Respiratory Infection or RI in the reptile community is one of the most feared infections for snakes. It is a bacterial infection located in the lungs which is fatal if not treated immediately.
Snakes Respiratory Infections
There are a vast number of reasons for the onset of respiratory infection, the most common issues being improper husbandry such as humidity being either too high or too low, substrate imperfections, etc. Because the causes are husbandry related, the infection can be completely prevented.
Respiratory Infection affects the lungs , resulting in death if not treated immediately. You may notice a sneezing like sound which is the snake struggling to clear the mucus out of its lungs and or throat/mouth. Tiny bubbles may also be visible outside the snake’s mouth which is mucus. There will also be a build up of mucus inside the mouth of the snake.
How to Check the Inside of Mouth
You can view the inside of the snake’s mouth by securing the snake’s neck with your hand by placing your hand right behind the snake’s head and grasping it like a fist. Then, locate the snake’s jaw hinges and apply pressure. The lips of the snake should slightly open or loosened. Take a probe or other inspection tool and place it in between the lips and apply slight pressure downward. The snake should then open his/her mouth and you can view inside and check for any mucus or bubbly substance.
WARNING THIS IS ONLY EFFECTIVE IF THE INFECTION IS CAUGHT EARLY ON. OTHERWISE, TAKE THE SNAKE TO A VET AS SOON AS POSSIBLE
First of all make sure the snake’s conditions are perfect. Humidity should be at about 60%, heat spot should be at about 90 degrees Fahrenheit, and the cool side should be at about 80 degrees Fahrenheit. Substrate should be either Aspen, Newspaper, Butcher Paper, Paper Towel, or other safe snake substrate.
Okay so once that is all perfect, get yourself a reptile fogger like the Zoo Med Repti Fogger, F10 Disinfectant, and a tub to place your snake in with a sealed top and a couple of vent holes. Place your snake inside the tub and shut the top. Then take the fogger bottle and fill it with filtered water. Then take 3-5 CCs of the F10 and dilute it into the fogger bottle filled with water. Turn the fogger on and let the tub with the snake fill with the medicated fog for 20 minutess.
Then turn the fogger off and wait another twenty minutes to take the snake out. Repeat this every day for about ten days. If no improvement is seen by the fifth day, take the snake to a vet immediately.
What The Vet Will Do
A vet visit for respiratory infection in snakes is pretty standard. The vet will diagnose and confirm the respiratory problem and then go on and either give injections or oral treatment. The medicine will typically be Baytril, Fortaz or some other antibiotic.
They will administer the first treatment. They will then show you how to do it yourself because after all, you will be the one treating it after the first visit!