Respiratory Infection

I seem to have bad luck with RIs in my snakes- I’m guessing it’s from when she escaped that cold night for 8 hours, but I’m not completely sure yet. (doesn’t matter, what does is getting her help!) She won’t let me open her mouth (I’ve been working hard to let me anywhere near her head, and trying to open it up is backtracking) so I can’t see if any foam or bubbles, but nothing outside seems off. What is though, is the loud whistling she’s doing with almost every breath. I heard something a few days after she escaped but I thought it was just the dog- but when we had her out, it was too loud to miss.

I’ve heard some home remedies work, and last time my snake had a RI he passed (But he had a disease as well, the RI was part of it which lead to Nuero) after 2 sets of antibiotics.

So, do home remedies work better than antibiotics, or should I give a shot at a different vet? I’m just worried, and I don’t want to lose another snake

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I definitely think you should take it to a vet who can give it a shot. Play it safe here.

(And…as a continuation from that thread where you fortunately found her.

Obviously this is an unwanted development but have you been able to make the changes so her enclosure is escape proof going forward?


You need to go to a Veterinarian; 8 hours is not enough to cause an RI.


When in doubt take them to the vet. :slight_smile:

They may also be able to tell you if it’s some sort of blockage from a past shed or some particle stuck in a nostril.

They should also be able to swab and culture to confirm an RI and appropriate treatment.

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Well if she’s whistling loudly it could very well be RI if she hasn’t done that before. I’d definitely consult a vet like @thecrawdfather said. Better to be safe than sorry. But what is good is the fact that you caught it early. This is key to treating it fast and effectively

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is she showing any other signs or symptoms other than the whistle sound? crackling or popping when breathing, lethargy, nasal discharge, holding head up, loss of appetite, or excess mucus from mouth?

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Yeah, escape proof haha. 8 clips on top now. My friend who’s a breeder suggested high humidity with 105 temps as hot spot, with warmer areas instead of normal temps. Would it help until the antibiotics, (Friday) or would it hurt worse than do good?

None of those yet. Couldn’t check mouth. But, she’s shedding so she doesn’t like to eat during this time anyways

As for the temp I have no idea…I don’t see how it would help, sounds very strange.

@nathan_e @asura

Also I would say they are much sturdier than you think. If you feel you need to look into the mouth hold her firmly and use a (Sterilized) debit/credit card to slowly wedge their mouth open. They’re never going to “let you” check them.

And good job with the clips.


I know maybe a little hotter will help but humidity wise I thought I’d worsen-

Oh yeah haha, she’s amazing. Super strong, moving her rock hide and heavy water dish with just her front half. I’ll try, but I don’t want to hurt her since she freaks out badly. May leave it up to the vet to open up.

Could misting be the cause? I mist her area when she sheds, and the humidity goes up slightly high, and back down after a while though. Unless a digital hydrometer works better than my zoomed does-

Yeah! Just hope it’s easy to cure. I’d like to know how she got it. Only different thing I did was mist the enclosure since she’s shedding- last time I used damp cloths for her shed. Maybe that’s why?

If you are taking her to the vet and want them to open her mouth this time then that’s fine but long term you gotta get comfortable with stuff like that.

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I’ve got no issue haha, just don’t want her whipping around if I have to do it myself. She let me open a little, no mucus or bubbles- could it be substrate in her nose? Or even shed? She had loose coco fiber bedding that got everywhere, but I changed it today to the regular mulch stuff I use

Finally got her mouth open, took my arms and legs to keep her still. No mucus, bubbles, or even whistling. She did end up in her water bowl though about 10 minutes ago, maybe it was just something stuck and she got it out? Still taking her to the vet though, just in case

Food for the thoughts for next time if you are in doubt RI are not the home remedy type situations, it’s not a cold that eventually goes away but a serious situation that requires proper treatment by a knowledgeable vet. Mucus and bubbles are not present in the early stage so because it’s not there does not always mean that you are in the clear.

Sure home remedies will alleviate symptoms but it is about curing a RI not alleviating symptoms. If you do not address the issue you may feel that the RI is gone while in fact still lingering.

There are different type of RI some viral some bacterial, some RI may also be the sign of something more serious especially if persistent or chronic.

The first step will be to find a qualified vet.

Second have a culture done which will help establish if a RI is indeed present and which antibiotics is best suited (that will depend on the type of RI)

Third the antibiotic should be injectable and treatment should be for a minimum of 30 days.

If the antibiotic is not injectable or if you vet does not do a culture, or prescribe antibiotics just because your vet probably has limited experience with snakes.


My last vet did week long treatments, and didn’t address the anorexia or bruising he had. Thought his freckles were mites at first (He was a banana BP) so I’m not going to her again. Found a great vet farther away, so I’ll see what they say. Hope it’s just something stuck in her nose, which is likely since she moves her rock hide when she had loose coco fiber bedding

Only real thing I can think of is if the rags had mold or mildew??? Sometimes you dont even know it’s their because spores can be microscopic

It isn’t that strange. In your own body when it faces pathogens it immediately cranks the heat up (fever) to eradicate the pathogen. Reptiles have a similar mechanism except they need external heat. Monitors are a great example: they can eat rot and a leisurely bask later they will have destroyed most weak bacteria.

If you try raising the heat be somewhat careful. Temperatures near as low as 95F can cause permanent internal injury pretty quickly. Somewhere near 114F causes burns injuries.

105F for a hot spot can be fine but ball pythons must have a way to cool down and should be monitored at that temp.

Balls are easy: just hold behind their head and tug on their neck flap. A credit card works great, too, and so do silicone spatula/cake icing thingy.


Temp by itself sure. See where you are going with the fever comparison but increased temp and humidity together…specifically when dealing with a RI doesn’t seem like it would help at all.

Also if it did I’m sure I would have heard more about this by now as a home remedy to possible RI. Have to take all factors into account.

To be clear: the thing that is most likely to cure a respiratory infection is treating the respiratory infection with medication. Go to a vet. :slight_smile:

Dry and hot air is not good for respiration. Warm and moist air is. Same for humans, same for ball pythons.

I’d be surprised to hear that people haven’t heard of the at-home treatment of “increase the heat and humidity” as a cure-what-ails-ya for snakes. You’ll also hear of people trying to make at-home nebulizers and pumping disinfectant through them. Neither of which am I endorsing: it was an explanation offered as to why it may help.

To be clear, again, you should go see a vet. :slight_smile:

Scrape other reptile forums. It is extremely common advice. To be clear, for a third time, it is not advice I am endorsing. :slight_smile: