Effects of Antibiotics on Breeding Females

Continuing the discussion from Mandibular Abscess in Ball Python:

Moving this to a new topic to keep things separate!

From the previous topic, Butters developed an abscess in her lower jaw, likely from her breaking teeth when she accidentally smacked into the side of her tub going after a rat.
After struggling to find the solution for nearly a year, we finally got down to the bottom of it and her abscess was drained. During this time she endured a lot of medical treatment, including antibiotics and pain medication.

Since she decided to start building follicles, I paired her with my boy Almond (super mystic). She may also have retained sperm from earlier last year, as she locked with another male (butter spinner) — we’ll find out, hopefully!

This thread will be updated as we progress along, as I’d like to see if her treatments will have any adverse affect on the eggs’ fertility (if she lays slugs or not) and then the babies themselves when they hatch out, provided she lays a healthy clutch and the eggs survive through incubation.

That being said, Butters has had her prelay shed now, so she’ll be due to lay on May 14th.
Unrelated but I got the iPhone 11 Pro today so I had fun taking pictures. Butters is looking gorgeous!


@trnreptiles is she still on antibiotics? If not, when was the last time she had antibiotics? And what exactly was she prescribed?


She is not on antibiotics anymore, and hasn’t had any antibiotics put in her since I believe around October of last year.

She was given more than one kind of antibiotic via injection, though I can’t remember them off the top of my head. I’ll have to see if I can find which ones they were and add that to the post for clarification.

If she has not had any antibiotics since October then you have nothing to worry about, they will have been long metabolized out of her system

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I suppose so, but it’s still interesting to see how it all works out. Considering she was developing her follicles not too long after those treatments, anyways.

Yes, but the half-life of most antibiotics is generally a week or less. So by the time the eggs were actually fertilized and the embryo began to develop, which are the stages where the drug might have an impact, would have been well beyond that time frame

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Fair enough. I’ve just heard that antibiotics were bad for breeding females, though I haven’t seen much for information on when it would cause an issue and what kind of issues it could cause.

It is going to depend on the antibiotic. Some antibiotics target the machinery involved in DNA replication or protein synthesis. Agents like these could possibly be detrimental during foetal development because it might impact the rapidly dividing/replicating cells of the foetus.


Anecdotally, I had a female who was on antibiotics while gravid, and all the offspring came out with minor stub tails. I did not see this in her next litter, which was two years later. However, she was a boa constrictor (live-bearer), so that may have had an effect


She laid 7 healthy eggs, no slugs.
Very exciting!


keep us updated! Congrats!


Will do! Thank you!


Poor girl swelled up like a balloon again soon after we removed her from her eggs.
It’s gone down since then but I suspect there’s still an issue with the abscess (maybe it hasn’t been removed completely) and that I’ll likely need to schedule another vet visit for her.

It apparently wasn’t enough to keep her from laying a healthy clutch of eggs but she seems uninterested in food… and I’m not sure if that’s due to her jaw or due to her just laying eggs.
She is very active and seems restless, especially when I open her tub.

Did you wash both her and the tub down? If she can still smell the eggs then the maternal instinct to coil them will stay strong so she will roam looking for them and will be reluctant to feed.

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I did wash her down, my boyfriend was supposed to have swapped her with another female so there wouldn’t be any egg scent in the tub… which I believe he did. Might have to give her a second wash down and double check that she wasn’t put in Ava’s old tub either.