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MOUTH ROT [stomatitis]


BACTERIA
The bacterias that cause this condition are usually one of three Pseudomonas,Aeromonas and Proteus.If caught early it is easily treated.
RECOGNITION
Mouth rot is generalized as a swelling of the mucous membranes in the mouth.These areas may become red and inflamed.Also present may be a cheesy material on the gums.The gums may also bleed a slight bit.If the mouth is opened some mucous maybe present that may also be a sign of a respiratory infection which is often the case as they are both caused by the same bacteria.Snakes usually have some siliva in the mouth when opened but not excessively.Inflamation of the jaws will occur in serious cases causing the snake to look as if it has a wad of tobacco in its mouth.These are serious cases and should be treated as such with injections of antibiotics to kill the strain of bacteria.
TREATMENT
Mouth rot is usually brought on by a traumatic injury to the mouth such as a rubbed snout or excessive rubbing on a hard surface.It can also be brought upon by a lowered immune system.Reptiles kept too cold for a long amount of time or excessively stressed may aquire a weak immune system and mouth rot may ensue.Although it may also occur from a rat bite or other things that may upset the bacteria balance in the snakes body such as excessively stale water for weeks and weeks.Any how treatment is fairly easy in light cases where it is caught early.The snakes mouth should be cleansed with a soution such as Nolvasan in 30 parts water.Also used has been hydrogen peroxide or a weak Betadine solution.The snakes mouth should be opened and either swabbed with a q-tip or an eye dropper every day once a day sometimes twice if its really bad.Do not force any mucous material off of the gums excessively.Lightly with a q-tip rub off any mucous material to expose the gum and then apply solution.Some vets will advise not to remove any material and some may say its essential.I have removed material with no problems.This will cure very early cases of mouth rot.If a serious case is encountered the snake needs a vet check up.He will usually take a throat culture which envolves opening the snakes mouth and swabbing the glotis with a q-tip.This is then sent to a laboratory if the vet does not have one and then its determined which type of bacteria is envolved in the infection.Uusally one of the three listed above.The snake will then require injections in the upper 1/3 of the muscle of an antibiotic solution such as gentomycin,baytril,or Amikacin.Usually at a dose of 2.5 mg./kg. every other day or third day depending on drug of choice for a couple of weeks.Maybe longer.Snakes need to be kept at optimal temperatures.For most boas and pythons 84 with a hotter spot around 90 as a gradient works well for ailing snakes.Stress should be low and feeding should be kept to a minimum.If you feed your snake use very small meals so as not to stretch the snakes jaws.The snake needs a hide box and reduce handling to only the days necessary.Fresh water should be given at ALL times as antibiotic treatments with some drugs such as gentomycin can cause dehydration and kidney failure resulting. Snakes recover well with proper treatment and will live a long healthy life if the causes of the illness are discovered and fixed!