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Follow up to "emergency" snake post
Posted by: Stephanie
Date: January 02, 2006 02:24PM
This is a follow up to [forums.macresource.com]

I took the snake in. The vet felt that the lump was probably an air pocket surrounding the lungs.

One thing I hadn't noted in the original post is that I had never noticed the snake flick its tongue out (as most snakes will do).

I also never opened the snake's mouth. I decided not to, since he was going to the vet anyway.


Well, after a couple of radiographs, it's been confirmed that the lump is nothing more than an air pocket caused by probable damage to his lungs.

The vet opened the snake's mouth to check on that aspect of things. What he found is that the snake did suffer substantial damage. It turns out, and this is really no surprise to me, that his tongue was ripped away.

So, that means he can never be released because that's the main instrument they use to detect food. What this means is, more than likely, he'll have to be force fed for the rest of his life.

Because he hasn't eaten in over two months, it's impossible to say what internal damage he may have suffered. I won't know until I get some food in him - to see if it is processed completely.

I'm hoping there's no damage to prevent him from digesting meals.

Anyway, thanks again to those who responded initially. The info. I obtained from Dr Steggy was definitely helpful. smiling smiley
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Re: Follow up to "emergency" snake post
Posted by: Paul F.
Date: January 02, 2006 03:07PM
<his tongue was ripped away.

OW! ow ow ow ow... sad smiley
Bummer!


I hope he makes it!


Air pocket outside his lung(s)?

Is THAT why snakes make that Sssssssssssssss sound? Air escaping?





Paul F.
-----
A sword never kills anybody; it is a tool in the killer's hand. - Lucius Annaeus Seneca c. 5 BC - 65 AD
----
Good is the enemy of Excellent. Talent is not necessary for Excellence.
Persistence is necessary for Excellence. And Persistence is a Decision.

--

--

--
Eureka, CA
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Re: Follow up to "emergency" snake post
Posted by: CJsNvrUrly
Date: January 02, 2006 03:14PM
Stephanie - Thanks for the update. Sorry it wasn't better news. Are you going to keep him (assuming he recovers okay, of course)?




bunny smileyCentral VA
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Re: Follow up to "emergency" snake post
Posted by: rgG
Date: January 02, 2006 03:19PM
Thanks for the follow up. Poor guy. I'm sure you will do whatever is best for him.





Roswell, GA (Atlanta suburb)
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Re: Follow up to "emergency" snake post
Posted by: mattkime
Date: January 02, 2006 03:25PM
>>So, that means he can never be released because that's the main instrument they use to detect food. What this means is, more than likely, he'll have to be force fed for the rest of his life.

So he won't know a nice tasty meal sitting in front of him on a plate?
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Re: Follow up to "emergency" snake post
Posted by: Stephanie
Date: January 02, 2006 03:31PM
mattkime, yup that sums it up. He just won't be able to recognize the difference between a nice plump rodent and a rock.

CJsNvrUrly, yeah, he'll be staying with me. I don't think the guy at the pet store is interested in force feeding a snake for 10+ years! I have experience with doing that, so I'm up to the challenge.

Assuming he can digest food, he's perfectly healthy despite his injuries.

Paul F. & rgG, thanks. smiling smiley I think he stands a good chance at leading a fairly "normal" life in captivity. Given that he was injured nearly 3 months ago and he's made it thus far, he's probably "ok" (well, except for the missing tongue thing).
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Re: Follow up to "emergency" snake post
Posted by: hal
Date: January 02, 2006 03:57PM
Sorry to hear about your little cutie, but if this were my cat and I was told he'd be fine, but would have to be force fed for the rest of his life... I would have to think about it...
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Re: Follow up to "emergency" snake post
Posted by: Paul F.
Date: January 02, 2006 04:43PM
The only "bright" side for this lucky little snake is that he's going to have Stephanie as a friend to help him out.

He's a lucky snake!



Paul F.
-----
A sword never kills anybody; it is a tool in the killer's hand. - Lucius Annaeus Seneca c. 5 BC - 65 AD
----
Good is the enemy of Excellent. Talent is not necessary for Excellence.
Persistence is necessary for Excellence. And Persistence is a Decision.

--

--

--
Eureka, CA
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Re: Follow up to "emergency" snake post
Posted by: Stephanie
Date: January 02, 2006 05:21PM
hal Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Sorry to hear about your little cutie, but if this
> were my cat and I was told he'd be fine, but would
> have to be force fed for the rest of his life... I
> would have to think about it...

force feeding is pretty easy with snakes. I have a feeling I'll only have to do what's known as "assist feeding" - basically I'll have to open his mouth, stick the food in & he'll do the rest.

Force feeding is opening his mouth, sticking the food in & then actually pushing it down his throat.

Tongue-less snakes can live a normal lifespan as long as they have someone to feed them.

If he had sustained damage that would have meant a diminished quality of life, I would have had him put down. As it is, we still don't know what the outcome will be, but if he can eat, he stands a good chance of living just as long as any of my other snakes.

Also, I should mention, I have a brain damaged bullsnake (someone squished his head when he was a baby) & he had to be assist fed. I assist fed him for over two years until just this summer, when, for some unknown reason, he spontaneously started eating on his own again. Now he's a little pig.

There is always the SLIGHT possibility that he will re-learn to eat on his own, without his tongue; however, the vet says it's very unlikely.

Point is, ya just never know. As long as he's otherwise healthy, I can't see any good reason to have him put down.


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Re: Follow up to "emergency" snake post
Posted by: Paul F.
Date: January 02, 2006 05:34PM
( See folks... I told you Stephanie was a really good friend for any snake to have! )



grinning smiley



Paul F.
-----
A sword never kills anybody; it is a tool in the killer's hand. - Lucius Annaeus Seneca c. 5 BC - 65 AD
----
Good is the enemy of Excellent. Talent is not necessary for Excellence.
Persistence is necessary for Excellence. And Persistence is a Decision.

--

--

--
Eureka, CA
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Re: Follow up to "emergency" snake post
Posted by: hal
Date: January 02, 2006 05:40PM
You remind me of my friends, Teri and Terri. One a dog LOVER and the other a cat LOVER. I've always joked that I'd want to be reincarnated as one of their pets. There is no better life on earth.
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Re: Follow up to "emergency" snake post
Posted by: PeterB
Date: January 02, 2006 06:09PM
Sorry to hear this, Steph-- but as others have said, at least the snake has a relatively well-cared-for life ahead of him.

I am a bit surprised that you say he'll have to be hand fed because of not being able to detect prey with the tongue-- I would have thought that, at least partially, the snake attacks based on visual detection of movement. At least, that's how my froggies feed (tongue is used for other things, obviously!), and I'd thought that the reptilian/amphibian brains are wired similarly (this is also what Jurassic Park had to say about it, too!). Does he not follow the prey at all? (Could his not eating be less about the tongue, and more about the air pocket?)




Freya says, 'Hello from NOLA, baby!' (Laissez bon temps rouler!)
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Re: Follow up to "emergency" snake post
Posted by: Stephanie
Date: January 02, 2006 06:23PM
PeterB, visual detection, I think, plays a small part but I do know that snakes rely heavily on the Jacobson's Organ to detect prey (see [animal.discovery.com] for details).

Without his sense of smell, this snake will be at a severe disadvantage in the wild. I have heard anecdotes from others about snakes that have lost their tongues. According to everything I've heard & read, it's unlikely for a tongueless snake to eat on its own.

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Re: Follow up to "emergency" snake post
Posted by: JoeM
Date: January 02, 2006 06:31PM
Nice thing you are doing for that poor snake. I'm sure there's good karma for you for all the care you've given to your little buds.

I hope the little guy does well.



JoeM
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Re: Follow up to "emergency" snake post
Posted by: PeterB
Date: January 02, 2006 06:36PM
Steph, what I meant was, not to release him into the wild, but-- would he feed in captivity without being force fed? True, without the tongue, he can't smell the food-- but maybe he might go on visual cues if presented with a tasty mouse? (After all, when attacking the prey, I'd assume that sight plays a hefty role; whereas detecting the prey first, might be more based on smell.)




Freya says, 'Hello from NOLA, baby!' (Laissez bon temps rouler!)
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Re: Follow up to "emergency" snake post
Posted by: Stephanie
Date: January 02, 2006 06:41PM
Peter, from what I understand, no, even in captivity it's highly unlikely that he'll ever recognize food as food. Who knows, I may get lucky & he may learn, but from what I understand from other people who've had tongueless snakes, they usually don't re-learn.
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Re: Follow up to "emergency" snake post
Posted by: Paul F.
Date: January 02, 2006 06:44PM
Hard to teach an old snake new tricks, huh?

Hopefully this ones swift enough on the uptake to figure out that rocks don't move, mice do, and eat the right one...






Paul F.
-----
A sword never kills anybody; it is a tool in the killer's hand. - Lucius Annaeus Seneca c. 5 BC - 65 AD
----
Good is the enemy of Excellent. Talent is not necessary for Excellence.
Persistence is necessary for Excellence. And Persistence is a Decision.

--

--

--
Eureka, CA
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Re: Follow up to "emergency" snake post
Posted by: Jimmypoo
Date: January 03, 2006 10:32AM
What did they do about the air bubble?
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Re: Follow up to "emergency" snake post
Posted by: MacMagus
Date: January 03, 2006 11:31AM
I'm curious about the air bubble, too.

In a human, that would be a debilitating injury. Did the vet do anything to relieve pressure from the lungs?
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Re: Follow up to "emergency" snake post
Posted by: Paul F.
Date: January 03, 2006 12:49PM
(Post deleted... somehow it ended up in the wrong thread... use of the "back" button at the wrong time, I suppose...).






Paul F.
-----
A sword never kills anybody; it is a tool in the killer's hand. - Lucius Annaeus Seneca c. 5 BC - 65 AD
----
Good is the enemy of Excellent. Talent is not necessary for Excellence.
Persistence is necessary for Excellence. And Persistence is a Decision.

--

--

--
Eureka, CA



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 01/03/2006 01:10PM by Paul F..
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Re: Follow up to "emergency" snake post
Posted by: $tevie
Date: January 03, 2006 01:11PM
.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 01/03/2006 01:36PM by $tevie.
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Re: Follow up to "emergency" snake post
Posted by: Stephanie
Date: January 03, 2006 09:18PM
jimmypoo & MacMagus -

They said that the air bubble will heal up on its own - in time. So, he recommended just leaving it alone and letting it go away on its own. He said it will take a long time, probably months.


I did get an opinion from someone else (who works for a vet). She said that there is a procedure that can be done to remove the excess air. I guess since he's breathing ok, there's no need to try to remove it.


At this point, I'm just really concerned, and hoping, that he'll be able to eat ok. I'm hoping there's no hidden substantial internal damage.
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