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Old 23-03-2008, 01:54 PM
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Question Scale Rot

I have been searching the web for information about Scale Rot but there appears to be no decent sites that answer my questions. I have listed my questions below and if anyone can answer them I would be overjoyed as I don't want to spend £40 just to go up and ask the vet a few questions. (Yes I have to pay for an appointment fee just to ask questions!)

1. What does scale rot look like? (Any pictures would be excellent)
2. What causes scale rot?
3. How do you treat scale rot?
4. Is scale rot infectious and able to be passed to other snakes?
5. How serious is scale rot and can it be deadly?

Any other information would be appreciated to. Even links to another site that may have further information on the subject.

I don't think any of my snakes have scale rot based on what I have read so far, but hey, as you all know information differs from place to place.

I would just like to know what I am looking for before hand as I am buying in a number of snakes and take in a few rescues from time to time. I'd hate to miss something worng with one of my snakes.

Many thanks in advance.


If possible could one of the moderators make this a sticky for future reference if there is a good response please?
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Old 23-03-2008, 02:03 PM
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I was looking for info on this yesterday as i hears it can be caused by urine soaked subtrate on a heatmat and the snake being in direct contact can cause scale rot.

Do a google search ''scale rot snakes'' click on images and theres what it looks like
Click on web and theres loads of info including how to treat it!

Hope this helps
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Old 23-03-2008, 02:13 PM
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I've tried google, the pictures are of severe scale rot, I have been told there can be varying degrees of it.

The information is very vague, I'm looking for almost full information on it.

If I have to pay the £40 appointment fee for a question time with the vet then I suppose I'll just have to bite the bullet and go. Just thought I'd try here first.
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Old 23-03-2008, 02:22 PM
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as scale rot is typically caused by environmental factors i dont see how it could be contagious. But i did hear that i can become systemic , how true that is i dont know. i belive that very mild cases are treated with a betadine 10% solution bath 2x daily and a rise in temps. deeper infection is abntibiotics. i am sure somebodywill correct me if i am wrong!
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Old 23-03-2008, 04:54 PM
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I***8217;m trying to make a few extensive care sheets and have been storing information as I go along so I can reread it at a later time, these answers are both from my understanding and direct advice given to me. Please feel free to correct me if I am wrong in any point, although I have read and learnt quite a bit in my studies I am by no means an expert.

Quote:
Originally Posted by kerridwen View Post
What does scale rot look like? (Any pictures would be excellent)
***8226; yellow, red or greenish-black discolouration of the scales, particularly along the underside
***8226; Sore looking Splits in the scales on the underbelly
***8226; softening or swelling of the skin surface caused by serum seeping through
***8226; sloughing of affected skin exposing subcutaneous tissue
***8226; In more advanced cases: Fluid-filled blisters in the scales, again primarily on the ventral surfaces
***8226; In more advanced cases: Bruising due to blood in the tissue beneath the scale.

I found a couple of pictures on google (I dont think they are copyrighted, I cant remeber where I got them from, but dont think whoever posted them will mind too much as I'm sure they posted them for education)

Severe case (snake taken to the vet and nearly fully recovered now)








Quote:
Originally Posted by kerridwen View Post
What causes scale rot?
Generally, scale rot results from either unhygienic conditions or excessive dampness in the environment. This can imply anything, i.e. the humidity in the Viv is too high, the substrate used maintains moisture too well (e.g. mulch or even aspen if it gets wet) or the water bowl gets spilled sometimes and the snake curles up on top of the spill. It***8217;s most common in reptiles that come from dry, arid regions.
Occasionally, a deficiency of vitamins A and C can be a contributing factor.


Quote:
Originally Posted by kerridwen View Post
How do you treat scale rot?
***8226; If the infection is particularly deep and extensive, a vet may have to cut or clean away dead tissue under anaesthesia.
***8226; For less severe but still serious infection/problems, a vet may give a course of injected antibiotics
***8226; For milder cases it can be treated by cleaning the affected area twice a day with diluted antiseptic solution and applying an antiseptic ointment, or as tinkerbruce said, 10% solution betadine or F10 in a bath twice a day (whilst supervised) can help wonders for any skin condition, so might be worth trying this to see if it helps. (Betadine contains Iodine, and is the most effective topical antiseptic agent available)
***8226; You must keep the substrate clean and dry. It***8217;s recommended that you move the snake onto paper, newspaper or paper towels until the snake heals, this will help to prevent bacteria and substrate getting into the wound. You can also try raising the temperature by a few degrees (only 2 to 5) to burn off any extra humidity in the Vivarium, but only for a short while to help the healing process start.
***8226; It is advised to use a small heavy water bowl, it needs to be heavy so it cannot be spilled, and small so that the snake will not be able to soak in it and aggravate the problem. As the snake approaches shedding time, bathe it in an antiseptic solution each day. This should prevent serious problems with shedding.
It is far easier and much less dangerous to solve shedding problems than to cure a case of scale rot that has turned septic.
***8226; Handle him/her as little as possible, and when you do, if the scale rot has seepage or open wounds, wear gloves or sterilise your hands. Again, this will prevent bacteria getting into the bloodstream and cause less stress for the snake who will be quite uncomfortable already.

Please note, A bath in a betadine solution or cleaning of the affected area with antiseptic solution is basic first aid, and won***8217;t harm the snake. If your local herp vet is like the ones most of us find (completely useless, ***8220;um, yea it could be, carry on with what you are doing and bring it back if it gets worse***8221;) it may be a while before you can find someone reliable to diagnose your pet and it could be that the first aid will have worked or prevented the situation worsening.


Quote:
Originally Posted by kerridwen View Post
Is scale rot infectious and able to be passed to other snakes?
Scale rot is a bacterial infection so unless other snakes kept with it have open wounds, scale rot is not infectious. You should isolate a snake with scale rot anyway however, as it will make it far easier to keep an eye on its heath and keep it and the Viv clean

Quote:
Originally Posted by kerridwen View Post
How serious is scale rot and can it be deadly?
If left untreated, and the cause unresolved, scale rot is deadly. It is basically an infection of the skin when it starts, but untreated turns to infection of the blood and kills. It can also cause such discomfort that the snake will go off food and starve before it can be cured or it wont move to warm/cold spots as needed to thermoregulate which will cause other problems.
Scale rot is usually only deadly if treatment is not applied as soon as a problem is noticed, it is very easily cured.

If caught early (while in its ***8216;pink skin***8217; stage) home help and fixing the environment will fix it very quickly. If no improvement is seen within a few days, see a vet. If its more serious when noticed, start home treating the snake, fix the environment, then make an appointment with the vet. At this stage it is possible that the snake will need injected antibiotics, but even if it doesn***8217;t, better safe than sorry.
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Last edited by sweetvicky; 23-03-2008 at 04:58 PM..
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Old 23-03-2008, 05:09 PM
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Unless you can find a repile specialist I suspect that a vet will know no more than some of the experienced people on here.

Sorry I can't be more help.
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Old 23-03-2008, 05:11 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kerridwen View Post
1. What does scale rot look like? (Any pictures would be excellent)
2. What causes scale rot?
3. How do you treat scale rot?
4. Is scale rot infectious and able to be passed to other snakes?
5. How serious is scale rot and can it be deadly?
1. Sorry, I don't have any pictures. Look for a green spot or line close to the free edge of the belly scales. Worse cases have brownish, ulcerated patches of scales or fluid-filled blisters.

2. An assortment of opportunistic bacteria. A cold, damp, dirty cage provides conditions that are good for bacterial growth. The cool temperature reduces the snake's immune response, and the bacteria move from the substrate to grow on the snake's skin. Eventually, the bacteria can work deeper into the snake's body and produce a systemic infection.

3. Make the cage clean and dry. Use newspaper or paper towels for substrate. Do not let the snake soak in water but give a hiding box instead. Raise the temperature a few degrees Fahrenheit above recommended temperatures. Apply Betadine first aid cream to the affected areas daily. (Betadine is a preparation containing iodine which is available in both liquid and cream form. It is commonly available at drug stores (chemist shops???) on this side of the pond. I prefer the cream.) When the snake sheds its skin, the blisters are shed off. Many people stop the Betadine then, but I have found that another one or two applications of Betadine seem to get the bacteria left on the surface of the skin. Otherwise the blisters are likely to return. By the way, the ultra-violet rays in raw sunlight may be helpful in killing off the pathogens.

Serious cases require vet treatment and injectable antibiotics.

4. The same conditions are likely to give multiple snakes similar infections. In my opinion, this is more likely than direct snake to snake transmission.

5. It is potentially deadly. With reasonably good husbandry, none of your snakes are likely to get it. Even if contracted, it can be treated. Ease of treament depends on how far it has progressed.

Disclaimer: I am not a veterinarian, just a reasonably experienced herper who has successfully treated scale rot in some of his animals.
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Old 23-03-2008, 05:13 PM
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Old 23-03-2008, 06:40 PM
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I am treating advanced scale rot at the moment in one of my boas (i took on the boa knowing it had scale rot). quarantined in RUB with paper substrate, water bowl small, so snake cannot soak. clean area affected with iodine solution (tamodine/betadine) twice daily, apply topical antibiotic (using flamazine at mo) as often as you like first few days until improvement seen then once a day after til completely healed.

the pictures posted above are pretty much what it looks like in further advanced cases. when it starts it can look like a minor burn.

scale rot is also known as necrotising dermatitis, and if not treated can cause septicaemia or other internal issues.
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Old 23-03-2008, 06:44 PM
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i googled this with my google... might be something there helpful

scale rot snakes - Google Search
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