Reptile Forums banner
1 - 15 of 15 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
22,890 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've got a question for those of you who have had corns or other temperate snake species that have been subjected to too-hot cage temps for too long. If the animal survived... did its behaviour change - and how? Was this change permanent?

I'm asking because we have a giant European glass lizard (Pseudopus/Ophisaurus apodus) - a "room temperature" species with similar temperature requirements to a corn snake (hence askiing here rather than in lizards, when most common pet lizards are tropical or desert species) - who had a problem with an infection and necrosis at the tip of his tail due to an (ex)cagemate biting it. We took him to the vet last week to have the necrotic part of his tail removed, and we were assured by the vet that he was familiar with legless lizards, wouldn't stop to listen to any of our care instructions, just reassured us that he knew what he was doing.

The vet had Chumley for over 24 hours in his care - from 2:30 PM on a Wednesday to 6:30PM Thursday. The operation to remove the bad part of his tail was done around 10:30 AM. I had to arrange a ride to the vet's surgery to pick him up (we don't own a car) and when I got there, the vet wasn't present - only one of the nurses, who brought Chum to me.

When I reached in to touch him, he was VERY warm to the touch - easily warmer than I keep my rainbow boas and more like 'live baby mice' warm - and I have no idea how long he had been kept at that temperature.

Since then, I have noticed dramatic changes in his attitude - he's gone from being a mostly-placid animal who huffed or swung gently at you if you startled him to being very fast and jerky moving, very aggressive and VERY prone to trying to bite. He's also started peculiar behaviours - nose-rubbing, stretching up to press up against the top of his tub, doing a lot of thumping about... quite a lot more activity and more notably he is really swinging to bite when he's handled and lunging at the tub walls when he sees movement near them. Conversely, his tail does not seem particularly sensitive or tender - he reacts much LESS to being touched on the tail.

The other glass lizard we have is NOT exhibiting these behaviours - she's always been stroppy, but she's not showing the idiopathic behaviour.

I'm really concerned because Chumley used to be an animal we could take 'round classes and let little kids pet him - but at the moment we can barely handle him without him striking out at us.

If being kept too warm for too long has caused him some sort of damage, is there any way to lessen the behavioural effects?

I'm worried that he's going to rub the scales on his face off or hurt himself when he strikes at the walls of the tub (and putting him into a tinted translucent tub instead of the clear one hasn't helped) and if I didn't know it was him I'd say they've given us a totally different animal back from the one we took to the vet's.

Lastly... what would you do in terms of talking to the 'exotics' vet in question if it IS heat-related behaviour problems?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
9,815 Posts
i have seen boids with heat stress and they are just limp,maybe he is have some sort of reaction to the general stress of the op or possibly the anaesthetic?
regards gaz
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
22,890 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
This is now over a full week later - the op was on the 19th of January - I assume the anesthetic should have worn off completely by now.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
9,815 Posts
yes aneasthetics are designed not to be long lasting,could the animal have been exposed to anything else?disinfectant for example,the effects sound more along the lines of frontline overdose with the shaking etc,practically speaking without a blow by blow account of the procedure at the vets you are going to be playing a waiting game to see if the animal calms down to normal again,i know this isnt much help but patience is sometimes the best weapon allied to careful observation,you may just get some clues from watching,however if the animal was as hot as you say when you picked him up then this seems to be the problem,have you asked the vet just what method they used to keep him warm?might give a clue as to the max temps reached
regards gaz
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,474 Posts
The only long term effect of adverse temperatures i have witnessed are star gazing, which lasted for around 10 days (panicked like hell it was IBD at the time).

I'd guess that he is sore in general and just does not want handling through fear of a predator recognising he is in a weakened state.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
22,890 Posts
Discussion Starter · #6 ·
If that's the case, is there a particular reason he might be getting worse as time goes on instead of better?

As for stargazing... could the pushing up against the roof of his tub be an extension of this? I really can't explain that particular behaviour at all and it's the one that worries me the most because it's most likely to do him damage.

I can cope (though I won't be happy) if he's going to be aggressive for life - but I don't want him to injure himself.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,474 Posts
Is he pushing hard and constantly? If so then i would guess this isnt star gazing. If you bang your toe the first thing you do is bounce around like a lunatic - maybe this is a similar reaction?

If he is getting worse then i'd guess he is in pain.

This is something that was first brought to my attention with performing venemoid surgery....
If you have an operation you get anaesthetic followed by pain killers. I'm going to guess your little man has had no pain relief since the operation.

Don't forget when wounds are healing it often hurts as it all knits back together again.

He will probably reach a peak and then start to calm down again as the pain starts to subside.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
22,890 Posts
Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Not constantly. Mostly, it's when anything moves near his cage, though the nose rub seems to indicate he is doing it more than just when I'm sat in the front room with him.

And oddly enough, as I said, his tail itself doesn't seem particularly tender or painful - no swelling, no infection, nothing like that, and he doesn't react when it's touched - even just an inch or so up from where it was amputated - nearly as strongly as if you touch him on the body or move your hands near his cage.

He's also been back to see A vet (but not THE vet) since, who says there is no evidence of infection in the wound and that it looks like it's going through normal healing processes - and Chum didn't react to him prodding the tailtip.

No, THE vet in question did not give us any pain killers to give him - the nurse who gave him back to us afterwards just encouraged us to keep up with the Baytril to prevent infection, and this was second hand as THE vet doesn't work at the surgery any time when either of us can get there.

That said... I have had a problem with this particular vet in the past (which I mentioned in passing on the "live feeding" discussion thread) and prior to this event I didn't like him nor did I want him operating on Chumley - but the fact that our usual exotics vet at the same practice has gone off on maternity leave meant that if we wanted to have the necrotic, septic tissue removed we HAD to have him do it unless we wanted to try it ourselves (not something I'd consider.)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,474 Posts
I'm going to guess he will be fine in a week or two - i have seen deep wounds on a animal that caused no reaction what so ever when prodded. I don't think reptiles have the same reflexes we do, although i've not ready anything on the matter, so it may well be sore.

Not a lot i can say about the vet i'm afraid - i have a low opinion of the majority of them and only go when there is absolutely no other choice.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
27,819 Posts
If that's the case, is there a particular reason he might be getting worse as time goes on instead of better?

As for stargazing... could the pushing up against the roof of his tub be an extension of this? I really can't explain that particular behaviour at all and it's the one that worries me the most because it's most likely to do him damage.

I can cope (though I won't be happy) if he's going to be aggressive for life - but I don't want him to injure himself.
Is the part of the tub he is pushing against transparent so that he sees it as a possible exit ?

Or is there a hole there allowing air in that he can feel ?

I do wonder about the feel of plastic to snakes. I use plastic water bowls for mine and one particular animal would put his head right under the water and push down on the bottom of the bowl for all he was worth as though he was trying to force his way through the bottom of it. ( sorry I have assumed here that by tub you mean plastic container )
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
22,890 Posts
Discussion Starter · #11 ·
He pushes against several different places - the centre of the lid (no air movement), near the edges of the lid (yes, air movement), wherever he sees movement outside...

We're keeping his tub covered with a towel at the moment just to reduce the striking-against-the-walls when he sees movement - so the places he's pushing against aren't transparent. I can sometimes see the lid move slightly in the centre when he's pushing against that, but mostly I'm hearing him thump about.

Yes, his tub is plastic - a 65-litre Really Useful box, translucent blue. He was in a less tall clear box, and then he was really pushing and rubbing against the entire lid as well as the sides.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
111 Posts
rah! sounds strange to me, only thing i can think would be the stress factor? im no lizard man but surely it would still apply? plus you said he was kept in a high temp, that would make him well cranky i would imagine (bit like when you go on out and it looks like rain so you dress for rain then there is killer sunshine, makes you sweaty, angry and aggitated)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6,229 Posts
Hopefully he will be fine and eventually go back to his normal self..
I have seen a pair of everglades rats kept FAR too hot (way over 100F) that became very aggressive and unpredictable (they were placid animals used in college classes beforehand).
They were rehoused recently (a few months ago maybe?) and apparently the behaviour is beginning to subside.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
15,027 Posts
I guess as soon as he de-stresses the aggressive behaviour will wear off... could be because he was kept to warm before, perhaps as suggested his wounds are still giving him jip.... I'd go with the other conclusions and give him a few weeks....

Do as you have been doing and keep the glass covered so he can't see you but can't see the walls....
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
22,890 Posts
Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Well, I did phone up the vet, who told me three worrying things.

1. "No, we never actually measured the temperature in the tub as such."
2. "The air temperature can't possibly have been warmer than 85 degrees F."
3. "We used one of those microwave beanbags, with a couple of towels over it, under the cage."

So... if you're using a totally unregulated heat source that *I* know from experience gets hot enough to burn human skin and STAYS that hot for quite a while AND you never measured the temperature... how the hell do you know it never got above 85 air temperature - let alone what the surface temperature on the bottom of the holding tub was?

I know how hot to the touch he was when I first got him back. Naked baby mouse warm. Fifteen or twenty minutes later, when I got him home and my partner touched him he was still certainly rainbow-boa warm.

Does anyone know of a decent exotics vet in West Yorkshire - preferably one that can be got to by bus? I am NOT taking any of my reptiles back to that practice until our regular exotics vet comes back from her maternity leave.

If he could at least have said "yes, we measured the air temperature at X degrees" ... I wouldn't feel like we were lied to when they told us that they had facilities to keep Chumley at that branch of the practice.

This really has just gotten me upset - I do genuinely care for my animals and I don't like seeing Chumley so stressed out - and knowing that WE trusted him to the vet instead of following my instinct to just go get him back when they said "we need to transfer him to the other practice so that THE vet can see him"...
 
1 - 15 of 15 Posts
Top