Blisters? on python

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Jul 18, 2012
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6yo Albino Darwin, had since a hatchy.

Last Monday found 2 jelly like clear lumps on his side, when touched they were movable. (Had disposable gloves on)

So I searched for answers on here and the web, found something called blister disease which looked very similar except they weren’t on his belly.
Took everything out of his enclosure, cleaned and disinfected everything, put down newspaper, his hide and a small water bowl, and bumped up the temp a little (as my research advised)

Applied Betadine ointment to lumps/blisters.

Got a vet appt 2 days later with a reptile vet, my usual vet had been off withCovid and was fully booked.

Anyway, she didn’t seem to know with any certainty what it was. Took a small sample of the fluid in the blister, no bacteria found.

She thought may be thermal burns (not a chance, have a 75W lamp with cage, even if I put my hands on it, it’s never hot enough to even be uncomfortable)

Cage and furnishings are basic, well ventilated, wooden enclosure, temps around 30-32 at hot spot, cool side around 20.
On heat 24/7, fed roughly 3 weeks apart, sheds cleanly.

The only thing I have changed was I used a couple of inches of Breeders Choice cat
litter as substrate, but after 2 or 3 months removed it as he would often tip his water bowl half over and it wouldn’t show up as being wet on the top.
So he could have been laying in moist bedding till I cleaned it all weekly.

Cut long story short, I’m applying Betadine twice a day, changing newspaper daily, and the blisters/lumps have shrunk quite a bit.
The vet said wait till he sheds, see how that goes, meantime apply Betadine, keep enclosure dry, if they burst and looks yellow/bloody go back for antibiotics.

Vet seemed uncertain of what it was, except blisters of some sort, so not definitely ‘blister disease’ which didn’t give me much reassurance.
I could try for an appt with my usual reptile vet if necessary.

(Snakes been treated with Betadine since Tuesday morning)



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Looks like a mild case of blister disease. This is almost always caused by damp conditions, usually when it's too cold and sometimes when it's dirty.

As long as husbandry is fixed before the snake becomes unwell, the blisters usually clear up quickly and all is well. If left in the same conditions, it can become serious/fatal.

This is a very trivial case which you caught early. A change back to warm, dry (not necessarily ambient humidity, just the physical surfaces the snake is in contact with) and your snake should be 100% very quickly.

Vets have nothing like the experience of long term keepers with thousands of snake years to draw from, but they charge a lot more money for wasting your time and stressing your snake and putting it in a high risk environment.
Thanks so much for your reply Sdaji, I was hoping someone with your experience would reply, it’s much appreciated.

He’s been on newspaper since I found the blisters (changed daily) and they have shrunk to barely noticeable, with Betadine ointment applied twice a day.

How long should I continue the Betadine?

And yes, he was unfortunately exposed to damp conditions when I had him on Breeders Choice cat litter (entirely my fault, but I have learnt a valuable lesson)
I wouldn't bother with the Betadine. It won't hurt, but it's not necessary and I'd be more inclined to leave the snake undisturbed. Not a big deal either way, your snake your choice on that one, but I'd assume no infection in this case and you've already had that confirmed, so why treat for something you know isn't there? I also wouldn't bother changing the substrate daily, I'm not exactly sure why you're doing that. Extra cleanliness might be worthwhile at the moment but only in terms of keeping it clean - unless your snake is defecating every day, there's no reason to clean every day. You're just replacing clean paper with clean paper and disturbing the snake for no benefit. Leaving snakes with problems undisturbed is important. Imagine if you're healthy and feeling good, you probably don't mind if your friends come over and get you off the couch for a walk or game of basketball or a hike or swim or whatever you're into, but imagine being forced into activity when you had a really nasty flu - it's not what you should be doing. Pythons generally have low activity/metabolic rates, so forcing them into activity when sick isn't ideal. A strong, healthy snake might be fine with it just like you might be fine with a gym workout every day when you're healthy, but sick snakes are not generally active snakes. Not too make too big a deal of it and it's especially not a big issue in a mild condition like this, but it's worth keeping in mind.

Glad to hear he's looking better, that's exactly what you'd expect if you catch it early like you did. Good job :) I've seen cases much worse than this quickly heal up once the keeper has been given instructions on how to fix it. You caught it well before I'd have any reason to expect anything but a speedy, full recovery.
Thanks Sdaji, all very valid points you’ve bought up.
I was changing the newspaper daily (whilst he was up on his basking spot) just to be extra cautious, but as you said, there’s really no need unless he’s pooped.

I was lucky enough to be able to apply Betadine without handling him, but yes, i certainly don’t want to be stressing him out unnecessarily.

Hes just started to become a bit more active since yesterday, so that’s a relief.

Once again, I appreciate you taking the time to give advice, as you said, better to ask the people who’ve had many years of snake experience than a vet.

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