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Posted by bobl on March 19, 2003 at 16:58:16:
In Reply to: phil, cut her a break.... posted by dan felice on March 19, 2003 at 15:37:22:
:: The things is, "Beatrice", most of us Dry guys here on the forums are somewhat of a Doubting Thomas lot, so it won't be easy to swallow that there is a herper of the female persuasion out there somewhere that actually takes an interest in Drymarchons. It's like someone telling you they saw a Yeti (in Canada no less) or Nessie: some sort of irrevocable proof is needed to convert the unbelievers, you know? So yes, your CV would be nice to see, and a picture of your in the physical presence of a clearly identifyable Dry ssp. Preferable in classy evening wear or beach apparel, as you see we're thinking of a calendar type of project to raise money for the newly founded Dry fund, and so far it's been a bit of a dry start, excuse the pun. You wouldn't know of 11 other similar female friends now would you? Of course I jest. You know a sense of humor is a strong prerequisite to visit this forum. I swear I was kidding.
:: Now on to your ephedra-fuelled questions: I'm not aware either of some sort of general care sheet or compiled protocol regarding the introductions of new specimen into a collection, but I'm willing to share my own generalities. But before I try to answer your many points, I just wanted to state that in such a process the matter can just as easily concern the contamination of the new animal from the existing collection as vice-versa. It's always a 2 way street...
:::1) How do I evaluate the health of the new animal? General responsiveness, feeding behavior and relative body weight are your main criteria. Outright apprearance is also crucial, as stuck sheds, skin damage and other damages are usually obvious, and should be avoided from the start.
:::2) What are the common parasites? Fresh WC imports should always be considered contaminated with amebas and mites until proven otherwise, unless personally captured of course, as should any CB snake that has spent a modicum of time at a wholesaler or retailer. Those 2 health problems are the main concerns. All WCs are carriers of a host of internal cestodes, nematodes and other worms in various quantities, as well as external ticks, but most of those are usually not involved as causal agaents in mass morbidity/mortality problems of newly imported animals, and so can usually wait a while before getting treated for.
:::3) What do I look for as evidence of parasites? For mites, it's white flecks on the body or better yet dead mites in the water bowl and others crouched in the corners of the animal' caging, hence the reason of always quarantining new snakes in contrasty pale colored containers with likewise lids. Ticks are obvious. For internal parasites, a fecal exam under the microscope is best, and amebas should be suspected automatically as soon as the first semi-liquid stool appears (IMHO).
:::3) How do I eradicate parasites? Depends on the parasite of course. As far as I'm concerned, all WCs should be treated with fenbendazole no matter what, even if there is no hurry in doing so, and any even slightly runny stool (does not apply to Drys!) should be metronidazoled pronto, unless there are contraindications to this treament. As for mites, well let's just say there isn't any unanimity on that one.
:::4) What kind of complications should I be alert for when treating for a given type of parasite? Metronidazole is well known for it's neurotoxicity, and Drys are particularly susceptible to that drug in particular, so any sign of the "shakes" in the days following treatment should be considered a sign of overdosing and treament therefore stopped immediately. "Pest Strip" types of fumigating agents used in mite control can have similar neurological effects, but can be even more dramatic, including paralysis, ataxia, and convulsions, and both these treatments can be lethal of course. Fenbendazole on the other hand has a very wide safety margin, and can be liberally overdosed without much ill effect most of the time.
:::5) What are other health concerns to be aware of? There are plenty to imagine, such as criptosporidium and viruses for example when dealing with boids and vipers, but by far mites and amebas are the main worries.
:::6) Which ones require immediate attention? See above answer. Watery, runny or otherwise not well-formed fecal matter is always a big worry, especially in a non-feeding snake. Another emergency is respiratory distress, as this sort of problem can degenerate rapidly.
:::7) How do I decide what I can do vs. what should be done by a veterinarian? That depends a lot on your own degree of personal experience, access to specialized equipment such as microscopes and seringes/IVs, not to mention medication, which is usually only available through your local vet in most cases. The experience of your vet with herps is another critical factor, as many of them recoil at the mere thought of having to deal with herps, specially snakes, and even more so big snakes that bite without warning you first, like Drys.
:::8) Detail things that a (intermediate experienced) owner can do at home. Administering medications with a seringe by mouth is pretty much a routine for most herpers when they have obtained the meds in the first place, as is treating for mites with most of the approaches for that problem.
:::9) Explain quarantine –why, how, where, when, how long? Should be done for at least a two month period as far as I'm concerned, maybe more in some circumstances. Mites can sometimes take that long before manifesting themselves in a new snake. The way I proceed is to place the new arrival's main container in another, larger container or tub filled with an inch or two of water. This "moat" set-up allow one to quarantine new snakes inside the main herp room without having to worry about unseen mites escaping through ventilation holes to wander around the herp room in search of dreams to destroy, an so avoids having to set up a separate heating system for a single bin in another room.
:: Another important aspect of quarantining is hand washing BEFORE and AFTER handling the new snake or it's caging environement with a detergent/soap that is preferably bacteriCIDAL, not just bacterioSTATIC. This is also a good habit to have in the daily maintenence of the regular collection. Either that or latex gloves, but that can be costly in the long run.
:::10) What are the other factors that I’ve omitted mentioning in the above list? Well I'm kinda tired now, fingers hurt, real bad. So that's it in a nutshell.
::PS: I'll have to see those shots of you and your indigo in skimpy attire before I type another chapter like that for you. You've been advised! The "core" needs to know for sure you're not just some furry guy posing as a chick to tease us!!! ;-) And remember Bea, it's all in good jest....
:things must be worse in canada than i thought. lol! she's a real girl w/ a real texie. we do have some of them down here, girls w/ the 'snake gene' that is. haha....and beatrice, ignore phil! you dont have to post a pic of yourself in a bathing suit.....go for one of yourself in some slinky evening wear instead....in turn, well send you a shot of phil in his bathing suit. how's that sound?.....;-o
Hold on Dan! I want to see the bathing suit picture...and one of the snake too!