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Skin problem on ball python help

Posted: May 6th, 2016, 3:56 pm
by KichiMark
Hello everyone, below is a picture of a ball python which is having a massive problem. The snake is not mine but from a person I know who sent me the picture to see if I know what is wrong and how to help. Honestly, I am stuck since I have never encountered something like this and I am getting more details about it. Have any of you folks seen this before and what would be the best course of action? It looks like it currently has a shedding problem.


Re: Skin problem on ball python help

Posted: May 7th, 2016, 12:00 pm
by Kelly Mc
The first Help the snake needs is to be put in, ie; hospital or semi sterile environment which can be the snakes own cage, but free of particulate substrate. I like paper towels with a substantial portion torn up for the snake to achieve some tactile security. I have no idea if that is the only area of skin trauma but dehydration is a consequence of such complete loss of corneum. And then there is infection, which in such cases is addressed properly by injectable broad spectrum treatment. Slathering on over the counter petroleum based antibiotic ointment is counter indicated, snakes go into succession of sheds induced by dermal injury and ointments can disrupt process in the opaque stage, causing premature sloughing and marring of scales that will need to be monitored everytime the snake sheds afterward. Silver Sulfadiazine cream is a better choice. Or other water dispersible appropriate agent similar.

Without any history or husbandry details this is all I can responsibly share. A veterinarian will need those too. Basically some big changes need to be made in the snakes management. Whether it is a bite, a scab torn from a thermal burn, or a drag/scrape injury.

An honest history of events and care is imperative.

But the snake needs to be put in a proper hospital env like, now.

Re: Skin problem on ball python help

Posted: May 7th, 2016, 12:05 pm
by Kelly Mc
Keep those paper towels nicely moistened but not wet. Wide, low unavoidable water dish if tubing the snake supportive fluids is out of the question

Re: Skin problem on ball python help

Posted: May 7th, 2016, 2:43 pm
by KichiMark
Thank you very much Kelly. I am going to forward your suggestions to him right now.

Re: Skin problem on ball python help

Posted: May 7th, 2016, 3:10 pm
by Kelly Mc
You're welcome KichiMark - thank you for caring. On a positive note it doesn't yet look angry, (inflamed, infected, exuding) and there is a good chance of a scarred yet healthy future.

I would also resist any assertive removal of the loose shed. Usually its a good idea, if only for the snakes comfort level but there is something uneven & iffy about it and not enough information about what has happened.

Keep us posted and best of thoughts

Re: Skin problem on ball python help

Posted: May 7th, 2016, 6:32 pm
by KichiMark
It looks like the snake is doing a tad better today since he cleaned out the cage he was in, raised the temp and is using the paper towels like you mentioned. He is also giving a betadine bath since I recommended him to do that at first and wants to know if he should use it along with the silver sufadiazine or stop the betadine and just the silver sufadiazine?

He also is curious when to feed him again but I advised to keep treating and monitoring the python since I feel if he feeds it a large meal it may cause some issues with stretching. Apparently he feeds him live prey and told me he was bit recently of which I went into the cons with that and told him where to buy prekilled if he chooses to buy.

This was his message to me


i have changed his environment. Hes now in a bigtupperware bin with the heat pad and a fresh water bowl , disenfected his log house and placed an old tshirt but gonna change it to moist paper towels (i was just worried that my kitchen paper towels mights have been processed with pine:confused:)

...I placed him in the betadine bath once yesterday and once this morning...i was hesitant about the neosporin since like your friend said its petroluem based and i thought it wouldnt wash off during the betadine bath and make it useless. Hes now in a different room that has less humidity and is alot warmer normal temp. Before he was in my room and it gets really cold and damp in there...i should have known better

Now that he mentions it the last time he ate he received some bites from one of the mice...:(

He seems like his "attitude" is alot better yeaterday before the betadine bath he was very flacid and weak hes moving around and not flacid....seems like his old self tbh...

Ill try the silver sufadiazine...does he think i should continue the betadine baths daily or not? And how long till i should i feed him again?

And thank you to both of you...i really appreciate the help ive had him for over 4 years and this is the first time anything like this has ever happened..i was kinda freaking out....."

Re: Skin problem on ball python help

Posted: May 7th, 2016, 6:50 pm
by Kelly Mc
Betadine is the initial cleanse antiseptic of choice for almost everything, the wound is so clean because of your advice. I try not to provide alternative home care instructions on forums, when veterinary treatment is the ethical recommendation. The cream has good properties for issues like this, it helps keep the tissue moist and pliable.

Besides infection, necrosis and its systemic domino effects are the biggest danger, as dead, bloodless tissue cannot be healed by any means or antisepsis.

It would be good to get the snake to a vet to get whole treatment

Re: Skin problem on ball python help

Posted: May 7th, 2016, 7:08 pm
by Kelly Mc
If he eats feed him frequent little meals. If you take him to the vet its best he travels and receives a handled exam/treatment on a pause in that feeding regimen. A regurgitation due to stress would be Xtra bad timing for sure.

Re: Skin problem on ball python help

Posted: May 7th, 2016, 7:48 pm
by Kelly Mc
[quote=]If he eats feed him frequent little meals. [/quote]

Pre killed or thawed. Stop the live.

I have seen snakes have large strips of derm pulled away down through the fascia by mice, not just rats but mice, especially when left in with a snake.

The mice left in the tank become desperately dehydrated and nutrient seeking, and go for the only source of sustenance available. Perhaps also there may be some savvy rodent self preserving aggression at play, as well.

Otherwise I have seen injury like that on snakes that have been pulled from under appliances or furniture, or from drains and heater vents.

Re: Skin problem on ball python help

Posted: May 8th, 2016, 7:44 am
by Kelly Mc
I would like to re emphasize something about medical advice on forums. Other than what is damage control in level, it can turn into a real free for all of advice which didn't happen here, at least on this thread itself.

Often the basic first aid Do no harm type help will incite more questions like : Should I continue with the betadine baths or use both cream and the baths? What else should be done etc

Those are questions that directly relate to the condition of the issue, its rate and character of healing, its need for debridement, etc.

They cannot be answered adequately per a photo or description, or in the body of someone else's anecdotal experiences.

I hope you do go to a veterinarian to have it checked out. Most veterinarians will be able to help with wound care on a snake, if you are unable to find an ARAV vet.