Snake Respiratory Infections

Respiratory infections are not that uncommon in snakes. Especially ones that are kept in enclosures not kept at the correct conditions. Respiratory infections are very contagious, and even if your pet is kept in the best conditions, the infection can be passed to another reptile through touch. That’s why it’s important to wash up between handling reptiles to prevent cross contamination.

Symptoms of Snake Respiratory Infections

Symptoms of a respiratory infection in snakes:

  • Loss of appetite
  • Loud breathing
  • Open mouth breathing
  • Mucus in their mouth
  • Nasal discharge

You’ll want to take your snake into your vet if you see any of the problems related to their breathing or their mouth. A respiratory infection can be serious and can take a long time to get over without treatment.

Treatment for a respiratory infection is typically antibiotics for 10-14 days. It’s very important to administer the medication at the same time each day, and for the full length of the treatment. Not completing the full dose means that your pet could relapse with a more severe infection that’s harder to treat.

To prevent future respiratory infections it’s important to make sure that their enclosure is kept at the best conditions for their health. You’ll also want to make sure to wash up after handling one reptile before handling another to prevent cross contamination.

Diagnosing Snake Respiratory Infections

Diagnosing respiratory infections in a snake can be difficult. The symptoms can be similar to other illnesses. A veterinarian will typically perform a physical examination and take a sample of your snake’s mucus or discharge for laboratory testing. Imaging tests such as X-rays or CT scans may be used to help diagnose the infection.

Stages of Snake Respiratory Infections

The stages of a snake respiratory infection can vary depending on the type and severity of the infection. Generally, there are three stages:

Stage 1

Mild symptoms such as wheezing, open-mouthed breathing, coughing, and sneezing.

Stage 2

More severe symptoms such as difficulty breathing, lethargy, appetite loss, and nose or mouth discharge.

Stage 3

Severe symptoms such as labored breathing, difficulty swallowing, and extreme lethargy. In some cases, the infection may progress to pneumonia or other serious health complications.

Treating Snake Respiratory Infections

Treatment for respiratory infections in snakes typically involves antibiotics and supportive care. Antibiotics are usually administered orally or injected directly into your snake’s body cavity. Supportive care may include making sure that they have a warm, humid environment to help your snake breathe more easily. It also includes making sure they have clean water to help keep them hydrated. In severe cases, surgery may be necessary to remove any blockages in their respiratory tract.

It’s important to take your snake to a veterinarian as soon as you notice any signs of respiratory infection. Early diagnosis and treatment can help prevent more serious health complications.

Preventing Snake Respiratory Infections

The best way to prevent respiratory infections in your snake is to practice good hygiene when handling your snake. Washing your hands before and after contact with them is a minimum.

It’s important to keep your snake’s enclosure clean and free of any potential sources of infection.

Finally, it’s important to take your snake to a veterinarian for regular check-ups so that any potential health issues can be identified and treated early.

Additional Information

Snake respiratory infections can be serious and potentially life-threatening, and it’s important to take any signs or symptoms seriously. If you notice any of the above symptoms in your snake, it’s important to take them to your veterinarian as soon as possible for diagnosis and treatment.