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Old 01-20-17, 10:25 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Unhappy Neurological Problems in BP

Hi everybody,

I posted here a couple months ago about a sick boa, whom is now looking much better and doing great, now today I noticed that my oldest and most wonderful friend my normal BP female is twisting up and down, head tremors, tongue flicking delay and having problems with motor skills, this has happened in the last 24 hours only as she is inside and we see her all the time in our room, she has never been sick and never shown symptoms of anything before until now. Our other snakes are all housed in their own snake house outside and everyone FINGERS CROSSED appears fine in there, I have not introduced anyone new for 3 years now and do not go to shows or around any other snakes. My questions is, this sounds like IBD to me, and it looks like it too, can pythons show symptoms years after contracting the viral infection or is this something like a sensitivity to mold or possible contaminated rat she was fed? All our snakes are fed from the same pet store I have used for the last 5 years without issues and I am friends with the owner.

The vet on my island is useless and I have no option to see anyone at this time and no one on my island treats reptiles or knows much of anything about IBD (their words).

Background on snake
Normal BP female
Had her for 8 years
No history of illness EVER in the time I have owned her, she is only 8 1/2 years old
No exposure to new snakes for last 3 years
Temps are correct

Thanks
Fawn
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Old 01-21-17, 06:58 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Re: Neurological Problems in BP

Doesn't sound like IBD to me, not that I have intimate knowledge of the infection, but I think symptoms already show themselves a few months after introduction in boa's
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Old 01-23-17, 11:46 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Re: Neurological Problems in BP

Just went through an IBD scare with my Woma python, and here is what I've learned:

IBD typically presents very quickly after exposure in very young and very old snakes, as a result of the viral load and inclusions depositing on their organs cannot be met by a weaker immune system.

Ball pythons, for some weird genetic reason, are the most susceptible to IBD, and tend to deteriorate quickly after exposure. Keep in mind, this is after exposure. I've stated this in my previous paragraph too, and that should be an important note.

IBD is most commonly a progression, where the animal will first refuse feed, show signs of anorexia, and then begin head tremors and other neurological symptoms. There are, of course, always exceptions to this rule.

Some other things that will cause similar neurological distress: improper husbandry (most commonly over-heating), toxic exposure (now this one I found was the trickiest to identify. You can have a chemical on your hands and not know it, and accidentally expose a snake to it. If the snake has a weakened immune system for any reason, this can cause those neurological symptoms), bad feed.

If you are worried, and you trust your vet, have them run a full CBC panel on her. This will indicate what her levels are at (you're looking mostly at liver function tests, general hematology that would indicate dehydration, etc. The vet will know best what these panels and their values mean). If she's fully quarantined, and you do suspect IBD (it sort of doesn't sound like it though, from what you've described. BPs don't "hang on" to this virus for more than 30 days AFTER exposure), have your vet contact University of Florida for pricing of sending out IBD blood to them. It was $260 USD for me. Not sure what the shipment cost will be for you, or what UofF will charge. They are the owners of the IBD PCR test (polymerase chain reaction of the blood and plasma to isolate the titers noted for IBD). But the CBC will probably also give you a good indication of IBD as well, without the confirmatory test. If there are inclusions across multiple organs, or isolated to a few/one, she will most likely show organ failure results in those areas of inclusion on the CBC. This was the "old day" method for diagnosing the disease.

In the meantime, keep her isolated, and follow your normal quarantine protocols (sanitizing hands/tools prior to use with other snakes, etc.). Make sure that the temp isn't faulty and overheating her. Check for any surrounding toxins (if you have her on absorbant bedding, I would remove it immediately and put her on paper towels (I put my Woma on a bathing towel, and I haven't put her bedding back in since. She's doing great on the towels, and it's so much easier to clean her tank when she poops and pees). If she poops (the brown stuff, not the urates), try to save it in the fridge and send it to your vet within 24 hours so they can do a fecal smear, to check for parasites. change her water on the daily, in case there's something in the air that could potentially cause a re-infection. And keep her on her feeding schedule.

I would also recommend not handling her unless necessary.

Those are some suggestions when my Woma started showing IBD-like signs. Good luck to you and I will keep your BP in my thoughts.
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Old 01-23-17, 11:32 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Re: Neurological Problems in BP

Hi, thank you so much for your reply, I still have no idea what is going on, the vet never returned my calls and does not do tests, my BP died yesterday sadly, I am absolutely destroyed, she died within 48 hours of onset, she was never sick a day in her life. I have a sick boa who has IBD symptoms (lesions, weight loss, untreatable RI) she however started eating again and is bright and has no neuro problems at this time. She has been with me 6 years and lived beside the python the whole time, she has also been having the RI since 1 1/2 years now and nothing helps it, she seems fine asides that and her skin has almost healed. I can't imagine if she did have IBD that she didn't pass it to the python years earlier...I am so sad and so lost, but thank you for your post, it honestly means a lot that someone took the time to respond to me. Glad your woma is doing well, and bless all your noodles.
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Old 01-24-17, 12:24 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Re: Neurological Problems in BP

Omg. I'm so sorry! I lost one of my baby boas in November, even after bringing her to the vet and getting no answers. You gave her a wonderful life. Glad to hear your boa is improving.

One thing to ask is whether you have mites. Boas can be carriers of IBD and not show symptoms for up to 2-3 years, so it is possible that the boa that is exhibiting symptoms could possibly be your patient zero. If there's mites, it makes it easy to transmit this disease.

I hope you can get some closure from this. I know how unresolved these deaths can seem. I still have a tinge of regret not knowing what happened to my baby boa, even after 2 months.
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But if anyone asks, I only have 1. The rest just showed up for the house party.
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Old 01-24-17, 03:13 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Re: Neurological Problems in BP

So sorry to hear your sad news, it's hard when we lose a pet. Keeping you in my thoughts and prayers.
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Old 01-24-17, 03:19 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Re: Neurological Problems in BP

So sorry for your loss mate
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Old 01-24-17, 02:42 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Re: Neurological Problems in BP

Thank you everyone ❤
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Old 01-24-17, 02:54 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Re: Neurological Problems in BP

Thank you so much for your condolences, she was our favorite girl and part of the family for so long, I can't believe she is gone! I am also so sorry to hear about your little baby boa, that is so terrible and sad for you. Currently I have no mite problem, I am pretty OCD about that and the last time I had a mite problem was 3 years ago when I purchased 2 baby boas from a breeder I know and they came with mites....they went into quar but somehow I still found the mites in the other room on the other snakes, so I treated with PAM and had no problem since then. I have also been washing everyone's dishes together for years and years and had no issue until the boa who I have mentioned came down with IBD like symptoms 1 1/2 ago now, I think it is very possible she is patient zero like you said, everything screams IBD to me, but then the boa (Sienna) has now started eating ferociously again and put on some weight and skin all better, the BP was living in the house the last month and a half because we all loved spending time with her and it wasn't until she moved inside that she died. I also have a JCP who is directly beside the boa and he has even eaten a rat that Sienna the boa accidentally touched and is just fine. Thanks again for listening and giving me very good information about IBD and possible other causes for neuro symptoms, it means a lot to me as this is very distressing on me mentally right now.
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