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Old 01-07-17, 07:24 PM   #1 (permalink)
TRD
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Unhappy My MBK showing signs of neurological damage

So... I was on a reptile show almost 1.5 months (edit: can't think, it was dec-4) back and found a MBK in severe need of someone who would take care of him. It was a yearling measuring around 55cm and weighing in under 55 grams. He was very calm though, curious and all, but calm. He had some poor scaling due to a bad shed, and still does (he's in shed now though, for the 2nd time since I have him... he puts himself in shed immediately after finishing one) but that is not what is worrying me.

I took him to a reptile vet after I got him, he checked him fully and give him a clean bill of health. He probably just wasnt getting fed too much. Since I have him he gained some good weight and takes his small hopper every 5 days, though he's a bit reluctant to feed compared to my ferocious other lampropetis. I blamed it on the season, though now I'm not that sure anymore.

Anyway, now since 2 days he developed other symptoms which led to him going directly into quarantine zone...

He's unable or unwilling to turn himself right again after being put upside down. He's literally now laying on his back for an hour, lifting only his head slightly up. Even if I go and "irritate him" he doesn't turn over though he does the "I'm pissed off and slap my tail on the floor" thingy. I have tried to turn him right, and then back again, and he just stays that way.

I feel so bad for him, but this doesn't look good

Also very much hoping that if it is some nasty retrovirus it didn't carry over to anyone else in my small but very much loved collection

Damnit, I so much hope he's just a weird snake and just does this stuff... I'm really very fond of him.............

Last edited by TRD; 01-07-17 at 07:38 PM..
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Old 01-07-17, 08:00 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Re: My MBK showing signs of neurological damage

If your temps are dialed in and he hasn't been exposed to any toxins recently I'm not sure what could be going on with your MBK but I really hope he's ok. I'd get him back to the vet quickly.
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Old 01-07-17, 08:10 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Re: My MBK showing signs of neurological damage

That's the plan indeed. Temps and all are all fine, in fact when the snake is not upside down he behaves normally in terms of thermo regulating and whatnot. He doesn't show any other neurological signs besides not righting himself, though you would expect a snake that can't right himself to have problematic area's elsewhere as well. It's so odd.

I'm reading over the neurological pages of Dr Mader - Reptile Medicine and Surgery (yea I have wack interests), but I can't find anything conclusive in that. Really helps when doctors write that certain illnesses can have 100+1 signs, or be completely asymptomatic. Just whatever it is may have the potential to be very serious :S

Anyway, I turned the snake right again now, and he went under his night time heat spot like he usually does, as if nothing happened.
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Old 01-11-17, 10:31 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Re: My MBK showing signs of neurological damage

He seems to be doing slightly better the last days. Due to some professional commitments I had to attend I haven't been able to visit the vet in person. It has been told to me that he can just be trying to brumate, even though the temperatures are not allowing it to commence, and as such the snake is just pretty lethargic in this period. He was checked already by a reptile vet recently who didn't find any issues outside of the suffering due to bad shed and underfeeding. He got some vitamins to support him in the skin issues and that's it (ie- the vet wanted to give him a shot, I asked if I can just inject the mouse with it instead and this was fine).

He still doesn't show any other sign of anything more serious. Since he is a very calm specimen already and it's hard to "scare him" I did do another test... I read some articles to check reptile reflexes, but most of those describe methods that would actually hurt the animal to force a response in case the animal doesn't feel like giving you one and you need to confirm he's really lethargic in a way that he "cannot" do something. So instead of sticking a needle in his skin as the vet articles describe, I figured that a cloth with some cooled water would probably also surprise him. And it did. He literally shot away at warp speed as soon as it made contact with his lower body part and sitting in the corner slamming his tail on the floor. That seemed like a pretty normal reaction to me...

Maybe my snake is just very lazy, or trying to brumate, or something, and isn't necessarily in bad health. Though it's hard to read an animal which you just received as you have no benchmark for his normal behavior.
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Old 01-14-17, 01:41 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Re: My MBK showing signs of neurological damage

I don't have any advice. But, I hope your little bebe gets better soon.
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Old 02-26-17, 06:44 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Re: My MBK showing signs of neurological damage

Just an update. He's doing much better now... shed twice (just fine one piece) again, and scales are looking a lot better. He's now acting like a proper snake and striking/coiling the mice like a boss. Still putting himself in a continuous shed cycle though... 7-14 days week after shed, goes into the next, basically sheds every month or so, a little less perhaps, which is quite a lot for 1y 5m old snake. He still has some poor scales/skin on the last half of his body, maybe has to do with that, dunno.

His activity is up a lot since a month and he's now over 110 grams, at the time of the OP he was 71 grams. I reduced his feeding schedule now cause it was going a bit too fast for comfort and there is no rush.

He'll be fine
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Old 02-26-17, 08:00 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Re: My MBK showing signs of neurological damage

Glad to hear he's doing better! Very strange, I've never heard of something like this.

As far as the shed frequency, it really isn't that unusual for them to shed every month. I've found regardless of species and regardless of age, my snakes will shed on average every 1-3 months. Even my 11 year old will sometimes only take a month. I do get the occasional odd shedder that takes 6+ months to shed but they generally follow the 1-3 month trend as well, baby or adult. The frequency also really doesn't stay steady, they won't always shed at the same frequency all the time.

If you mean he's going into shed only 7-14 days after shedding, that is definitely very frequent, but it's hard to tell what you mean here.
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Old 02-26-17, 08:27 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Re: My MBK showing signs of neurological damage

Thanks. Yea I meant that after 1-2 weeks when he sheds he goes into the next cycle getting milky eyes. It's very frequent as compared to other Lampropeltis I keep. He has no parasites or the likes, he just goes ahead and puts himself in shed. As long as he keeps getting better on the outer signs and behavioral things, I'm not too worried. If he kept being very skinny, lethargic, and placid round the clock and not being able to right himself still I would of been pretty desperate by now.

I read through a whole lot of medical journals on reptile dermatology, but couldn't find a reference. It is/was like there was water under his skin or between his skin layers. I don't know how else to describe it. I have some pictures around on my phone, let me see if I can drag those up and post how he first looked.
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