Help please python has mites. Head twitching.

Joshyboy

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Hi all, new here and need some help. My daughter has a diamond python. Had it about 3-4 weeks. She took it to vet a local vet who deals with snakes to get him checked and make sure what she was doing was right. They gave the all clear and said he was in good health. The following day she noticed him fully submerged in his water bowl. Later that day she tried feeding him (never had an issue before) he’d take the mouse then drop it and go back in the water. She called the pet shop where she got it from and they said most likely he has mites.
she removed every from the cage and sprayed everything with carringtons reptile insecticide. She also lightly sprayed the python avoiding its head as advised by the pet shop. Tonight when she took it out to treat the cage he went into like a spasm twitching his violently. Can anyone offer any help, treatment advice. She’s new to keeping snakes and quite upset seeing him like this.
Thankyou
Josh.
 

CF Constrictor

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Hi Joshyboy
I have succesfuly treated mite infested snakes by setting them up in temporary containers and spraying their enclosures with insecticide, leaving them for 24 hours and spraying again to get rid of any mite eggs that survived the first spray ( you have to spray twice ). Then, instead of exposing the snake to insecticide, coat it in a fine layer of vegetable oil all over. The oil will stop the mites from feeding off your snake for long enough for you to treat the enclosure. After spraying the second time, leave the enclosure for another 24 hours then clean it thoroughly. Good luck
 

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Hi Joshyboy
I have succesfuly treated mite infested snakes by setting them up in temporary containers and spraying their enclosures with insecticide, leaving them for 24 hours and spraying again to get rid of any mite eggs that survived the first spray ( you have to spray twice ). Then, instead of exposing the snake to insecticide, coat it in a fine layer of vegetable oil all over. The oil will stop the mites from feeding off your snake for long enough for you to treat the enclosure. After spraying the second time, leave the enclosure for another 24 hours then clean it thoroughly. Good luck
Thank you
 

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In the mean while, you can fill a suitable container with warm water about 28c just enough for your snake to fully submerge in, and add a little mild hand soap or dishwashing liquid, and let it soak for around 30 minutes. The soap lowers the surface tension of the water, making it difficult for any mites currently attached to the snake to trap air bubbles, forcing them to let go, or drown.
Veg oil is not toxic and will not harm your snake, but when any mites come into contact with it, they will not be able to attach themselves to the snake to feed, will become smothered in oil, and suffocate. You don't need the snake to be dripping with oil, just enough to cover it all over. Best of luck with it.
 

Herpetology

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Pet shop didn’t seem concerned at all? Assuming u don’t have other reptiles, that would mean the mites came from the shop
 

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Hi Josh.

Personally I'd delay treating the snake any further with the insect spray you've used as well as covering the snake with any type of oil until you can confirm absolutely that the snake is suffering from mite. I know that CF Constrictor is only trying to help but it's best to confirm this before attempting any treatment and I have to say that covering the snakes skin in vegetable oil is not recommended as a treatment for mite and there are far better alternatives available.

By all accounts it appears to me that by the description you provided of the snake suffering tremors after being sprayed with the insecticide that the snake has more than possible had a reaction to the insecticide you've used to treat the alleged mite infection.

I'm very surprised that an experienced reptile vet would not detect a mite infection during an examination and I don't see how a pet shop can confirm the snake had mite in the first place just because it was soaking and without a full examination. If it was the pet shop where you bought the snake and they were aware that the snake had mite before they sold it too you then their husbandry and advice for that matter, is very much in question.

Pythons do soak for several reasons. One of those being to relieve discomfort caused from a mite infestation but also to cool off and thermoregulate, find relief from overheating as a result of an enclosure being too hot and not providing a proper thermal gradient, simply to relax and also to hydrate. It is also common for snake to soak pre-shed.

It is rather easy to identify if a snake has a mite infection by examining the snake for small white mite dropping left on the snakes skin and also by examining around the scales surrounding the snake's eyes, in and around the labial (heat) pits and the scales under it chin for the presence of mite themselves which are identified as very small brownish/black dots embedded between the scales around the eyes, in and around the labial pits and between the scales under the chin.

Dead mite can be identified on or in the substrate as well as in the water. Naturally the worse the infestation the more prominent live mite will be on the snake and dead ones in the water and on the substrate.

This advice should have been given before any form of treatment was suggested.

Can I suggest that before you go any further to undertake a thorough examination of the snake as described above in an attempt to confirm the presence of mite and then just to be sure take the snake and place it in a plastic tub conducive to the size of the snake (eg small snake = small container etc) with paper towel as a substrate and leave it there overnight. This way you should be able to see if there are any mites that will drop off the snake once they have a full belly or have died.

If mites are detected then the snake and the enclosure will need be treated over a period of about a fortnight to kill the mite and any that will hatch from eggs laid in the enclosure.

Without doubt the best method of treatment is to use a product called Top of Decent. It is a proven product that can be safely used to spray both the snake and the enclosure without any ill effects to the snake. It can be purchased from any reputable reptile shop. pet shop or online. All you have to do is remove any water from the enclosure and spray the enclosure with the snake still in it. Place a small water bowl for the snake to have a drink after about 3 or 4 days and leave it overnight before removing it again and repeating the process using Top of Decent over a period of around a fortnight.

Cheers,

George.
 
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CF Constrictor

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Your spot on. I should have suggested confirming it actualy has mites first. Personaly i don't like directly exposing them to any pesticides if i can avoid it. My 3 have never had mites, but 4 or 5 years ago i was asked to keep an eye on a mates collection of 10 snakes while he was in hospital. Most were morelia of all ages with a young childrens and a young woma.
I found all were badly infested with mites, thats when i read about the oil method.
It took less than 2 weeks. I sprayed the entire room twice, and 1 coat of veg oil each to get rid of them all up. They never came back, so i must have done something right. Cheers.
 

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There's some good advice above.

GBWhite: I think Carrington's spray is the same thing as Top of Descent, just rebadged.

I'd echo the sentiments that a vet should pick up a mite infestation on examination. It doesn't for a moment surprise me that they didn't; most reptile vets are less than worthless, this is not unusual and shows what you're typically dealing with when going to a vet.

Definitely, mites should be confirmed if suspected.

Herpetology: The shop isn't going to be concerned. By the nature of what pet shops do, they routinely have mites come in. You can't continually buy in reptiles from multiple sources for the purpose of very short term housing and redistribution without bringing mites in. If you have a closed collection it's of course possible to maintain quarantine and keep yourself mite free through exclusion, and any responsible keeper does this, but for shops it's necessary to have a continual management strategy rather than quarantine and exclusion (and of course, many shops just don't bother at all). I don't know this shop particularly but if it actually is mites, they'll either just take it as a case of one slipping through the cracks which is inevitably going to happen from time to time, or they won't care because they don't care. In a large private collection kept responsibly, yes, of course it's a panic stations scenario.

Joshyboy: Very sorry to hear about your troubles. I haven't used that spray for quite some years now, but around 15-20 years go (I'm feeling old saying that and realising how long ago it was!) I did some experimenting with it and was puzzled by what I found. I tried insanely overdosing reptiles with it to test for safety and even when fogging them ludicrously intensely in sealed plastic boxes I found no ill effects at all. However, on three occasions I had reptiles go into spasms and die over the next 24 hours. Once was a group of Garden Skinks which came in covered in mites, they were sprayed lightly and all immediately went into spasms and died over the next 12 hours or so, spasming until dead. I had used that same can of spray on the same species of skink with the same species of mites on two other occasions with zero ill effects, and I'm still unsure of the explanation. Another cases involved some young Tiger Snakes given to me covered in mites. I sprayed them and again, spasms almost immediately and all were dead within around 24 hours, spasming until death. I'd used that same can more heavily on other Tiger Snakes with no ill effects.

The only consistent thing I've found with deaths from the spray is that the dead reptiles always had mite infestations, but the same spray was also used on the same species with mite infestations with no problems.

In case anyone is wondering, the above all happened in quarantine and none resulted in mites escaping quarantine or getting anywhere near any other reptiles. I've wanted to experiment further but haven't been willing to work hands on with mites because I just don't want to go near them.

Josh, please if you can, get a definitive diagnosis for whether or not the snake had mites, and if you could let us know the outcome for this snake with the spasms I'd greatly appreciate it. Best of luck!
 

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Hi all, new here and need some help. My daughter has a diamond python. Had it about 3-4 weeks. She took it to vet a local vet who deals with snakes to get him checked and make sure what she was doing was right. They gave the all clear and said he was in good health. The following day she noticed him fully submerged in his water bowl. Later that day she tried feeding him (never had an issue before) he’d take the mouse then drop it and go back in the water. She called the pet shop where she got it from and they said most likely he has mites.
she removed every from the cage and sprayed everything with carringtons reptile insecticide. She also lightly sprayed the python avoiding its head as advised by the pet shop. Tonight when she took it out to treat the cage he went into like a spasm twitching his violently. Can anyone offer any help, treatment advice. She’s new to keeping snakes and quite upset seeing him like this.
Thankyou
Josh.
have you seen any mites?

I tried insanely overdosing reptiles with it to test for safety and even when fogging them ludicrously intensely in sealed plastic boxes I found no ill effects at all. However, on three occasions I had reptiles go into spasms and die over the next 24 hours.
WHAT? This is horrific.
 

Ramsayi

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WHAT? This is horrific.
How do you think all the info people have at their fingertips came about?
When a lot of us started keeping and breeding reptiles there were no books or info on the internet available. It all came down to trial and error.
 

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How do you think all the info people have at their fingertips came about?
When a lot of us started keeping and breeding reptiles there were no books or info on the internet available. It all came down to trial and error.
Trial an error is entirely different to deliberately overdosing an animal on pesticides to see what happens.
Using any medication outside of its recommended safe doses and "insanely overdosing" animal is frankly disgusting. No matter what "back in my day" justification you try to spin.
 

Ramsayi

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Trial an error is entirely different to deliberately overdosing an animal on pesticides to see what happens.
Using any medication outside of its recommended safe doses and "insanely overdosing" animal is frankly disgusting. No matter what "back in my day" justification you try to spin.
Overdosing a product that was never made for treating reptiles with mites nor with any safe dosing rates you mean?

You do know what Top of Descent is primarily used for right?
 

Sdaji

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Haters are going to hate.

If you like that, around that time, I was employed working in several animal houses where animal testing was taking place as part of formal research. Your life expectancy is decades longer thanks to animal research. I would literally be dead if not for animal research, and a significant percentage of the people you know, perhaps including yourself, are in the same boat.

Back at that time there was no recommended dosage. The product was not sold as a reptile treatment. To the best of my knowledge there had never been anything published anywhere about using that product on reptiles. There were no products available which were specifically made for the job.

When no information exists, someone needs to do hands on research. If no one ever did it, we would never know anything. When I first incubated reptile eggs, I'd never read a book about it or seen anything online about it. Not because I was lazy, but because back then we didn't have those resources. Like it or not, if you were going to do anything with reptiles back then you were a pioneer and you were experimenting, because there was no one holding your hand telling you exactly what to do. Over 20 years ago I was one of the people who started writing things up to teach other people about what I'd learned, because back then there was nothing else in writing on some of these subjects.

It must be interesting being so young and naive that you don't have any concept of where the information you gain originally came from. This knowledge didn't just fall from the sky in a book. It would be fascinating to see where you imagine the information I should follow originally came from.

Specifically on this example, I needed to know how much was safe, clearly this is critical knowledge for a reptile keeper with a large collection. The previous product most of us used was Sheltox pest strips designed to be kept in closets etc. They were the go to method for years until they were banned in Australia, and then we were forced to seek an alternative. There's only one way to work out what safe doses are when the only product you have has no available information. I didn't go straight to intense doses, I started with extremely low doses and worked my way up, eventually finding that even when I deliberately dosed them as high as I possibly could there was zero ill effect (oh, the horror of my experiments causing zero detectable ill effect!). The only time there was any problem seemed to be from the mites themselves, because in all cases where there were problems suffered by the animals there were heavy mite loads and none of those cases involved high doses of the chemical (a tiny fraction of what I'd found to be safe in the absence of mites). I never overdosed any animal on the chemical, evidenced by the fact that none of them in experiments ever suffered ill effects, which is obviously required to count as an overdose.

If you don't want to contribute to adding to the world's body of knowledge that's entirely fine, but to be horrified when someone else does so in the only possible way that knowledge can be obtained, is just silly, especially when it's the type of knowledge required for someone in your own position. Your horror is your own problem.
 

Joshyboy

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Pet shop didn’t seem concerned at all? Assuming u don’t have other reptiles, that would mean the mites came from the shop
They came from the vet. The python has been fine no issues. My daughter took him to the vet just to make sure she was doing everything right and he was healthy. They gave him the all clear then the next day he had mights. Won’t be going there again.

Hi Josh.

Personally I'd delay treating the snake any further with the insect spray you've used as well as covering the snake with any type of oil until you can confirm absolutely that the snake is suffering from mite. I know that CF Constrictor is only trying to help but it's best to confirm this before attempting any treatment and I have to say that covering the snakes skin in vegetable oil is not recommended as a treatment for mite and there are far better alternatives available.

By all accounts it appears to me that by the description you provided of the snake suffering tremors after being sprayed with the insecticide that the snake has more than possible had a reaction to the insecticide you've used to treat the alleged mite infection.

I'm very surprised that an experienced reptile vet would not detect a mite infection during an examination and I don't see how a pet shop can confirm the snake had mite in the first place just because it was soaking and without a full examination. If it was the pet shop where you bought the snake and they were aware that the snake had mite before they sold it too you then their husbandry and advice for that matter, is very much in question.

Pythons do soak for several reasons. One of those being to relieve discomfort caused from a mite infestation but also to cool off and thermoregulate, find relief from overheating as a result of an enclosure being too hot and not providing a proper thermal gradient, simply to relax and also to hydrate. It is also common for snake to soak pre-shed.

It is rather easy to identify if a snake has a mite infection by examining the snake for small white mite dropping left on the snakes skin and also by examining around the scales surrounding the snake's eyes, in and around the labial (heat) pits and the scales under it chin for the presence of mite themselves which are identified as very small brownish/black dots embedded between the scales around the eyes, in and around the labial pits and between the scales under the chin.

Dead mite can be identified on or in the substrate as well as in the water. Naturally the worse the infestation the more prominent live mite will be on the snake and dead ones in the water and on the substrate.

This advice should have been given before any form of treatment was suggested.

Can I suggest that before you go any further to undertake a thorough examination of the snake as described above in an attempt to confirm the presence of mite and then just to be sure take the snake and place it in a plastic tub conducive to the size of the snake (eg small snake = small container etc) with paper towel as a substrate and leave it there overnight. This way you should be able to see if there are any mites that will drop off the snake once they have a full belly or have died.

If mites are detected then the snake and the enclosure will need be treated over a period of about a fortnight to kill the mite and any that will hatch from eggs laid in the enclosure.

Without doubt the best method of treatment is to use a product called Top of Decent. It is a proven product that can be safely used to spray both the snake and the enclosure without any ill effects to the snake. It can be purchased from any reputable reptile shop. pet shop or online. All you have to do is remove any water from the enclosure and spray the enclosure with the snake still in it. Place a small water bowl for the snake to have a drink after about 3 or 4 days and leave it overnight before removing it again and repeating the process using Top of Decent over a period of around a fortnight.

Cheers,

George.
Thanks for the reply. It is confirmed mites. The pet shop has been very helpful and the snake was fine until my daughter took it to the vets. The vet gave him a healthy all clear then the next day he had mites so assume it got them at the vets. We are using top of decent.
we have pretty much done what you have said, thank you much appreciate it. My daughter spoke with the pet shop again today and we think we have it sorted. The pet shop have been fantastic and the snake was in great condition when we got it. Handled really well and fed easy. It be actually refused it’s food then we found it soaking in the water so thought something was wrong. Thank you.

There's some good advice above.

GBWhite: I think Carrington's spray is the same thing as Top of Descent, just rebadged.

I'd echo the sentiments that a vet should pick up a mite infestation on examination. It doesn't for a moment surprise me that they didn't; most reptile vets are less than worthless, this is not unusual and shows what you're typically dealing with when going to a vet.

Definitely, mites should be confirmed if suspected.

Herpetology: The shop isn't going to be concerned. By the nature of what pet shops do, they routinely have mites come in. You can't continually buy in reptiles from multiple sources for the purpose of very short term housing and redistribution without bringing mites in. If you have a closed collection it's of course possible to maintain quarantine and keep yourself mite free through exclusion, and any responsible keeper does this, but for shops it's necessary to have a continual management strategy rather than quarantine and exclusion (and of course, many shops just don't bother at all). I don't know this shop particularly but if it actually is mites, they'll either just take it as a case of one slipping through the cracks which is inevitably going to happen from time to time, or they won't care because they don't care. In a large private collection kept responsibly, yes, of course it's a panic stations scenario.

Joshyboy: Very sorry to hear about your troubles. I haven't used that spray for quite some years now, but around 15-20 years go (I'm feeling old saying that and realising how long ago it was!) I did some experimenting with it and was puzzled by what I found. I tried insanely overdosing reptiles with it to test for safety and even when fogging them ludicrously intensely in sealed plastic boxes I found no ill effects at all. However, on three occasions I had reptiles go into spasms and die over the next 24 hours. Once was a group of Garden Skinks which came in covered in mites, they were sprayed lightly and all immediately went into spasms and died over the next 12 hours or so, spasming until dead. I had used that same can of spray on the same species of skink with the same species of mites on two other occasions with zero ill effects, and I'm still unsure of the explanation. Another cases involved some young Tiger Snakes given to me covered in mites. I sprayed them and again, spasms almost immediately and all were dead within around 24 hours, spasming until death. I'd used that same can more heavily on other Tiger Snakes with no ill effects.

The only consistent thing I've found with deaths from the spray is that the dead reptiles always had mite infestations, but the same spray was also used on the same species with mite infestations with no problems.

In case anyone is wondering, the above all happened in quarantine and none resulted in mites escaping quarantine or getting anywhere near any other reptiles. I've wanted to experiment further but haven't been willing to work hands on with mites because I just don't want to go near them.

Josh, please if you can, get a definitive diagnosis for whether or not the snake had mites, and if you could let us know the outcome for this snake with the spasms I'd greatly appreciate it. Best of luck!
Thank you for the info. Yes the spasms are my main concern. We spoke with the pet shop again and they have been very helpful. Pretty sure the mites came from the vet not the pet store. This is my daughters first snake so was quite worried with how it reacted. The snake is still twitching quite bad. We are looking for another vet that deals with reptiles now. Again thankyou fir your help.

Thank you everyone. We did confirm it was mites. We believe they came from the vet not the pet shop. The pet shop have been fantastic. The snake was great to handle and fed really well straight from when we got it. The vet even gave it a healthy all clear then the next day it had mights. This was 3-4 weeks after we got it so unlikely from the pet shop I believe. We have got more advice from the pet shop so hopefully we are on top of it now. I’ll let you know how we go. Thank you everyone for your help.

have you seen any mites?


WHAT? This is horrific.
Yes it was confirmed mites.
 

Sdaji

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Thank you everyone. We did confirm it was mites. We believe they came from the vet not the pet shop. The pet shop have been fantastic. The snake was great to handle and fed really well straight from when we got it. The vet even gave it a healthy all clear then the next day it had mights. This was 3-4 weeks after we got it so unlikely from the pet shop I believe. We have got more advice from the pet shop so hopefully we are on top of it now. I’ll let you know how we go. Thank you everyone for your help.

3-4 weeks is a very short amount of time. You're almost certainly not going to spot mites if there are only a very few on the snake (as is generally the case when a snake has come into contact with them and they have found their way on to a snake, but not yet had time to complete a generation of reproduction, and it's when that first generation is growing up that you'll first be able to detect them, and that takes weeks).

If not the pet shop, where do you think they could have come from? You don't accidentally introduce them and have a large number within a week or two, you need time to complete a life cycle. Unless you allowed mites on to your snake immediately after coming from the shop, they came from the shop.

Please let us know how the snake's condition progresses.
 

Herpetology

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The chances of it coming from the vets are so astronomically low, the vet would have had to literally just been with a snake with mites

mites don’t just lounge around waiting on the daily disinfected floor for a snake to come by
 

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Haters are going to hate.

If you like that, around that time, I was employed working in several animal houses where animal testing was taking place as part of formal research. Your life expectancy is decades longer thanks to animal research. I would literally be dead if not for animal research, and a significant percentage of the people you know, perhaps including yourself, are in the same boat.

Back at that time there was no recommended dosage. The product was not sold as a reptile treatment. To the best of my knowledge there had never been anything published anywhere about using that product on reptiles. There were no products available which were specifically made for the job.

When no information exists, someone needs to do hands on research. If no one ever did it, we would never know anything. When I first incubated reptile eggs, I'd never read a book about it or seen anything online about it. Not because I was lazy, but because back then we didn't have those resources. Like it or not, if you were going to do anything with reptiles back then you were a pioneer and you were experimenting, because there was no one holding your hand telling you exactly what to do. Over 20 years ago I was one of the people who started writing things up to teach other people about what I'd learned, because back then there was nothing else in writing on some of these subjects.

It must be interesting being so young and naive that you don't have any concept of where the information you gain originally came from. This knowledge didn't just fall from the sky in a book. It would be fascinating to see where you imagine the information I should follow originally came from.

Specifically on this example, I needed to know how much was safe, clearly this is critical knowledge for a reptile keeper with a large collection. The previous product most of us used was Sheltox pest strips designed to be kept in closets etc. They were the go to method for years until they were banned in Australia, and then we were forced to seek an alternative. There's only one way to work out what safe doses are when the only product you have has no available information. I didn't go straight to intense doses, I started with extremely low doses and worked my way up, eventually finding that even when I deliberately dosed them as high as I possibly could there was zero ill effect (oh, the horror of my experiments causing zero detectable ill effect!). The only time there was any problem seemed to be from the mites themselves, because in all cases where there were problems suffered by the animals there were heavy mite loads and none of those cases involved high doses of the chemical (a tiny fraction of what I'd found to be safe in the absence of mites). I never overdosed any animal on the chemical, evidenced by the fact that none of them in experiments ever suffered ill effects, which is obviously required to count as an overdose.

If you don't want to contribute to adding to the world's body of knowledge that's entirely fine, but to be horrified when someone else does so in the only possible way that knowledge can be obtained, is just silly, especially when it's the type of knowledge required for someone in your own position. Your horror is your own problem.
Terribly sorry if I misunderstood or caused offense but the way your comment was phrased did not sound like formal research but rather a sadist poisoning animals to see what happened.

Of course I understand the importance of formal research. Not knowing that you were employed in that area though, hearing about you "insanely overdosing" and "intensely fogging" animals "to see what happened" was somewhat alarming. You may want to make it more clear that this was actually sanctioned scientific work in future, for those of us unaware of your professional history.
 

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Terribly sorry if I misunderstood or caused offense but the way your comment was phrased did not sound like formal research but rather a sadist poisoning animals to see what happened.

Of course I understand the importance of formal research. Not knowing that you were employed in that area though, hearing about you "insanely overdosing" and "intensely fogging" animals "to see what happened" was somewhat alarming. You may want to make it more clear that this was actually sanctioned scientific work in future, for those of us unaware of your professional history.

It wasn't part of a formal study. I was also employed in animal houses etc at the time, but experimenting with mite control methods was on my own dime and time. Feel free to resume hating me.

It says something about you that you'd immediately think that someone doing their best to help animals, who had spent a lot of time researching and educating others, who had studied and become a qualified biologist, was a sadist for putting into use what they'd learned for the sole purpose of better caring for animals, because of an experiment which caused zero suffering to any animals.

Unfortunately, there is no way to find the safety limits without going slightly beyond them. The information at the time simply was not available. To my knowledge, no one has ever done this research in a formal capacity, and most of the information I see online about it today, about 20 years later, is based on guesswork and supposition and is quite incorrect, and I only know that because I've done the first hand experimentation. I can absolutely say without any doubt that the many animals I've been able to directly treat personally because of what I learned, as well as indirectly by advising others over the last 20 years or so because of what I learned in those experiments gained far, far more benefit than the zero animals harmed during the experiments. If you want to call me sadistic for that, hey, power to you. I generally get no abuse for literally eating animals which I can literally buy dead at the supermarket, and people don't get furious at you when you forget to cook or eat all of it and some of your chicken casserole ends up in the garbage, with that death entirely wasted, but when an animal is used to gain knowledge to help countless others, apparently it's 'sadism'.

Fun fact, the first time I logged into APS I was in a laboratory with a gecko in experimental apparatus hooked up to a computer, recording measurements. I was browsing while the experiment was taking place and that's when I found this site. That was part of formal research within an institution, so I suppose you don't need to be angry at me about that. Funnily enough, the colony of geckoes at that institution had mite issue which was solved by the use of a treatment which had been worked out by someone carrying out non institution-based research.

Enjoy your pork chops/chicken wings/fish/bolognese tonight.
 
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