Snake Fungal Infections

Snake fungal infection is a disease that can affect several different types of snakes, and according to the US Geological Survey it’s a disease that is on the rise across the US.

Symptoms of Snake Fungal Infections

The most common symptoms of snake fungal infections include:

  • Bumps under the snake’s skin
  • Eye cloudiness unrelated to molting
  • Abnormal molting
  • Crusty scales

If your snake was wild caught, or you are using substrate from your yard without sterilizing it, your snake could be at risk. The disease also is passed by contact. If you handle your snakes without washing your hands between handling another snake you could be putting all of your snakes at risk.

If you see any of the above symptoms you need to bring your snake to your vet immediately. The best chance of survival is catching this early and treating it early. Once the early stages of the disease passes and your snake has facial deformities it might be too late to save their life.

It’s important to quarantine your new snakes, in another room if possible for their first 60 days to protect your other snakes from diseases your new snake might carry. It’s also best to use commercial products for your substrate or sterilize anything you use from outside to prevent unknown bacteria, fungus or parasites from infecting your snake.

Diagnosing Snake Fungal Infections

In order to diagnose a snake fungal infection, your veterinarian will perform a physical examination and take samples of the affected area for laboratory testing. The results of these tests can help determine the type of fungus causing the infection and the best course of treatment.

Stages of Snake Fungal Infections

Snake fungal infections can be split into three stages:

Stage 1

The infection is localized and the snake might have signs of discoloration or scaling on their skin.

Stage 2

The infection spreads to other parts of their body, such as their eyes and respiratory system.

Stage 3

The infection has spread to the internal organs, leading to organ failure and death.

Treating Snake Fungal Infections

Treating snake fungal infections typically involves the use of antifungal medications. These medications can be administered orally or topically, depending on the severity of the infection. In some cases, surgery could be necessary to remove infected tissue.

It’s important to maintain good husbandry practices in order to prevent the spread of fungal infections. This includes proper sanitation and hygiene, as well as keeping your snake in a clean and dry environment. 

It’s important to get veterinary care immediately if you suspect your snake has a fungal infection in order to prevent further complications.

Preventing Snake Fungal Infections

The best way to prevent snake fungal infections is to maintain good husbandry practices. This includes making sure your snake has a clean and dry environment, as well as proper sanitation and hygiene. It’s important to regularly inspect your snake for any signs of infection and get veterinary care immediately if you suspect an infection.

It’s also important to avoid contact with wild snakes, because they can carry fungal infections.