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Posted by MsTT on May 12, 2003 at 00:16:30:
In Reply to: Your pleasure, a snake's pain. posted by robin on May 11, 2003 at 23:50:51:
:I have seen no evidence of pain in snakes recovering from venomoid surgery.
Pain, anesthesia, analgesia and withdrawal reflex in reptiles is a complex phenomenon that is still being researched. It is definitely known that snakes have a highly developed nervous system and that they do show clinical signs of pain under some circumstances, but they lack a withdrawal reflex for some types of pain which can cause problems in captivity - hot rock burns and severe bites by live prey are two typical presentations.
Having observed many venomous snakes recovering from surgery, I would have to say that the clinical signs of pain can be fairly subtle. I can spot them, and I can reverse them with the administration of one of the appropriate pain meds, and I can see a subtle but definite change in behavior and response when the meds kick in. But it took me a lot of post-surgery observations to get really confident in saying, "I think this snake is in pain, and I think more meds should go on board". It really isn't obvious until you know what to look for.
Also you have to know the snake individually to some extent; a normally calm animal animal in pain may become more belligerent. A normally bad tempered animal that is weak or debilitated may become suspiciously calm. Basically when you see short term changes in a snake's behavior postoperatively it's a good idea to pour on the pain meds and maybe check its blood chemistry.
: Touching a snake for routine maitenance and really being able to touch a venomoid snake are entirely different things.
Honestly, not for me. I hook and tail my snakes and for me that's quite normal and enjoyable. Also I don't want to stress my animals with overhandling. I'm comfortable, relaxed and confident around my snakes and it's just second nature to pick up their bodies and guide their heads with a hook. I have no use for a venomoid because I find it completely enjoyable and comfortable to handle fully hot snakes in a way that is both gentle and safe.
I am sure that you could get to that comfort level too, just as easily as I did if not more so. There are plenty of folks with better vision and reflexes whom I expect should easily be able to surpass a little old lady with bad knees and glasses.
: I am proud of the fact that I take excellent care of all my snakes, hot or not. They are healthy, happy, and as content as any snake can be in captivity. Thats what I expect everyone to do for their captives.
I'm glad to hear your snakes are healthy and well kept, but I hope you understand that there was probably pain and suffering as well as damage involved in making them venomoid. I hope that the operation was at least performed by a qualified veterinarian.
> I feel the venomoid issue the wrong thing to get up in arms about, lets spend our energy educating people in proper husbandry.........Robin
I'd rather do both, since I would like people to understand that the venomoid operation itself can be a very inhumane and improperly performed procedure.