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Mangrove surgery


BugmanPrice
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I was wondering if anybody has experience removing subdermal foreign objects from snakes before. I have an adult female Boiga dendrophila that has, what I think are, subdermal parasites. You can see something under the skin between the scales but I can’t tell what they are nor can I get a good picture. When I helped put pit-tags in rattlesnakes we just used a hypodermic needle to inject under the skin and used superglue to shut the wound. I’m not sure if just using a scalpel to incise, forceps to remove whatever it is, and glue to close the incision would work or not. Anybody have suggestions???

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I was wondering if anybody has experience removing subdermal foreign objects from snakes before. I have an adult female Boiga dendrophila that has, what I think are, subdermal parasites. You can see something under the skin between the scales but I can’t tell what they are nor can I get a good picture. When I helped put pit-tags in rattlesnakes we just used a hypodermic needle to inject under the skin and used superglue to shut the wound. I’m not sure if just using a scalpel to incise, forceps to remove whatever it is, and glue to close the incision would work or not. Anybody have suggestions???

My first instinct was to tell you to go to a vet, but your plan sounds feasible and you've got prior experience. I've done that sort of thing before and it has always gone well for me. I used to do it on fish all the time. They can get some crazy stuff under their skin :o . My boa has had something under her neck skin for years, but it doesn't seem to bother her or change size or shape at all so I've just left it alone.

If you decide to do it, I'd go to a horse supply store and get some Furacin Spray to apply to the wound. I would give a spritz, before the glue and after. Then a couple a times a day for a while. Remove the water bowl/tub for a while too. I don't know that species at all, but keeping the cage dry for a couple of weeks will help it heal faster and reduce the chance of infection.

I've also learned that Vets really really frown on anybody taking this sort of initiative. Just,FYI.

Good luck. Please keep us posted on how it turns out.

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My first instinct was to tell you to go to a vet

If it was another animal (cat/dog/hamster) that would be my first move too. The only herp vet I know of lives 50 miles south of me and he’s an idiot! I took my “arid cactus region” tortoise (FULLY legal and registered but why draw attention from bots) in to him because she had an eye infection. He gave me the meds and then sat there and told me about how he wasn’t going to turn me in to the state even AFTER I showed him the papers saying I can possess it given to me by the state agency. That pissed me right the hell off because guess what I WORK FOR THE STATE AGENCY he was “cutting me a break” with. To make things better, I was even wearing my uniform, complete with the little state symbol on the pocket, because I had just gotten back from work! Makes me wonder what else he gets in and treats that he doesn’t say anything about… moron. I realize that he was just being nice but really, that’s not like owning a viper, raccoon, or something else that’s not allowed here (another bunch of junk I hate about the agency); to me that’s a major no-no having that species (if he thought I didn’t have the papers). Anyhow… sorry about that. Any other comments, suggestions, tips…? Thanks for the furacin idea, I hadn’t thought of that!

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If it was another animal (cat/dog/hamster) that would be my first move too. The only herp vet I know of lives 50 miles south of me and he’s an idiot! I took my “arid cactus region” tortoise (FULLY legal and registered but why draw attention from bots) in to him because she had an eye infection. He gave me the meds and then sat there and told me about how he wasn’t going to turn me in to the state even AFTER I showed him the papers saying I can possess it given to me by the state agency. That pissed me right the hell off because guess what I WORK FOR THE STATE AGENCY he was “cutting me a break” with. To make things better, I was even wearing my uniform, complete with the little state symbol on the pocket, because I had just gotten back from work! Makes me wonder what else he gets in and treats that he doesn’t say anything about… moron. I realize that he was just being nice but really, that’s not like owning a viper, raccoon, or something else that’s not allowed here (another bunch of junk I hate about the agency); to me that’s a major no-no having that species (if he thought I didn’t have the papers). Anyhow… sorry about that. Any other comments, suggestions, tips…? Thanks for the furacin idea, I hadn’t thought of that!

I hear you, man. I'm in the exotic animal business in one of, if not the worst state there is for wildlife laws. We get hit with all the typical federal non-sense and then dumped on with the state and local stuff. I think some government types have good intentions, you know, protect endangered animals and stuff, but our government is totally out of bounds and has been for some time... enough ranting from me.

Good luck with your snake.

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Hi

Strange... you have a higher density of herp-keepers but less reptile-specialized vets :o .

I don't know what your snake has but I would use surgery/invasive therapy as a last option!

Typical subdermal parasites (with a size you can see) are worms. I'd try some broad-spectrum vermicide; best would be one killing insects and some protista as well. We have a drug called Milbemax which contains milbemycine oxime (one could use another avermectine-derivative as well) and praziquantel.

Only if that wouldn't help and the 'parasites' keep on growing/spreading I'd think about surgery.

Furthermore I don't know why you want to use furacin. That's a narrow-spectrum antibiotic which should only be used when strictly indicated. As an antiseptic I'd rather use iodine solution or organic silver derivatices like silver sulfadiazine (which is an antibiotic too but due to the silver acts against several micoorganisms, stays longer on the skin to give a day-long protection, and enhances wound healing with less side effects).

Good luck!

Andreas

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Hi

Strange... you have a higher density of herp-keepers but less reptile-specialized vets :o .

I don't know what your snake has but I would use surgery/invasive therapy as a last option!

Typical subdermal parasites (with a size you can see) are worms. I'd try some broad-spectrum vermicide; best would be one killing insects and some protista as well. We have a drug called Milbemax which contains milbemycine oxime (one could use another avermectine-derivative as well) and praziquantel.

Only if that wouldn't help and the 'parasites' keep on growing/spreading I'd think about surgery.

Furthermore I don't know why you want to use furacin. That's a narrow-spectrum antibiotic which should only be used when strictly indicated. As an antiseptic I'd rather use iodine solution or organic silver derivatices like silver sulfadiazine (which is an antibiotic too but due to the silver acts against several micoorganisms, stays longer on the skin to give a day-long protection, and enhances wound healing with less side effects).

Good luck!

Andreas

You are definitely right about controlling parasites from the inside too. I assumed because of BugmanPrices obvious intelligence and experience, that he's already got the basics covered.

Further, I've had excellent results with furacin preventing/curing infections on the skin around incisions, lacerations and abrasions. I even use it on myself(nasty road-rash from skateboarding/crashing with my dog). I like iodine derivatives for cleaning the immediate area before an incision is made, but find them very harsh on the tissues for repetitive after-care of wounds.

Finally, I don't have experience with the silver sulfadiazine you mentioned, but it sounds good to me.

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I would recommend a book that I have/use:

"Reptile Medicine and Surgery", 2nd edition by Mader. Its worth much more than any price you find online.

I don't own that book, but I've read it(yes, it took a long time) and used it many times. Its excellent. Isn't it a two volume book set? I remember two big books for some reason.

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Thanks for the suggestions everyone; I think what I'm dealing with is a cestode (still could be a nematode). There are a couple more I found that I didn't see before; so, I'm probably going to remove one just so I know for sure what I'm dealing with. After I figure that out I'm just going to find someone out of state, I think, that I can talk to over the phone so I can figure out what vermicide I need. I've got that book coming through a library loan but it'll be probably 3-4 weeks. Poor little girl, I really hope she isn't suffering while I try to get his figured out.

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Thanks for the suggestions everyone; I think what I'm dealing with is a cestode (still could be a nematode). There are a couple more I found that I didn't see before; so, I'm probably going to remove one just so I know for sure what I'm dealing with. After I figure that out I'm just going to find someone out of state, I think, that I can talk to over the phone so I can figure out what vermicide I need. I've got that book coming through a library loan but it'll be probably 3-4 weeks. Poor little girl, I really hope she isn't suffering while I try to get his figured out.

Could you choose one lump, lance the apex of the protuding mass just enough to get through the dermis and gently debride the contents with a needle or a small loop? Then you could put that into a small amount of water and separate it out to see what the heck is in it .... wipe the cut with betadine and it should then heal fine.

Guessing this is a wild-caught Boiga ?

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Could you choose one lump, lance the apex of the protuding mass just enough to get through the dermis and gently debride the contents with a needle or a small loop? Then you could put that into a small amount of water and separate it out to see what the heck is in it .... wipe the cut with betadine and it should then heal fine.

Guessing this is a wild-caught Boiga ?

I think I'll need to make an incision since it looks too large of a diameter to come through a lancing hole. If I make an incision, less than 16 of an inch, should I use some sort of closing glue or just use an antibiotic and let the clotting take place on its own? From there I can figure out what vermicide I need…

It was actually sold to me as a CB but I'm guessing I got taken... I'm just hoping it really is a female :)

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I think I'll need to make an incision since it looks too large of a diameter to come through a lancing hole. If I make an incision, less than 16 of an inch, should I use some sort of closing glue or just use an antibiotic and let the clotting take place on its own? From there I can figure out what vermicide I need…

It was actually sold to me as a CB but I'm guessing I got taken... I'm just hoping it really is a female :)

Can you post a photo of any of this?

How big is the bump? And now big is the mangrove snake? 1/16th of an inch should be a cake walk. You can go much more than that if its a shallow (just through the skin) cut. That small of a cut I doubt it will even bleed really. I have made 1/4 inch cuts into 4 foot animals to take a tissue sample before and it was of no consequence to the snake.

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Can you post a photo of any of this?

How big is the bump? And now big is the mangrove snake? 1/16th of an inch should be a cake walk. You can go much more than that if its a shallow (just through the skin) cut. That small of a cut I doubt it will even bleed really. I have made 1/4 inch cuts into 4 foot animals to take a tissue sample before and it was of no consequence to the snake.

I'll try to get some pics, I can't get them to tun out. Who knew taking a picture of something under the skin of a black animal would be hard... :rolleyes:

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I'll try to get some pics, I can't get them to tun out. Who knew taking a picture of something under the skin of a black animal would be hard... :rolleyes:

You know, I once say a reaction similar to what you describe produced by a burrowing mite and the remedy was suprisingly simple as I recall, but I dont remember what it was...

...but you might take that into consideration. Just a thought...

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Hi

Just a a general rule for sewing/glueing (there for sure are exceptions):

- If you have a precise and not too deep cut you can sew/glue it by pressing both sides of the wound together so that no air bubbles are present.

- If you have to remove something (e.g. tissue, pus, worms) and the skin incision is narrower than the widest part of the hole you should let it open or at least let a small drainage open (and you have to open it twice daily for at least three days otherwise it will close too soon). A wound closes at the narrowest place and by letting it open the scar/new tissue will grow from the bottom outwards towards the skin. Otherwise it is quite likely that an air or liquide bubble will form, the perfect place for bacteria to grow; especially when anaerob ones (because such bubbles are soon depleted of oxygen), or often resistant Staph. aureus or Pseudomonas aeruginosa start growing you and your pet soon happen to have a severe problem. Bigger sewd injuries usually are combined with preventive antibiotics (systemically applied, e.g. tabletts, injections).

To kill tissue dwelling worms one needs a resorbable vermicide (most aren't or at least not good enough): exceptions are avermectine- and milbemycine-derivatives and praziquantel. The first two kill insects and some other species too, the last is very effective against cestodes. My formerly mentioned combination is used against nearly all worm species incl. tissue dwelling ones like heartworms and fox tapworm.

One problem with some tissue dwelling worms is, that when you kill them (too fast) they could cause local inflammation or even systemic reactions (anaphylaxis, which isn't that likely in reptiles haveing an underdeveloped adaptive immunity). It just came to my mind that in some few cases (e.g. Loa loa) it can be better to remove worms/parasites mechanically (if you can find/see all; it's possible that they not only stay beneath the skin) or it could even be best to do nothing (e.g. Wuchereria sp. -> elephantiasis kills you slower than killing all the worms and die from anaphylaxis).

Some skin dwelling worm species can/should be removed by pulling a hole into the skin and catch the worm (best at the head) with a tiny chopstik or hook and wind it up like spaghetti :D .

Get one sample out wouldn't be that bad!

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Thanks for the additional info guys!!! I'm going to talk to a vet today to see if he can hook me up with the "drugs". I doubt most vets in the area would even administer them to the animal since it is technically venomous. I'd rather do it myself though, I don't need a scared doctor trying to fix my snake and screwing up! Thank you so much for the info again!

Hats off to Roachman26 for the reptile topic idea (and the mods for putting it up)!

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Thanks for the additional info guys!!! I'm going to talk to a vet today to see if he can hook me up with the "drugs". I doubt most vets in the area would even administer them to the animal since it is technically venomous. I'd rather do it myself though, I don't need a scared doctor trying to fix my snake and screwing up! Thank you so much for the info again!

Hats off to Roachman26 for the reptile topic idea (and the mods for putting it up)!

You are very welcome, but I can't take credit for it. It was actually Peter's suggestion. I was just looking for a good reptile forum and having trouble finding one.

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Alright, update… So I removed one of them today. It’s a nematode for sure but, of course, I can’t ID it. I wanted to get pictures for you all (to illustrate the process I used) but the batteries in my friggin’ camera died unexpectedly after I already had the snake in the restriction tube. Since I didn’t want to put any more stress on her I just quickly did it and got her back in her enclosure. I might be able to get some pictures of the parasite in a few days though with the microscope however. I ended up having to cut about 1/8 of an inch long to get the little #$!&@ out. It was inside a fascia like covering that I had to get through too. Ugh, it was pretty nerve racking! I was so scared I was going to hurt her but she did well; in fact, within an hour of putting her back she came out to bask by her ceramic bulb at the top of the enclosure. I’m going to call a vet in Las Vegas Tuesday to see if they would recommend an anthelmintic or mechanical removal (or one than the other).

And a hearty thank you to Peter for his suggestion on a reptile topic area.

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