View Full Version : Older Snake Regurgitating

Older Snake Regurgitating

06-19-2013, 03:16 PM
I recently fed my 18 year-old corn snake 2 adult mice (his usual biweekly feeding) 2-3 days later he threw them both back up again and may I tell you did it stick in his room. Thinking maybe that for some reason, like his age maybe 2 was just to much for him anymore so almost a week after I tried feeding him just 1 and less than two days later he threw it up. I took him to the vet this morning who decided we should try de-worming him and feeding him pinky mice and see if that helps. If that doesn't work he wants to try sedating him and force feeding him. Which I don't get because he is willing to eat, he is just not keeping the stuff down. My questions are, has anyone else experienced this, do you have any recommendations? Is it more likely that this is some age related illness and it's time to say goodbye? I care for him I don't want him to suffer.

06-19-2013, 03:19 PM
I sure wouldn't force feed him until he hasn't eaten for weeks...

Are you familiar with the regurge protocol? I'd drop him back to a hopper-sized mouse, slit, with Nutribac, and see if that stays down.

Could it be a bad batch of mice? He _is_ getting up there in age. Has he been pooping? Can you feel any lumps? Deworming sure won't hurt. Also, he doesn't need to be sedated to be tube fed, if you had to do that. But at 18, if you had to tube feed him to keep him alive, in my opinion, it's time to say goodbye.

06-19-2013, 04:07 PM
I haven't noticed him poop since after the last time he ate. The vet said he looked and felt good. The only low score he would give him was body condition and that was because you can see the ridge in his back. What is the regurge protocol? Vet didn't mention anything about that. If it becomes time to say goodbye how does a snake get euthanized?

Alicia P
06-19-2013, 04:22 PM
Read this thread, it will give you info on the regurge protocol http://www.cornsnakes.com/forums/showthread.php?t=28342

I believe a snake is euthanized the same way any other pet is, by an injection of something lethal.

06-19-2013, 08:27 PM
Sasha, I too have had some old snakes begin to regurge. I wish I had better news, but I have a crappy track record saving them. All fecals have tested negative, and I have done a fecal on each one for the last dozen years. I started feeding hoppers, which they would usually keep down for a while, but they lose weight then eventually they start regurgitating those too. Are the poops getting gray and different? That is where I find the very end to be. If you are still seeing black poo with white urea, he might have more time.

Do NOT force feed. They will just regurge again, and possibly stop eating. I know it's awful, but I am convinced this is how many old snakes die -they just lose their ability to digest food efficiently. Nutri-bac didn't seem to help mine, though I have some confidence in it for babies.

I wish I had better news for you, but I fear your old snake is dying. I also wish I believed the vet's euth protocol could put a reptile "to sleep" like they do with a dog or cat. Best I can tell the anesthetic agent they use before the one that stops the heart has to be injected into a vein. Good luck finding one in a snake. Crocodilians are euth'ed with a gunshot to the brain. I froze my last two old regurgers and still worry their end was painful. Until I learn a vet can end the life more humanely than mine can, I am resolute that I will use a high caliber pistol to the head from now on. Distasteful as that will be for me, I honestly believe it will be the most immediate and painless method available. There is no "good" way to end life. We are all supposed to be eaten by something long before our bodies stop working! I am so sorry for your predicament. My best advice for now is do not force feed, and just offer a hopper mouse every defecation. I wish you the best, and kudos to all who helped keep the old fella going this long.

06-25-2013, 10:54 PM
I'm pretty sure the agent they use to put down animals does not require a vein. I took a mouse with a serious injury in to the vet and they decided the most humane thing to do was to anesthetize. I watched since they just did it there in the room and T]they did the two shot thing, one to sleep, one to kill. Both were put in just by grabbing some skin on his neck and injecting. Now, I've never had to watch a snake be put down, but I'd assume it'd be similar.

06-25-2013, 11:02 PM
Oh, and while I hope that this isn't something you will need to worry about for years to come, I did find this:
"The preferred method of performing euthanasia is the injection of barbiturates into a vein or into the coelomic cavity. This is how dogs and cats are euthanized when it is necessary. The technique is quick and painless, taking only minutes to perform by the intravenous route but up to several hours by the intracoelomic route. The later route should not be used if a post-mortem examination is planned. Barbiturates are controlled substances and must be administered by licensed veterinarians. Aggressive, dangerous or difficult patients may be sedated either by injection or with anesthesia prior to euthanizing."

06-25-2013, 11:16 PM
...they did the two shot thing, one to sleep, one to kill. Both were put in just by grabbing some skin on his neck and injecting. Now, I've never had to watch a snake be put down, but I'd assume it'd be similar.

A reptile doesn't have nearly the circulatory system of a rodent. It would not be similar from an anatomy/physiology standpoint. Simply injecting an anesthetic into muscle tissue would take much, much longer, IF if it would even have the same effect on the brain.

06-26-2013, 06:21 AM
I believe snakes are injected into the heart :-(