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How To Rehydrate A Snake

| Introduction | Clinical Assessment | Basic Rehydration | Advanced Rehydration | Related Topics | References |


As a pet snake keeper you might be confronted with a snake that is dehydrated. The skin of a dehydrated snake will most often have a wrinkly appearance, especially after the skin is gently pinched. They eyes might also be sunken to a certain degree. These two things are the first things owners become concerned about.

One important thing to remember about a dehydrated snake is the fact that dehydration is a clinical sign and not a disease or a diagnoses. This means there is almost always a reason for the loss of fluid, i.e. incorrect husbandry, disease / parasites, dysecdysis etc. A second important thing is that irrespective the cause for the dehydration, the condition should always be seen as serious and can be life threatening if not corrected.

It is therefore recommended that a herptile friendly veterinarian is consulted to determine the most effective rehydration method in conjunction with a holistic treatment plan.

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Clinical Assessment:

When should you attempt to rehydrate a snake yourself and when is more intensive treatment advised? First of all, look at the snake and if you can answer yes to all of the following questions it is still save to do do basic rehydration at home:

Is the snake still eating / drinking without any problems?
Is the snake still bright and alert with regular tongue flicking?
Is the snake's stool formed and distinguishable?
Is the snake's skin still in one piece (i.e. when shedding) and without any visible abnormalities?

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Basic Ways To Rehydrate A Snake:

Use a large enough water bowl for the snake to soak in
This will not only stimulate water intake, but also rehydrate the snake from the outside, i.e. get rid of old, dry, loose skin.

Increase the humidity of the enclosure
The humidity can be increased by several ways, First of all a humidifier can be incorporated which will actively add vaporized water to the enclosure. Secondly a large, but shallow water container can be placed over a or the heat pad or heat strip. Make sure the temperature of the container is within the recommended temperature range for that species.

Add a moist substrate to the shelter area
A moist substrate like sphagnum moss or vermiculite can be used.

Treat the snake in a humidity chamber

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Advanced Ways To Rehydrate A Snake (seek Veterinary assistance):

Oral rehydration
least effective, but easiest to do

Parenteral rehydration
(Other than per os). This includes subcutanious (SC), intra peritonial (IP) and intravenous (IV) fluids by means of a needle and syringe. The SC ruite is preferred in snakes and is relative easy to do.

"If you think I should add more information to this section or think that something is incorrect, contact me and let me know. I would love to hear your ideas or methods you might use that is different than ours."

Last updated 17 December 2008 by Renier Delport

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"Always remember only to buy healthy animals from reputable pet shops and breeders. Make sure to buy animals that are captive bred in your own country and that it is not illegally imported or caught from the wild."

Related Topics:

Reptile & Amphibian Quarantine
Snake Burn Wounds

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| Introduction | Clinical Assessment | Basic Rehydration | Advanced Rehydration | Related Topics | References |



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