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Posted by John Hewlett on February 03, 2001 at 22:10:31:
In Reply to: Re: Death of Popes Tree Vipers..Question? posted by Steve S. on February 03, 2001 at 20:13:40:
You should be very thankful you kept the snakes separated from the others. I am willing to bet ALMOST 99% that your snakes had Ophidian paramyxovirus (OPMV). There are four genera in this group they are Paramyxovirus, also known as parainfluenza; Pneumovirus, like the named suggests (Pneumo) it is a respiratory syncytial virus and pneumonia virus of mice; Morbillivirus, which causes measles and distemper, and finally Rubulavirus, which causes mumps. There seems to be another virus called Fer-de-lance Virus (FDLV), but I am not real sure about the systematics of that virus. There are four stages to OPMV however and I am willing to bet that your snakes simply didn't reach the phase of oral hemorrhaging. The first stage you can witness is loss of muscle tone, the snakes will seem to stretch out with their heads slightly elevated, but I am not sure with arboreal snakes. Stage 2 which normally lasts 1 to 2 days you witness the snakes behaving abnormally, restless activity with the snakes mouths partially opened, the tongues not completely contained in the tongue sheaths, and the pupils would be dilated. Stage 3, just hours preceding death, you would notice a discharge from the glottis. Stage 4, minutes preceding death, you would notice the eyes to be completely dilated, with the mouth kept wide open, and the snakes would be abnormally active. I would be willing to bet that this describes your snakeís symptoms, right down to the dot, however of course variation in the symptoms can occur, the symptoms don't fallow a perfect pattern and it varies from snake to snake. If you did not notice some of the symptoms its not surprising, since you simply didnít know to look for them. I would be willing to bet that the blood in the lung had just not expelled from the glottis when they died. This virus has been known to take down ENTIRE collections of snakes. It is highly contagious. I am not sure T. Popeorum has been known to carry OPMV, but that sounds like the symptoms. Itís a virus that primarily attacks Crotalids; of course your snakes fell right into that category. If you notice any other snakes with similar symptoms freeze them immediately. Certain species of colubrids can contract it. Keep me posted.