Wheezing & Whistling

Discussion in 'Boas' started by Daggerlover, Oct 28, 2008.

  1. Daggerlover

    Daggerlover Embryo

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    Hi All,

    Dagger, our 5.5ft common Columbian boa, has been whistling and wheezing lately. This has been on for awhile, but there is no sign of any discharge/bubbling from his nose/mouth.
    He seems to really only wheeze/whistle when we're handling him. We'll bring him out and about with us, and he'll just sit on our shoulders, then start whistling, after not whistling for the first while we've had him out.
    The wheezing I only noticed yesterday. We took him out of his tank to clean it, and I was holding him. I would lift on his neck/mid body and tail, which is the way we've always held him, and suddenly like he was wheezing.

    He opened his mouth once or twice to breathe as well. It almost was like he was straining to get the air out of him, but we don't hear it when he's just in his terrarium at all.

    We're considering a vet trip, but the first time we heard the whistling was about 3 months ago. It didn't seem serious until the wheezing came about.
    Once we put him back into his terrarium he was fine. We sit right beside him and he has a screen top, so we'd definitely be able to hear it.

    Dagger is about 4 years old, I believe.

    Any help?
     
  2. JEFFREH

    JEFFREH Administrator

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  3. bruno

    bruno Moderator

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    We need to know more about the setup etc before we can give any opinion.
    It could be the early stages of RI. or a number of other things.

    Please answer these questions...

    Size of terranium...
    Temps...warm and cool end... daytime....
    Temps night time...
    What do you use to measure them with....
    What is the humidity in terranium....
    What is your ambient room temp....
    Substrate used....
    Feed in or out of terranium....
    What prey do you feed....
    Is he passing feaces and urate, if so what does it look like........

    If you copy and paste the questions with answers then we have a basis to work on.
    Will try and help you but a trip to vet would be a good thing if it's been going on a long time.
     
  4. JEFFREH

    JEFFREH Administrator

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  5. Daggerlover

    Daggerlover Embryo

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    Terrarium 90 gallon

    Day Warm: (heat mat & light) 98F (he does sleep on this side quite regularly as we keep a cool house)
    Day Cool: 76F
    TEMP GUN measurement
    Night time just a bit lower than that probably around 90/70
    Humidity approx 60%-80%
    ambient room temp 70ish
    Carpet substrate
    Feed outside of terrarium, large rats
    Feces and urates are normal, from what I've been told here(posted a picture once and was told it was healthy).

    I know the 'hot' seems really 'hot', but he does use his warm side and thermoregulates regularly, so not worried about that.

    He has a large dish of water in the middle that is changed every few days. He drinks from it when he needs to.
    Terrarium is spot-cleaned and big-cleaned once a month.

    Will be calling a vet regardless, but yeah, could use a bit of help here.


    He does NOT seem to wheeze or whistle at ALL when just sitting in his terrarium.
     
  6. JEFFREH

    JEFFREH Administrator

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  7. bruno

    bruno Moderator

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    From what you describe, I see nothing in your setup or feeding, that would cause the problem.
    May be the humidity is a little high, should around 50 to 60%, but that shouldn't cause the problem. Can you increase the air flow to give more ventilation.
    Is the light controlled by a thermostat or rheostat, that would help regulate the warm end temps better.
    I use dimming thermostats, I believe in the States they are called rheostats, I find these the best options to use.
    I assume the heatmat is under the carpet, I am not a lover of heatmats as most reptiles get their heat from above, they dont feel the heat on their bellies, if it's not in direct contact with snake there is again no problem with that.
    I asked about substrate because if it had been wood-chips or similar it could have swallowed some and stuck in gullet, but as it's carpet, again no problem.
    Only a vet is going to give you an answer here I think, if possible take a fresh fecal sample, both urate and solid, and get vet to run tests on it.
    I'm sorry I cant give you any more definite answers, go ahead with vet visit and let us know the outcome.


    EDIT by bruno just realised you are in Canada, may be the rheostat is the same there, sorry.
     
  8. JEFFREH

    JEFFREH Administrator

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  9. Daggerlover

    Daggerlover Embryo

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    I've only been ever told that UTH's are best for snakes. No big deal, anyway. I know for other reptiles UTH's are not recommended.
    Our UTH is beneath the carpet as well as beneath the glass of the terrarium, so it's really not that hot.

    Dagger is not lethargic or sick in any other way. He moves around regularly and feeds well and poops well. Urates are pure white, poops pretty regular and not runny.

    The light does not provide much heat at all, it is more just for light in the day and dark in the evening. it is on a timer.
    Will have to let you know what the vet says.
     
  10. JEFFREH

    JEFFREH Administrator

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  11. bruno

    bruno Moderator

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    Hi,
    The reason I mentioned UTH's, snakes are not sensitive to heat on their bellies and do not have the sense to move if it gets too warm but in your case there is no problem.
    Your setup is very good and none of it suggests any reason for his present condition.
    The higher humidity would infact help him if it was RI, it would loosen the muscus etc and disperse it.
    I have been keeping and breeding boas for 15 years and have never come across this before. I will be very interested in the outcome of this for future reference.
    The only other thing that comes to mind, this is purely spectulation, it is just possible that as he's eaten a rat, the claws of rat may have been sharp and scratched his gullet and it has become infected. As this has been ongoing for sometime, I would have expected a worse condition than just wheezing and whistling.
    It may be worth your while to mention this to vet and get his opinion.
    Like you say, it's now down to vet visit.
    Hope it resolves itself soon and he makes a full recovery.


    EDIT Just re-read your original post, try moving water bowl to the cool end, this should help reduce the humidity a bit.
     
  12. Daggerlover

    Daggerlover Embryo

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    Well, we are back from the vet.

    Unfortunately Dagger does have an RI, pneumonia, of all things. There is no mouth rot (in fact, she said his mouth is amazingly clean considering) so he is doing okay, even though he is sick, he's not horridly sick. He has a lot of fluid where it shouldn't be.

    We have to inject him with Baytril, .3cc every second day, starting today. There are 6 injections altogether.

    Poor lil guy.

    When asked what may have caused this, she said it could have been the drop in temperature at night caused too much stress on him. She said that these infections are more common than people think and any sorts of stressors can contribute.

    So there ya have it, looks like we'll be doing a bit of home doctory for the little guy.
     
  13. bruno

    bruno Moderator

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    Hi,
    At least you now know what you are dealing with. The fact his mouth is clear, he should recover faster.
    Baytril is a very good anti-biotic. Did the vet tell you to inject on alternate sides, I was told this on many occasions, apparently it can cause soreness doing it at same place every time.
    As you have a good heat gradient, it would help recovery if you kept the same temps 24/7 till he gets well, in other words no night drop. Did the vet advise this?. My boa viv runs 24/7 with no drop, they simply move to cooler spot when they need it.
    My viv is an upright 5ft high corner unit, so the heat is top (warm) to bottom (cool) but it works very well.
    Here's a Link to the pic in members album.

    I'm sure yours will make a full recovery, wish your little guy all the best from me :)
     
  14. ssscales

    ssscales Embryo

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    Baytril is like Aspirin for humans. Some times they will prescribe Baytril with another such as Fortaz or Amacilin.
    If caught early he should be fine with the Baytril and raising the temps.

    Hope he feels better...
     
  15. Daggerlover

    Daggerlover Embryo

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    Tonight will be the last injection of Baytril. We still are noticing wheezing noises, even though they are significantly reduced from the original amount. I am confident he is getting better.

    However, the Vet mentioned that should he still be wheezing, we should do another round of Baytril. What do you guys think about this? I am hesitant because she said the Baytril should work the first go-around, and it only has partially healed him. Would you suggest another antibiotic, or keep him on the Baytril for another round?
     
  16. bruno

    bruno Moderator

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    Hi,
    If your vet thinks it need more anti-biotic then I would suggest a change from Baytril.
    Like ssscales said it's like asprin, a very broad spectrum ani-biotic.
    Here is the UK vets are now changing to Marbocyl (Marbofloxacin ) it is designed for small animals such as reptiles.
    It has better success with resparatory tract infections than Baytril in cats and dogs but it's now believed to work better with reptiles as well. Every time I have used it, it's been great, cleared things up in no time and I have worked very closely with my vet over the last 15 years, observing the results.
    I said before Baytril does create pain at entry site of injection, whereas Marbocyl doesn't. which could in turn be creating more stress for your boa.
    You may wish to check out this site it gives a lot of info.
    I don't know if it's available where you are but your vet should be able to find an equivilent anti-biotic.
    You say it's the last injection today, give it a couple of days to work fully, if you still have wheezing etc then return to vet with this info and see what he says.
    Make sure you keep the temps a little higher, this will help a great deal.
    Hope this helps with the lil guy.
     
  17. teiryklav

    teiryklav Member

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    maybe there's significant change between the terarium and the room ~.~
    is it ok now?
     
  18. Daggerlover

    Daggerlover Embryo

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    We have received the second round of medication from the Vet. It starts with a C.... I know that's not very specific. We are giving him I believe .6cc. Injections start tonight. I will come back and let you know what antibiotic he's on.

    Curious: he's going into a shed right now. We do inject between scales, but is there anything we should watch out for regarding needles & his shed?
     
  19. bruno

    bruno Moderator

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    Hi,
    Dont worry about what the name is, main thing he's changed it.
    I really dont know what you should do about the injections while he's in shed, give your vet a ring and ask his advice.
    This is purely personal, I would have tried to avoid it while in shed, he has enough stress with shed as it is. Follow your vets advice not mine OK.
     
  20. Daggerlover

    Daggerlover Embryo

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    Ceftazidine.

    Anyway, the vet said it's okay, just make sure to get in between the scales. Unfortunately, RI's aren't to be held off on, especially because his sheds can take up to 3 weeks even with generous misting. He's always been slow to shed, even when he was a baby. I don't want to risk putting the medication. He doesn't have mouth rot now, I certainly don't want it to start. It will be stressful, but she's a good vet and I trust her word for sure.

    Thanks.
     
  21. bruno

    bruno Moderator

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    If he takes 3 weeks to shed then I totally agree medication should go ahead.
    Sounds like you have a good vet there who knows her stuff.
    Ceftazidime is an anti-biotic specifically designed for respiratory infections, rather than Baytril which is a broad spectrum, so lets hope this produces good results.
    The fact he hasn't got mouthrot is a great bonus, one less thing to worry about.
    Hopefully this will clear things up soon.
     
  22. Daggerlover

    Daggerlover Embryo

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    Okie dokie. Well the round of Ceftazidime is complete. We did not miss a needle, however he is still bad. He is bubbling at his mouth and has crusts on his nose. We are calling the vet to find out what the heck is going on.
    His wheezing went away completely for days during the treatment, and now it's back and almost worse than ever.

    Is there any way this could be something other than pneumonia? I mean, honestly? We've given him 6 injections .3 cc of Baytril, and now 8 injections .6 cc of Ceftazidime. That's some hardcore antibiotics. Even the vet wants to 'take a break' from antibiotics because he's had so many.

    I will let you guys know what's going on as the story progresses. Keep our (extremely large) baby in your thoughts.
     
  23. bruno

    bruno Moderator

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    Hi,
    Thanks for the update, pity the outcome hasn't been better.
    It is obvious it's very deep seated and it's going to be hard to clear it.
    That's a lot of anti-biotics he's had and I'm glad the vet thinks a break should be taken.
    Has she suggested the use of some "pro-biotics" to help restore his gut flora, the anti's will have disturbed it a lot. A reptile one will have electrolyte, minerals, enzymes in it. Not sure what you can get in Canada but "Reptiboost" is good, we use something called Critical Care Formular, the same thing. You could use Pediolyte which is the human version for kids but a reptile one would be better if you find it. Normally it is tube fed direct into stomach, but Dagger's case I think that would be too stresfull, so add it to the drinking water and change daily. If you have any of the used syringes you can always force it into his food (Rat) I assume he is still eating OK, it's not so effective in rat but would still get some into him.
    I really dont know what else to suggest except increasing the temps slightly with good ventilation.
    This may or may not help, please check with your vet first, in the past I have used "Eucalyptus oil" which is well known to help chest infections and breathing and I found it helped.
    Take a small plastic pill bottle with screw top, makes several holes around the neck, half fill with water and add a few drops of oil, replace as it dries out, suspend it out of reach so he cant break it and ingest the oil.
    My thoughts are with you and your LITTLE baby, I really do hope it clears up soon.
     
  24. Daggerlover

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    Okay..
    So the vet finally got back to us. She took longer as she was doing a bunch of research and stuff for our options.

    So, the Ceftazidime did not work. They ended up taking a trachea sample as well as blood; those results came back and it was indicative that the RI was a result of a parasitic infestation moving within his body. Since they did not get a fecal sample (we're waiting for him to produce one), we're unsure of what kind of parasite. It's interesting to know that it is the result of that, as Dagger's poop has never been out of the ordinary, very normal, never runny.

    She suggested nebulizing antibiotics, as well as a few other things. I did not personally speak to her, it was my boyfriend that got the call.

    For now, we're waiting for her telephone call back to us regarding some more options (she's still exploring a few options for us, and which would be best).

    Sooo there's the update so far. Nothing much to be honest, but at least we know what we're dealing with.
     
  25. bruno

    bruno Moderator

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    Hi,
    It sounds like you have got a good vet here, who knows her stuff.

    Fortunately, the parasites that cause the infection, can be cured with Panacur or most of them.

    Guess it's one of those times when you wished he's poop.
    At least it's been narrowed down some and you know the most likely cause.
    You must be getting stressed out by this, I hope it's sorted soon for everyone's sake.
    My thoughts are with you.
     

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