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Thread: My Garter Snake is making a strange noise.

  1. #1
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    Unhappy My Garter Snake is making a strange noise.

    Hello,
    I have a ~6 year old checkered garter snake, Steavy. Roughly 2 months ago out of the blue, I heard a very strange and alarming noise come from him. I have witnessed him do it in front of me several times. What happens is that, first, he will expand/ puff up very big in his mid section, and he will open his mouth very wide, and lastly, make a sound. This noise is hard to explain, but it is kinda of like a squirting noise, kind of like a juicy fart (I know that sounds strange lol) almost like air is being forced out of him, then after he is finished, he breathes very fast like he was startled. It is so loud that it wakes me up and night. 95% of the time he makes these noises at night, probably 1-4 times a day, varying. Also, he was recently diagnosed with a RI infection by my vet, which told me I have caught it early. I also told her about the weird noise, but she didn't say anything. I've been giving him oral meds (baytril) for 2 weeks. He seems the same, but I just don't know what to do, I have no clue what this noise is and it's driving me crazy, well thank you for reading this.
    ~Brittany

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    Forum Moderator infernalis's Avatar
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    Re: My Garter Snake is making a strange noise.

    welcome to the forum.

    This seems like RI symptoms, those wet sounds are fluids in the respiratory tract.

    Could you please give us a detailed description of your cage temperatures, a photo of your setup??

    It seems like 2 weeks of baytril would have had some positive effect by now.

    Good luck with this..

  3. #3
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    Re: My Garter Snake is making a strange noise.

    Yeah that sounds right. I usually use aspen bedding, but since he has a RI I switched over to paper towels to reduce dust. He has a heating pad covering less then half of his cage and a heat lamp. I recently got him a UVB light. He has a pretty large water bowl that he can fit in, some plastic leaves, and a cave. The cold side is roughly 70-75 degrees, and the warm side about 85. Also, about the baytril, I have noticed no major differences in his behaivor. Before the meds, he was clicking and making the strange noise. He still does both, and I forgot to mention, 2-3 times when he made the noise, A little bit of blood came out after he opened his mouth (less then a drop) I will try to post a short video of him and his cage tommorow.
    Thanks

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    T.s. affectionado EasternGirl's Avatar
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    Re: My Garter Snake is making a strange noise.

    I know when my garter had a respiratory infection, I increased the heat in her enclosure up to 86 on the warm side and at least 75 on the cold side during the day, and I also made sure to keep it warmer at night for her as well...never letting it go below 80 on the warm side at night or 70 on the cool side. I also made sure to keep the humidity up around 40% to 50% at all times. This helped a lot. She has chronic respiratory problems and I have to always make sure to keep it a little warmer for her than I would with another snake. If it gets too cool at night, I notice her symtoms acting up. My vet did not prescribe Baytril...he prescribed Ceftazidime that had to be administered in injections...I had to give her an injections every 3 days for a total of 10 injections. She responded very quickly...she got better after the first injection. I would definitely call the vet if you haven't seen improvement at this point. Perhaps your vet needs to try a different antibiotic. I know my vet said that Baytril was not the antibiotic of choice for my garter's RI. I hope this helps. As Wayne said a detailed description of your cage temps, humidity, and a photo of your set-up would help.
    Marnie
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    Domos Ophiusa gregmonsta's Avatar
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    Re: My Garter Snake is making a strange noise.

    As Wayne said - I would have expected a more positive result from the baytril. I had results within 3 days when I last had to deal with an RI. This does sound more serious, especially as you say there's blood involved. I would be straight back to the vet. A swab and test to isolate the type of RI or, indeed, to check for other potential issues.
    EasternGirl likes this.
    Keeping - 'Florida blue' sirtalis, concinnus, infernalis, parietalis, radix, marcianus and ocellatus.

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    Re: My Garter Snake is making a strange noise.

    I also noticed he hasn't made the noise last night and the night before, which was strange, in a good way. I think it is because it has gotten up to the near 80's and the nights were a lot warmer than usual.(It was freezing cold all last week and all before that.) I'm hoping since the warm weather is approaching, his symptoms will slowly damper away. He seems pretty healthy, he eats very well (pinkies and fish), poops A LOT, clear eyes and skin, which is why i'm not sure if want to take him to the vet right now. (Unless it gets worse of course) His last dosage ends tommorow. I am just worried about the noise he makes because it does not sound like wheezing or coughing. And I have a question, I don't have a humidifier thing for him, so should I just take a spray bottle and spray the cage? I just don't know how much and how often I should. I also came up with an idea by mistake, I washed his plastic leaves with water, and they're wet/damp inside his cage, so I guess that may help. Here's a quick video his cage; Garter Snake Cage - YouTube

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    "PM Boots For Custom Title" chris-uk's Avatar
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    Re: My Garter Snake is making a strange noise.

    I tend to spray the leaves in my tanks to keep the humidity up. I actually use old nasal sprays (from my hayfever) which I wash out and fill with water. Spraying on leaves means that the substrate doesn't keep getting damp.
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    Re: My Garter Snake is making a strange noise.

    That sounds like it actually wasn't caught early and has likely advanced into pneumonia. "caught early" would be if the infection was still in the upper respiratory tract. Some sneezing, possible nasal discharge, occasional gaping to breathe, thats upper. Snake equivalent to "sniffles" What you described sounds like fluid in the lung. The snake equivalent to a bad cough/chest congestion / pneumonia. A little blood is normal for pneumonia.

    Most RI's in garters are caused by normal household bacteria and so baytril is very effective. You should see improvement within 5-7 days. However, in the case of pneumonia it could take several months to clear out the fluid and/or mucus even after the infection itself is gone. Symptoms may seem to worsen or lessen at times depending on humidity / temperature having an affect on how much fluid is being expelled out.

    If the RI is caused by a virus (uncommon, but it happens) baytril won't help. Viral RI's are extremely difficult if not impossible to recover from.

    I had an old female concinnus that caught a bacterial upper RI. I saw significant improvement in symptoms within 5 days of baytril. I continued oral suspension baytril daily for 3 weeks. Symptoms did not fully go away until a month or two later. Temperatures sound OK but don't cool her down at night and it probably wouldn't hurt to go 75-90.

    How are you giving the meds? I know you said orally but how? make sure the snake is getting the full proper dose down and keeping it down. Don't skip doses and don't exceed dosage. I wouldn't stop until she's been taking it for at least 3 weeks.

    Just follow the vets recommendations carefully. Like I said, with a case of pneumonia it could take weeks or longer for the symptoms to subside even after the infection has been beat. It takes time to clear out the fluid / mucous.
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    T.s. affectionado EasternGirl's Avatar
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    Re: My Garter Snake is making a strange noise.

    The enclosure looks pretty good..although you may want to get some substrate for him in there. The paper towels aren't going to hold a lot of humidity. I have found that aspen works pretty well for holding humidity...you just have to be very careful when feeding, not to let the snake get any of the aspen on the food. Like Chris said, just take a spray bottle of some sort, a clean one, and fill it with water and mist the plants in his enclosure several times a day...you don't want to get the paper towels or any substrate you use wet. If you hear him making that noise anymore or if he shows any other signs that he is ill, I would call the vet.
    Marnie
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  10. #10
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    Re: My Garter Snake is making a strange noise.

    @ConcinnusMan Here's a video I made a couple days ago on giving him baytril. Giving oral medicine to a Garter Snake - YouTube
    And as for the spraying, I definetly will do that. I'll add in the aspen next time I clean out his cage, I just wanted to reduce dust. And about the pneumonia, if my snake does have it, will he need any assistance such as an antibiotic?

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