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Thread: Smelly red goop piles on substrate

  1. #31
    T. radix Ranch guidofatherof5's Avatar
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    Re: Smelly red goop piles on substrate

    I think this was a pathogen issue. Not sure which one but a deadly one.
    Steve
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  2. #32
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    Re: Smelly red goop piles on substrate

    I'm sorry for your loss. Did you get a necropsy done on Stripes?

    From an academic point of view it would be very interesting to see what would cause heart enlargement like that. I didn't look at the radiograph again, but are we certain it's not stomach enlargement? Crypto would do that, and cause the bloody diarrhea. If so, it's very contagious, and hard to kill in the environment. Bleach won't do, get a quaternary ammonium compound.

    Hearts can be enlarged due to various cardiomyopathies but to see the same one in two snakes that close together is very odd. If it were a nematode like a heartworm that would be insane and very noteworthy. Pentastomids are typically associated with the lungs but can occur anywhere. They can be zoonotic and are not uncommon in wild caught garter snakes (I realize origin is likely CB).

    Again, so sorry for your loss,

    Ian

  3. #33
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    Re: Smelly red goop piles on substrate

    So there was a necropsy done for Stripes. Unfortunately I had had a really bad time with Blackie's death so I put her body in the freezer after a few days so I could just "move on". I still have her, but I don't think any tests work now.


    Stripes' vet confirmed that there was a lot of blood in the intestines, no indications of parasites, some stress on the liver, and otherwise no interesting findings or, otherwise, inconclusive blood work. So he didn't note anything about stomach or heart. I guess there could have still been crypto, but not any worms. Also confirmed that Stripes was male.


    In my opinion a bunch of sudden bleeding in two individuals from the digestive system at the same time looks a whole lot like poisoning. Something went in both of them and wrecked havoc. The necropsy didn't support parasite load that they had from the wild, and I think genetic defect wouldn't have beset both at the exact same time like that. So I'm looking at the days leading up to the incident for my culprit.

    I'm now feeling the symptoms came from Vitamin E toxicity. The Flukers I switched to right before symptoms was this : Robot Check


    It has added vitamin E, which is fat soluble, but no indication of how much or any warnings. Vitamin E can build up in the body, rather than just "peeing" out extra. Too much Vitamin E will change the way blood works, preventing clotting, and high doses are linked to cardiac events in humans.


    When they became ill I started daily, sometimes twice daily soaks in water treated with this stuff. I wasn't careful with the concentration, using a "drop" (.5 cc) in a small critter carrier, never imagining there could be an overdose risk in a water conditioner. It still didn't strike me to look at whether Vitamin E had a toxicity risk until well after everything happened. I guess I just assumed it was a "safe" water soluble vitamin like the Vitamin C crap the pet industry so often puts in guinea pig products.


    There were likely compounding problems. But either way, putting a fat soluble vitamin in a water conditioner is stupid at worst, unnecessary at best. I haven't checked with the vet whether vitamin overdoses show in blood work, or talking to Flukers (though I will!) so I may have no cause for this conclusion as to why my snakes died. But the more I learn about the risks of overloading Vitamin E (even in humans!), the more angry I am that Flukers is just tossing around the stuff with no caution or warnings.


    Last thought: one compounding issue seems to be that I was using any water conditioner at all. The vet said I didn't ever need one for snakes (?). So, learning process all around. I'm still using Reptisafe (carefully) with my box turtle.

  4. #34
    T. radix Ranch guidofatherof5's Avatar
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    Re: Smelly red goop piles on substrate

    I can't imagine these snakes taking in enough of the Vit. E from the water to cause such a problem and it leading to death. I would stop using the water conditioner. Setting a couple gallons of water out for 24 hours should remove any of the additives. Just my thoughts.
    Steve
    5 awesome kids!
    Emmy, Kale, Molly, Gabby, Hailee
    They are not just snakes. They're garter snakes.
    http://www.youtube.com/user/thamnophis14?feature=mhee

  5. #35
    "PM Boots For Custom Title" Tommytradix's Avatar
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    Re: Smelly red goop piles on substrate

    after being frozen they wouldnt find anything. if you ever plan to get a necropsy done again refridgerate dont freeze

  6. #36
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    Re: Smelly red goop piles on substrate

    I agree that this, and a lot of similar products are crap, and targeting na´ve pet owners that just want the best for their animals. Your vitamin E theory is unlikely, but not without merit. The Fluker's website does not reveal how much Vitamin E is in the bottle. Not that this matters, because there is no regulatory body for such products and there could be zero to asinine proportions of vitamin in any given batch produced. Nonetheless, using a drop, or 1/2 cc (10 drops), whichever it is, in a liter or two of bath water is unlikely to cause toxicity. Vitamin E is indeed fat soluble and can cause toxicity because of it, but it is a compound essential to the body which means there are physiological methods for it's use and regulation. As per the blood panel, vitamin E levels can be tested, but are not on a routine blood panel.

    A gross necropsy (sounds like what was done) can be done on a frozen/thawed carcass but in itself is rather unrevealing. It can see visual changes to organs, masses, larger parasites, foreign bodies etc. The freezing causes cellular lysis, which means that histopathology is fruitless. Freezing also reduces the chance of pathogen isolation, but not always. We often freeze cultures and plasma in case future testing is warranted.

    And because it was mentioned, Guinea pigs are the only known animals in addition to primates (including us of course) that cannot produce their own vitamin C, making it an essential vitamin. Lacking it causes scurvy, an utterly painful demise. Vitamin C in the water... another one of those crap products. It should be offered in a variety of methods, most reliably via daily tablet form (Oxbow products), but also in supplemented pellets (an unessential dietary component), and in my opinion, ideally from fresh vegetables like bell peppers.

    Ian

  7. #37
    "PM Boots For Custom Title" d_virginiana's Avatar
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    Re: Smelly red goop piles on substrate

    I agree that vitamin E overdose probably wasn't the cause, but those vitamin products that aren't really necessary are generally crap... I wouldn't be surprised if there was some component that garters are more sensitive to than other reptiles. There are products that are perfectly fine for most other reptiles that can cause serious problems with garters (probably due to their smaller size and faster metabolisms).
    Lora

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