Hi all, I generally have been doing more lurking than writing recently but I just wanted to pose a question to ya’all as I’m sure as being pet owners most if not all of you can relate or may have even had a similar experience.
Husband and I recently purchased a young female hognose (leaving out other details so as not to call anyone out or sound like I’m placing blame). When she arrived (overnight shipping) I unpacked her, as I have many animals in the past. Took the lid off her deli and she comes rocketing out like those old spring snake in the peanut can I’m sure some of our older members remember. I got hold of her and she seemed alright other than being crazy squirmy. And into her set up bin she goes. (I also have additional hognoses in identical setups who are doing and have been doing very well)
There’s a few inches of substrate for digging as well as multiple hides and clutter. Temperature gradient where she can choose to warm up or cool down. Water bowl cleaned and replaced daily with fresh water. Same source and sanitation protocols as all our other snakes and lizards.
I place a pinky mouse (frozen thawed) in a ramekin (smallish bowl) for her every 5 days as I do my other juvenile hoggies. Don’t see her too much and the mouse is always gone within a matter of hours if not by the next morning. Generally just leaving her be to let her get settled in.
Awhile later (about 2 weeks or so at this point) I do a full bedding change and I notice she’s acting odd/spastic while I have her out. Pass it off as general hognose drama. Clean, put everything back together, and back in she goes. (To immediately wiggle off under the substrate).
Well next time this bedding change goes down she’s still acting odd. And I notice her holding her body extremely rigid and she seems to be having uncontrolled twitching in her tail and is swinging her head around oddly and showing signs of corkscrewing.
Try to get ahold of individual who we acquired her from to ask if he’d had any issues with his other snakes acting similarly or he had seen anything like this before. They ask for video and I never hear back after that.
Make a vet appointment. They do X-ray (looks normal) also do a fecal and test for crypto. Everything comes back negative. We discuss checking her blood for viruses/bacteria/other levels of vitamins/what have you but she’s so small the only way they can pull enough blood is a cardiac stick. And being as she’s so small (16 grams) the vet said she didn’t feel completely comfortable doing it. We discussed euthanasia and a necropsy following to check for potential communicable issues but when I told her she had still been eating (though much slower) than my other snakes she said perhaps I should take her home and keep her under quarantine and continue to see if she eats and shows any improvement. (Vet made a mention sometimes trauma that may not be visible has a chance…. Small…. But a chance…. To improve over time).
Take her home. Trade out the bedding for paper towels. She’s still incredibly stiff. Has problems moving about. (She’s very unbalanced) but still has a ridiculous feeding response. She was unable to shed on her own and I had to very carefully assist her.
I’m at the point where as much as I hope she’s going to get better I still believe she can’t be comfortable or happy in the state she’s in. I’ve cried an unbelievable amount of tears over her the past few weeks. My husband is of the mindset that if she’s eating still she can’t be that uncomfortable. Also he wants to give her time.
I’m sure there’s no right or wrong answer, but has anyone else here been in a similar situation or perhaps have input on what would be best for her.
I’d like to give her a fighting chance if I can but I also don’t want to be selfish and keep an unhappy animal in possible pain and misery.
Any input or discussion appreciated. I really just wanted someone else to vent to since I feel so unbelievably lost at the moment. Thanks so much.