Skin shedding issues/skin issues

Discussion in 'Herp Help' started by Iguana, Nov 20, 2016.

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  1. Iguana

    Iguana Well-Known Member

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    Hi everyone, my diamond python isn't a great 'shedder', and has a history of skin problems with a few more recent ones, I am wondering if this is a husbandry problem and if so how I can fix it.

    He doesn't soak in his bowl, and as a result I have to constantly spray his cage when he is about to shed, or soak him, which he hates and stresses him out so I try to avoid if possible. I also put sphagnum moss in his hide, but he often avoids going into it if there is moss or other items in there. He will curl up in the middle of the cage instead.

    Last shed cycle, I did what I always do, I didn't soak him, but I did spray him and put some moss in his hide. He shed relatively well with the exception of a few stuck shed patches on his back, only a few scales big. I couldn't get these off no matter how much I soaked him, and if I tried to 'peel' them off after his soak, it only lifted up scales, so I stopped and under the advice of a couple people, and left it alone until the next shed, which wouldn't be long as he sheds very frequently.

    This shed cycle, I did everything I could to make sure he shed as well as possible, I soaked him twice, in warm water for 15-20 minutes, used "reptile shed spray", and sprayed the tank everyday. He shed not too long ago and I gently took him out recently to check that he had properly shed. He seems to have mostly recovered from the retained shed patches, although there is minor scale wrinkling as a result. But, now there are more issues :(

    He seems to have a small patch of scales that looks very damaged, there is almost a 'dent' in the skin and it is slightly pink, he also has a slightly pink belly, with a majority of the pinkness coming from within his scales, I'm worried that will all my attempts to keep his tank humid I may have made this worse.

    He has been to the vet before for a couple of skin wounds on the side of his body, which the vet and I thought to be burns despite his light being caged, they have healed but the scales are malformed and discolored. She couldn't really help me and I just had to wait for them to heal. Should I do the same with the patch of damaged scales? I'd rather not take him to the vet if it's something that will clear up on its own or if I can treat, but if I have to I definitely will.
    I've taken some recent photos of the areas, Sorry for the poor quality he's not one to sit still.

    Any advice or experience is greatly appreciated, I am very worried. Thank you.
    IMG_2861.jpg IMG_2862.jpg IMG_2863.jpg IMG_2864.jpg
     
  2. pythoninfinite

    pythoninfinite Subscriber Subscriber

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    Those patches are injuries caused by burning or something sharp in the enclosure. You are doing more damage with your fussing about shedding than if you left the snake alone to go through the process itself. Diamonds (like all Carpets) rarely have problems shedding when left to their own devices. When you see the snake becoming opaque and preparing to shed, LEAVE IT ALONE UNTIL THE SNAKE HAS SHED! Don't handle it, don't spray it, don't soak it, just leave it alone. You don't need to increase humidity to ensure a successful shed with these animals, and I'm confident in saying that your continued interference in the process is doing more harm than good. If there are stuck bits of skin around the wounds, leave them until it sheds again - trying to forcibly remove them will do more damage, and increase the risk of enlarging or infecting the wound.

    I would say that from what you have written, that you are subjecting the animal to considerably more stress than is necessary, and this will contribute to a fall in overall good health.

    If they have fresh water at least twice a week, they will drink what they need to remain fully hydrated.

    Jamie
     
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  3. Iguana

    Iguana Well-Known Member

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    Thank you for your detailed reply, I do agree that all my extra interference didn't help in the long run, however his enclosure is extremely dry and as I mentioned he doesn't soak, if I don't spray him or soak him and just leave him to shed how he normally does, he does get patches of stuck shed, and won't shed completely in one piece. But I will try as you suggested and not interfere next time. In the meantime, is there any precautions or treatments I should take for his wound? I'm worried about the pink belly looking like the beginnings of scale rot.
     
  4. pythoninfinite

    pythoninfinite Subscriber Subscriber

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    A pinkish tinge on the belly, especially toward the rear end, is often a sign of an approaching shed, and can be especially noticeable in Diamonds. Snakes with skin damage such as a wound or a burn will often shed repeatedly until they are clean and clear of scabs or other disruptions to their smooth surface - you will understand how disruptive it would be to have a scab or wound catching on things as they glide through grass etc. So, although your animal may have only shed in the past couple of weeks, it's not unusual for the process to begin again almost immediately until the wound is fully healed - this may even take 3 or 4 sheds. (The other possibility, which I think is very unlikely, is that being in a constantly damp enclosure could initiate scale-rot, but I reiterate, this is the least likely possibility, so you don't need to worry about that at this stage - just keep an eye on it.) You'll know within the next couple of days whether it's going to shed again anyway.

    Snakes don't commonly soak prior to shedding unless they are very dehydrated. As I mentioned previously, change the water at least every 3 days to ensure the snake drinks enough - they rarely drink from standing water that is more than 24 hours old, and relish drink of clean fresh water. Carpets, including Diamonds, should not need more than ambient humidity to shed properly, and I think the new keepers are often sold devices to check humidity when they are absolutely not needed. If you are using a light or CHE as a heat-source, you may want to move to belly heat - a low wattage heat cord sandwiched between a couple of tiles, and controlled to give you a surface temp of around 32C, to reduce the drying effect of overhead heat. I've used this with all my Carpets over the years, and they are all trouble-free, the snakes love belly heat, and they are far cheaper to run (15-25W as opposed to 100W+.

    Leave the wound dry and let it heal of its own accord - time and good care will work their magic.

    Keep us posted, Jamie
     
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  5. Iguana

    Iguana Well-Known Member

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    Thanks again for the info, I wouldn't have thought that about the repeated shedding to clear wounds, very interesting information. I'll keep an eye on him in the next few days, he did shed quite alot more after his 'burns' so I wouldn't be too surprised if he was to shed again so soon. Thanks for the humidity info too, I won't bother will humidity gauges and all that, since I do catch him drinking on warm days. I do prefer to use belly heat too, after this i'm seriously considering switching over, especially considering how many bulbs I go through :rolleyes:

    Thank you very much this is very informative, ill post updates :)
     
  6. Pauls_Pythons

    Pauls_Pythons Power Seller Power Seller

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    You might like to find out how/why these burns have appeared too. If you fail to identify the cause of these the shedding issues will only continue.
     
  7. Iguana

    Iguana Well-Known Member

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    I've tried to find out how he's doing it, but i've gotten nothing, I showed the vet pictures of the cage and she couldn't come up with anything either. Everything is caged and his heat light is only on for a certain amount of time a day now, although he did used to wrap around it. I can upload pics if you wanted to take a look?
     
  8. Pauls_Pythons

    Pauls_Pythons Power Seller Power Seller

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    How much clearance between the cage & the light?
    The cage can get very hot if there if there is insufficient gap between them.
     
  9. Iguana

    Iguana Well-Known Member

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    about half an inch or so, it's a second hand cage so all the fittings/cages came with. As I said he doesn't really wrap around it anymore, but should I upgrade the light cage size anyway?
     
  10. pythoninfinite

    pythoninfinite Subscriber Subscriber

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    You certainly should. 10-15mm is way too close and the cage would get very hot during heating cycles. Given that the scarring is on the dorsal surface (on its back), is there any way the snake can get close to or contact the light cage underneath while it's basking? Whatever it is basking on may be too close to the heat source. What wattage globe are you using? Should be just enough wattage to get to the heat you need, and no more, especially in summer.

    Jamie
     
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  11. Iguana

    Iguana Well-Known Member

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    Alright thanks, I will look into getting a new one soon. He can touch it if he wanted to, but he often seems contempt just sitting on the branch underneath, which is several inches away from the cage. The globe is a very low wattage, only 60 or so, i've held my hand on the lamp cage for several minutes and it's never been too uncomfortable. But ever since I've reduced the time the light is on and made it warmer, his wounds have decreased, he did use to wrap around it. The small mark/burn he has now is already starting to look better which is great.
     
  12. Pauls_Pythons

    Pauls_Pythons Power Seller Power Seller

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    60w is hot enough to burn I assure you.
    Put your hand on the cage and see how hot the thing is getting.
     
  13. Iguana

    Iguana Well-Known Member

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    I have touched it before, and it wasn't too bad, but he may have wrapped it again while I wasn't looking. I'll get a larger light cage and see if that clears up the issue.
     
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