First pic was taken just now, second pic was from last night.
So, my girl Mocha has some kind of lump in her lower/middle body. I had noticed it before (within the last month or so) but it wasn’t super noticeable and she was otherwise acting normal and still eating so I didn’t think much of it.
However, she either didn’t eat or regurged her last meal, and this lump appears to be larger now.
Stools have appeared normal, nothing out of the ordinary there. She’s still acting normally and moving around, doesn’t appear lethargic or anything.
The lump itself is soft and squishy. She doesn’t react to me squishing it at all.
Any ideas on what it could be and what I should do?
I’ve been keeping a close eye on her and will take her to the vet if I have to, but that’s a 4 hour drive one way up to the university — since I don’t trust the local vets to know what to do for her.
They’d likely refer me up to there anyways like they did with my girl Butters.
I’m gonna be very real with you here, based on the location (lower 1/3rd), and general appearance of that lump, I’d heavily suggest a vet visit. You might remember I had a male hognose called Dratini I lost a little over a year ago to renal adenocarcinoma, and this was basically the exact presentation of disease with him. While I didn’t catch the lump with him until close to the end, the only other symptom he had was food refusal, otherwise was acting and pooping normally.
You could always try soaking on the off chance it’s an impaction that started slowly enough that it didn’t cause a complete blockage, but other than that, I’d definitely say vet.
If it’s that, is it something that can be treated?
I don’t want to go through all of that just to be told I have to put her down
I was told that surgery would do nothing and thus opted to euthanize, especially since my boy appeared to be in full kidney failure at the time. From what I’m finding looking at other cases of renal adenocarcinoma in vet med literature, the outcomes are not great. That said, it’s possible if it’s something else that it may be treatable if caught early.
@noodlehaus So you are talking about cancer right Jess? And fact that the lump is squishy is not a good sign. Or am I wrong?
I will mention I got Mocha as an adult, and I’ve had her for almost 4 years now (will be 4 years in November) so there’s no telling how old she is since I wasn’t given that info. So she is likely at least 6-7 years old if not older. I know that isn’t really “old” considering their lifespan but I don’t have any info on her history or origins either.
I was still new to snake keeping when I got her so it didn’t cross my mind to ask about those things
The lump doesn’t feel like anything I’d expect for an impaction, it just feels like soft tissue.
@caron Yes, I am talking about cancer. The texture of the lump doesn’t necessarily mean much. While squishy could be a good thing if it’s something like a lipoma, the fact that it looks like the mass is in the abdominal cavity itself and not off to one side or the other leads me to believe it’s likely organ-based. There’s also the possibility of something like a soft tissue sarcoma.
The older a snake gets, the more likely it is for them to develop some kind of ailment. From my experience with Dratini, his age was actually out of the ordinary for his diagnosis. I can’t remember what the most common type of tumors are in snakes, but I do know colubrids are predisposed to renal adenocarcinoma. I’d say it’s really up to you, @trnreptiles, as to what you want to do with her and whether or not to pursue some sort of diagnostics. You could always consider seeing a local vet to do noninvasive testing and seeing if they could consult with the University to decide if palliative care might be the best option considering presentation and her age, or if there would be reason to investigate further.
In light of what this could be I just want to express my condolences @trnreptiles. One of my Yorkies had hermangiosarcoma and had to have his spleen removed. He was on chemo and lived 2 1/2 years longer than his oncologist thought he would.
I am truly sorry that you are faced with this dilemma. I hate the “C” word……
I’ve been monitoring her over the past few days and either it’s me or the lump isn’t as prominent?? It’s still there but not as swollen looking as it was before.
Honestly now that I look, it’s almost like she’s got two lumps, because there’s the upper one, and then just above her vent looks strange and lumpy to me, as well. Looking at the previous photos, it’s noticeable there, too.
I do know her scent glands are kind of enlarged and I think I need to manually express/drain them for her, but I’m not seeing the other lump you’re referring to
Could just be the scent gland issue/a mild case of bulb tail. You could try treating the lump as impaction and see if that has any effect, it definitely isn’t going to hurt anything. I’m not sure if it is less prominent, or if the swollen area is just more diffused now. Perhaps mark the top and bottom of the swollen area with a dot of sharpie to monitor any fluctuations in size?
I’ll have to try that!
I’m mostly just going to keep monitoring her and her condition, I may try offering her a small hopper mouse once she’s had a bit more time to recover, just to see how she does with it.
Otherwise she’s still acting alert and whatnot, so we’ll see.
Best to you both, hopefully she’ll be feeling well enough to feed if you do offer! Sometimes the best thing you can do is give 'em time and see how they do.
So after several more days of monitoring, Mocha’s lump seems to have gone away entirely. She’s still acting normally and everything.
Here’s a YouTube short video of her since I couldn’t get it to upload to the site directly
Oh I am so glad the lump is gone! What a scare though!
It seems to be mostly gone, I can still feel a “bump” there the lump was — but I offered her a hopper mouse tonight, hoping she keeps it down!
So far she’s eaten 2 hopper mice for me, and is passing them through just fine — but the lump seems to keep changing in size. It’s just barely visible in this pic but still there.
Her and her rather gross smelling poop
Unfortunately it seems like the lump has gotten bigger, and she refused food for the first time ever.
She’s never refused food on me except when she’s been gravid and getting ready to lay, so this isn’t a good sign at all.
I’ll keep everyone updated.
Yes please do keep us updated! for her and you Holly!