Initial Medical Treatment
by Freight Freitas
Initial medical treatments for w/c Gonyosoma: As stated, this initial procedure for w/c snakes is considered mandatory for captive success. I have time tested these procedures and have never incurred ill effects. An assessment of overall condition should be done by a qualified reptile vet, and even if the snake is given a clean bill of health the medical procedure should still be performed, particularly relating to treatment with Baytril. There are way too many possible issues that may show up some time after acquisition that may be easily thwarted with the initial treatment protocol.
- Baytril (antibiotic): 5mg/kg=0.25cc/kg, or 0.025cc/100g injectable/tablets (every other day for 10-12 treatments)
- Amikacin (antibiotic): 5mg/kg=0.1cc/kg, or 0.01cc/100g injectable (every 2-3 days for 10-12 treatments)
- Panacur (dewormer): 100mg/kg=1.00cc/kg, or 0.10cc/100g oral suspension (1x weekly for 4 treatments)
- Flagyl (antiparasite): 100mg/kg or 10mg/100g (1x weekly for 4 treatments)
The basic treatment protocol for newly acquired G. oxycephala and G. janseni in seemingly good overall condition is as follows: Baytril is started at 5mg/kg by body weight and is given every other day for 10-12 treatments. The first 1-3 doses are elevated to 1.5x the normal dose as a booster, and the remaining treatments are given at the normal dose. Dosing with a cocktail of Panacur and Flagyl dosed at 100mg/kg each is administered orally, and is repeated once weekly for four weeks. After the first two doses are given orally the remaining two doses can be given in food to avoid unnecessary stress. Snakes that are either not showing signs of illness, or that have generally mild respiratory symptoms tend to respond very well to this protocol, and I have a number of long term captives that have done very well over the years. I have also used this treatment plan on c/b and c/h snakes that I have acquired from various outside sources to ensure their health and longevity in my care.
Baytril is your first line of defense, and the one antibiotic that actually works with Gonyosoma. The injectable solution, or tablets crushed and cut in water can both be used orally. I generally start treatment with 1.5-2x the normal dose for the first 1-3 treatments dependant upon the condition of the snake. This is a good way to initially booster the snake with antibiotics to be sure enough medication is circulating through their system. I usually drop the dose down to the normal dose for the rest of the treatment interval, provided that the snake is showing signs of improvement. There is a possibility of causing “Baytril scars” when given by injection, so some people prefer the oral dosing for that reason. This medication can be irritating to the tissue around the site of injection, and the scars appear as a colorless blotch of scales. For this reason it is advisable to dilute the injectable solution in water when given orally to avoid irritation of the mucous membranes.
For snakes that are extremely sick (usually with upper respiratory infection/pneumonia), and/or are not responding quickly to treatment with Baytril, I generally add in Amikacin as well. This medication does not work well, if at all, when used alone in Gonyosoma, but has proved invaluable when used in tandem with Baytril. I generally start treatment with 1.5-2x the normal dose for the first 1-3 treatments, and then drop down to the normal dose dependant upon the condition of the snake. In a few extreme cases it has been necessary to keep snakes on elevated doses of both medications for up to three months before achieving optimal healing.
Most wild animals carry a parasite load that is managed at tolerable levels under normal healthy conditions in the wild. When animals are caught and taken from the wild they become stressed, which can lead to many adverse symptoms. The conditions in which reptiles are kept and shipped tend to range from inadequate to deplorable, and the stress incurred in the process can be deadly. In many cases reptiles are not given food or water for weeks to months while in transit, and a subsequent decline in health is incurred. One of the major events that occurs and contributes to this overall decline in health is the overgrowth of parasite loads in the gastrointestinal tract. Parasitic worms can have devastating effects on the intestines, as they bore their way through the soft tissues, or attach themselves within the intestines robbing their host of much needed nutrition. There are also microscopic protozoan parasites that can wreak havoc with normal intestinal function. Parasites not only can do physical damage to the intestinal walls, but also tend to release toxins in their wastes, which lead to various forms of illness. Treatment with Panacur for worms, and Flagyl for protozoan overgrowth is the best way to insure the health of your newly acquired snakes. I perform parasite treatments on all newly acquired reptiles, whether w/c, c/b, or c/h to ensure they are healthy, as well as to avoid any type of cross contamination.