believe their own nonsense, which is even worse), but for a lot of people it's difficult to know when a vet may actually be able to help, and those times do exist. Personally I'd never go to a vet for an issue like this. If you have access to genuinely knowledgeable people you'll do much better than with a vet unless they're a good one, and I think I've come across a grand total of two or three exotic vets I could call anything above bad (none of them are ones with the good reputations).

    Anyway, as for your current situation, I won't depress you with further details but you can see what happens.

    Feeding snakes is very commonly the thing which tips them over the edge, whatever the issue is. Many many times I have seen snakes killed by feeding when the issue was starvation. It's always a bit sad to see someone excitedly saying they successfully force fed or tube fed a snake for the first time and posting a picture of a snake with a sizeable food lump after describing that it had gone so long without a feed that it had skin folds and was looking weak (invariably these snakes are dead within 48 hours and usually within 24, because they don't have the reserves to digest a large meal). Since it is such a huge effort, digesting a feed is often the nail in the coffin, and many times because the snake dies just after a feed, people suspect there was something wrong with the feed. If you ever are feeding a snake in a difficult situation, especially if it is weak from something like starvation, make sure it is a small feed. Sometimes you actually see snakes which are emaciated and despite being alive you can't save them, because the next feed is going to kill them, so you either have to let them die over however long it takes or feed them knowing it will kill them (in these cases if you're going to try, make it a small feed and something easy to digest such as a boneless piece of chicken with some skin). In the case of your snake which died, feeding it probably just brought about the inevitable more quickly, which sad as it is, probably was better than the longer alternative.

    Best of luck with this current case. Please keep us informed, I'd love him to recover and give hope to other snakes in the same situation. I might have mentioned it in my previous post, but definitely keep him in quarantine if you have other snakes.
     
  5. Leishkin

    Leishkin Not so new Member

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    Thanks so much. I was going to ask about starting small if he gets healthy again so thanks for that.
    I tend to agree with you about vets. Every time we have taken an animal in the last 3 years or so it has ended up dying after spending hundreds of dollars on it. We are still paying off the bill for the other snake 6 months after her death as the testing for viruses was something like $400. I just keep thinking about how completely bizarre and wrong i thought he was about a virus at all and feel angry that it was even floated as a possibility. Why am i paying so much for their stupidity?
    The worst part is to me that instead of just flat out suggesting euthanasia, they put the poor girl through having the rotting rat removed by flushing her out/ forced regurgitation to "see if that helped" i can't imagine how traumatic it was and just wish i'd had her put out of her misery at the get go :(
    His urates today seem slightly less green? I live in hope. He is a beautiful boy.
     
  6. Sdaji

    Sdaji Almost Legendary

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    Honestly, that last question of yours is something you should be thinking about. Vets are worth seeing if you need a cat desexed or if you have a pet with a specific injury which can be tangibly treated with a tangible solution. It's sad when you see vets willfully deceiving people into parting with their money when they know full well what the inevitable outcome is, that there is no help they can provide, and when they offer tests and treatments they know are completely worthless.

    Flat out euthenasia doesn't make them as much money as dragging the situation out. The longer the animal is alive and unwell, the more opportunity to make money out of it. The more you suffer and are in anguish, the more likely you are to throw money at the situation. If these people care about doing the right thing they go out of business (this is why I never became a vet, despite the fact that I'd be far better at it than almost any of the vets around - people who are good at being an exotic vet and would be good, decent, genuine people in their practice can't compete with the con men, which is why the vast majority of people who would be good at it don't do it). Exotic vets do vastly more harm than good, and to a lesser extent the same can be said of regular vets. Other than getting animals desexed, I've never personally had a reason to go to a vet, and this is after spending 35 years keeping animals and working with them privately, commercially, I've worked with animals in laboratories (yep, including in animal testing labs), in various types of animal houses (my goodness, the horror stories I could tell you about in house vets working at animal houses!), I've personally (privately) worked with commercial numbers of fish, a diverse range of reptiles, and everything from chickens to ferrets to a warehouse full of rats and mice, etc etc and the regular stuff like breeding fancy domestic cats. In the 6 or so times I've taken animals to vets with health issues (every time with great reluctance because I know what is going to happen and I hate giving money to con men) the animals have died anyway, which is exactly what I see every time in the thousands of times I see other people take animals to vets when I'm sure they're going to die regardless of what's done. I have more experience than most and while there are few things a vet could do which I couldn't (I don't have the facilities to perform a c-section on a cat for example), it's extremely rare that I see anything which can't be dealt with yourself which a vet could (*successfully*) do anything about, but that doesn't stop them charging money to pretend they can. Antibiotics are rarely but sometimes useful and most people would have trouble sourcing them without a vet and it would take them a lot of research to work things out, so I get that for regular pet keepers (though overwhelmingly I've seen antibiotics given to snakes do more harm than good and of the hundreds of cases I know of first hand, I can't think of one where the snake survived when it probably wouldn't have survived without them, and I've seen them kill many snakes including one which was the only albino of its species, which was incredibly painful to watch - I pleaded with the owner of that snake not to use them, and it's so sad that today there are no albinos of that species instead of them being common and enjoyed by many people).

    It's amazing that despite being blatant con men who capitalise on the most distraught and emotionally vulnerable people, demonstrably telling blatant lies all along the way, people love them so much.
     
  7. Leishkin

    Leishkin Not so new Member

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    We feel very similarly!!

    My husband just floated the idea of sterilising the needles we have from the antibiotics and giving him fluid injections? Would it help to flush him out do you think?

    The snake i spoke of that passed had an RI a few months before all of this. The secondary herp vet gave us antibiotics for her and she did 2 courses of those with no improvement before we saw the 'better' vet who gave us a much higher dosage for a longer course. I do feel that such long exposure to antibiotics possibly did the damage that led to her later passing away.
     
  8. Sdaji

    Sdaji Almost Legendary

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    I personally would absolutely positively not do that. In the vast majority of cases, looking at all reptile issues I've seen over the last 30+ years, invasive/interventionist approaches (very, very much including when carried out by vets) cause more harm than good. There are times when an interventionist approach is best, but they are the exception rather than the rule. People generally want to actively do something when there's a problem rather than sit back and let biology do its job, which unfortunately is generally counterproductive. When you say fluid injections I'm not sure if you mean an injection or just administering it orally. Absolutely 200% don't inject water directly into the body, for all sorts of reasons. The snake will know if drinking water orally is beneficial or not, and if so he'll do it of his own accord (some people will argue with me including some I respect, and admittedly there are sometimes exceptions). If you really must use a syringe to give a snake water orally, absolutely positively never use a sharp needle! You will need a dosing needle for that job or you'll be guaranteed to injure the oesophagus unless you get it really wrong and injure the trachea or something else (which will likely be fatal within 24 hours).

    Surprisingly, of the huge number of snakes I've kept over the last 25 or so years, I've never had one with a respiratory infection. Generally they come good if the conditions which caused them are corrected, unless it has gone too far. It's possible that in some cases antibiotics would bring back a snake which would otherwise die from an RI, but of all the cases I've seen where antibiotics were used, they seemed to do more harm than good. As you say, they often seem to make the condition worsen.

    I have seen a small number of cases where snakes had issues and antibiotics did improve the situation, but when the antibiotics were stopped the problem returned. It seemed these snakes could perhaps have been kept alive indefinitely on antibiotics but they weren't curing the issue because if one in the group had them stopped they'd go downhill and die (personally I wouldn't hesitate to euthenase the lot if faced with a situation like it in my own care). Most of my experience with these issues come from observing what happens in friends' collections. I make plenty of my own mistakes but quarantine and good husbandry are things I tend to be pretty strict with, and so I've avoided most of these problems pretty successfully.
     
  9. Leishkin

    Leishkin Not so new Member

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    Thanks for your ongoing advice, i really appreciate it. As i said he was beinv hydrated at the vet, i am.not sure precisely how, but pretty sure he has been passing more urates due to that.
    Anyway. We will keep a close eye and let you know how he goes <3
    --- Automatic Post Merged, Jan 23, 2019, Original Post Date: Jan 11, 2019 ---
    Sad to report Fade has just passed away.
    His urates had been seeming less green and he was still behaving the same so we didn't end up taking him back to the vet, hopeful he may have been improving.
    Today he was moving around a lot as opposed to staying hidden through the day as usual, though seemed pretty weak and wobbly obviously. I was a bit hopeful maybe this was a good sign but unfortunately we went in to clean his enclosure after getting the kids to bed and found him deceased :( i had seen him moving less than an hour before so at least it must have been fairly quick :(
    Thanks again for your advice. At least we know there was nothing more we could have done to help him, though i do wish we'd put him out of his misery :(
     
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  10. Stuart

    Stuart Site Admin Staff Member

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    Sorry to hear. Domt beat yourself up over something that may have had a positive outcome
     
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  11. Stompsy

    Stompsy Subscriber Subscriber

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    So much vet bashing!

    Pretty sure the vet didn't force you to make the choices you made for treatment and being a client of said vet... we have always been given several alternatives in terms of treatment for our animals ailments.

    That vet even took on a monitor which we had decided to have put to sleep. They took her on, did the surgery required and she still lives there, all at their own cost and time.

    Anyway, good luck with your snake. I hope he survives.
     
  12. Herptology

    Herptology Not so new Member

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    I think you missed a post my friend, the guys snake passed away :(
     
  13. Stompsy

    Stompsy Subscriber Subscriber

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    Yeah I skimmed over the end. The rest of my post stands though.

    Sorry for your loss.
     
  14. Leishkin

    Leishkin Not so new Member

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    Seems you skimmed a fair bit. We did everything the vet suggested in both cases, spent hundreds of dollars doing so.
    Our other snake should have just been put to sleep rather than put through so much trauma to only die anyway. Suggesting she had a virus was completely off base. I have read up on the symptoms of it and they were nothing like what she experienced.
    With Fade we did all of the vet treatment and antibiotics but to no avail.
     
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  15. Pauls_Pythons

    Pauls_Pythons Power Seller Power Seller

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    So let me get this straight...............
    You have had 2 young snakes die within 6 months of eachother.
    Both were known to be sick. You took them to Shane who suggested possible causes and treatments which you decided to try.
    Both snakes died?

    Did I miss the part where you had a postmortem to determine cause of death so that you are sure there is nothing than can be passed onto the other snakes?
    Having 2 young snakes die so close together is unusual in itself unless there is a problem such as........a virus.......within your collection.
    Have you or anyone else who has handled your snakes in the past year or so possibly been in contact with other snakes?

    I understand you are upset but something killed those 2 snakes. High probability it was a virus of some kind and if you dont focus on the right things the rest of your collection could be at risk.
     
  16. Sdaji

    Sdaji Almost Legendary

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    This thread is going stupid so I won't post more in it, but sorry for your loss (I'm as surprised as you'd expect) and if you'd like to talk more about the situation feel free to PM me.
     
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