Mouth rot, or infectious stomatitis, is an infection in a snake’s mouth. Mouth rot is very serious and can cause your snake a great deal of pain, and can eventually lead to their death. Mouth rot is typically caused by an injury to your snake’s mouth, or their enclosure not being kept at the correct conditions.
Symptoms of Infectious Stomatitis
The most common symptoms of snake infectious stomatitis include:
- Decreased appetite
- Blood in your snake’s mouth or their water bowl
- Swollen areas in their mouth
- Weight loss
The first step to fixing the problem is finding out if they injured their mouth on something, or if their enclosure’s conditions are not right. If their mouth is injured you should get them to a vet to have them look at your pets mouth. If the problem is environmental then fix the problems in their enclosure.
Diagnosing Snake Infectious Stomatitis
Diagnosing snake infectious stomatitis is based on clinical signs and laboratory tests. A veterinarian will take a swab from their mouth to test for the virus, or they could take a blood sample to look for antibodies. Imaging tests like X-rays or CT scans can also be used to help diagnose their condition.
Stages of Snake Infectious Stomatitis
The stages of snake infectious stomatitis are:
This is the time between exposure to the virus and the onset of symptoms. It can last up to two weeks.
During this stage, your snake will have ulcerations in their mouth, difficulty eating, excessive salivation, and their face and neck might have swelling.
During this stage, your snake will begin to recover and their symptoms will start to subside.
Treating Snake Infectious Stomatitis
Treating snake infectious stomatitis includes supportive care such as giving them fluids and soft food, as well as antiviral medications. Vaccines are available for some species of snakes, but they are not always effective in stopping the virus from spreading. Good hygiene practices, such as cleaning and disinfecting cages and equipment, are also important in preventing the spread of this virus.
No matter what the cause of your snake’s mouth rot, you’ll still need to take them to your vet because their treatment requires prescription antibiotics. Surgery can be needed depending on the severity of their mouth rot. Because this infection kills tissues in your pet’s mouth, areas might need to be removed, including teeth. It’s better to prevent this problem before it happens by keeping your pets’ enclosure at the conditions they need to be happy and healthy.
Preventing Snake Infectious Stomatitis
The best way to prevent infectious stomatitis is to practice good hygiene. Good hygiene includes cleaning and disinfecting their cages and equipment, as well as avoiding contact with infected snakes or surfaces that may be contaminated. Vaccines are available for some species of snakes, but they are not always effective in preventing the virus from spreading.
Infectious stomatitis is a serious condition in snakes that can be fatal if left untreated. It’s important to get veterinary care as soon as possible if you suspect your snake may have this problem. Early detection and treatment can help prevent the spread of the virus and improve the chances of recovery.