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Health Issues/Feeding Problems Anything related to general or specific health problems. Issues having to do with feeding problems or tips.

Is my snake OK?
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Old 07-02-2019, 11:01 AM   #1
Is my snake OK?

Hi all - not sure if I have an issue or not, but I am a bit worried about my corn and haven't been able to find any information elsewhere, so hoping somebody here can help.

My female corn is 12 years old. She's never had any health issues, refused food, or been unable to shed. She is a little bit overweight, and has always been inclined to laziness, but nothing major.

Just over the last couple of months, I've noticed that her back end (about the last three inches of her body above the cloaca) has felt more flabby than usual, and she seems to be lacking in muscle tone. She is not at all inclined to use the muscles there - although she can, if she has to, so I don't think there's any spinal damage. However, I was thinking there might be some arthritis and perhaps she has some discomfort (she hasn't shown any signs but as I understand it, they tend not to unless they're in agony).

Then, just before the weekend, most body of her changed colour as if in preparation for a shed, but the flabby untoned bit didn't go blue. I'm kind of waiting anxiously to see how she manages when she does shed, but I'm worried that she won't be able to get the skin off the bit that didn't go blue.

As well as that, she has been breathing quite heavily just when she's been sitting around in her viv, which I am concerned is because of stress and/or pain.

When I lay it all out like this, I'm actually more worried than I realised. I don't want to ignore a potential problem but, as far as I can see from the little that there is online about reptile arthritis, there is nothing that can be done for them, and it's a case of euthanasia if they're suffering.

Has anyone experienced this with their corn or, alternatively, could there be another explanation for what I've seen in my girl?
Old 07-03-2019, 07:59 PM   #2
I've never seen a condition like that that wasn't caused by an injury. It sounds like a trip to a reptile veterinarian is in order.
Old 07-03-2019, 09:58 PM   #3
I agree, a vet is in order.
Please keep us posted!
Old 07-04-2019, 03:54 AM   #4
Wow, OK, I hadn't considered injury. I will let her complete her shed and then take her to the vet. Her blue has faded so I expect she'll try to shed today or tomorrow.

When you say injury, I am guessing you mean something spinal? If it is that, do you know what the likely prognosis is - do snakes with injuries like that have a chance of survival or is it more likely she'll be euthanised?
Old 07-04-2019, 11:04 AM   #5
An injury is just one possibility. Another is a tumor, and snakes do also get cancer. But let's hope it isn't too serious and she can still maintain her functions like defecation and shedding. I'd be curious what the vet decided was the cause. We all learn by forum members sharing information. Good luck.
Old 07-05-2019, 05:39 AM   #6
Well, she did shed overnight and, as suspected, she retained about a three inch strip on the problem area, but just on her back. Thankfully, the part on her belly did come off. She's had the damp pillowcase treatment and I have now got the retained part off, and she fed OK and seems bright and happy as far as I can tell.

I spoke to the vet this morning, who said that when snakes develop flaccid areas of muscle, there's usually a neurological cause. She didn't seem to think it was an emergency, but we've got an appointment for after the weekend so my snake can digest her feed before she has to be transported anywhere. We'll probably have to have some x-rays and take it from there.

I'm very relieved that my snake seems OK in herself but I'm still bearing in mind the possibility of a tumour and I'm not being complacent about it. I had to have my little hoggy put to sleep earlier this year because he developed a weird skeletal deformity (he was almost 11) that left the vets baffled, even after carrying out tests and doing a post-mortem. I was devastated to lose him without a real explanation as to what had happened, and would be even more so if a similar thing happened to my corn. I'll keep you posted on progress, anyway!
Old 07-05-2019, 09:21 AM   #7
Glad she got through the shed process anyway. Even veterinarians don't have all the answers. They can rely on years of documented case studies and 99% of the time they have an idea of the cause and possible treatment of a problem. My son had two older female corn snakes that were eating, but still losing weight. One died and he took her to a vet for necropsy and cultures but the vet found no reason for the death. The vet wanted him to bring in the live one so he could take samples and send them to the lab. Again nothing was found no internal parasites, no coccidia, no crypto, and no explanation. That one died too. Since the two females were sisters, he could only surmise that it was some heredity issue.
Old 07-15-2019, 10:24 AM   #8
Just a quick update, we went to the vet last week. He gave her an initial exam and asked lots of questions, and found nothing that immediately concerned him. He thinks arthritis is the most likely problem, although he said there wasn't any stiffness in her spine. We're back tomorrow to get her x-rayed, so will see what they find. She continues to be bright and active, so I'm hopeful that it is just an age-related thing and that she'll be with me for a bit longer yet.
Old 07-15-2019, 11:21 AM   #9
Thanks for the update. We will keep our fingers crossed for a good result tomorrow.
Old 07-15-2019, 07:50 PM   #10
I'm glad the vet isn't worried about anything serious. I hope she's ok!

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