Rest In Peace, Ziyah

**First - A trigger warning: death is spoken about here. There are no grisly details, I give as much information as I can without being graphic. There are pictures, however, NONE of them are of a corpse. She was very much alive in the photos.
To be extra clear, these photos are of Ziyah when I got her and during her up times. None of these photos show a snake during her dying moments. **

A few of you might remember me. Back in September I was surprised with a Limburg Snow Rosy Boa. I made a post about her, asked questions, was generally excited.

Sadly, she has passed. She went at 12:43 am today. Cause so far is unknown. The vet highly suspects IBD but the only symptom of IBD she has shown was a neurological tremor. No stargazing or anything. Back in October, my girl decided she wanted to brumate. After coming up with a solution to meeting her wintery needs, she handled the brumation process poorly and after a really bad scare, I pulled her out of it. She went straight to the vet and after explaining everything, the vet stated I had done nothing wrong, but that she was probably hiding an illness and that the brumation process just exacerbated it. She was showing obvious signs of a respiratory infection, injections started. For a moment we were doing okay. She gained back all the weight she had lost, plus a gram. She had a successful shed…

The RI didn’t go away. Injections continued, she still wasn’t eating, so we put her on a formula and I hand fed her. She had good days where it seemed she was really pulling through, showing no symptoms, got some color back in her eyes, tongue flicking away… then the RI would double down, her tremors would happen more frequently.

The day before her death, the tremors were lasting longer and appearing more frequently. Her bowels looked so distended. I knew she wasn’t going to make it. She was displaying all signs of dying. For those of you who have been around animals (farm life, shelter technicians, vets, etc) you know what I mean. Last night, before bed I got her out to check on her one more time. The smell hit first. She smelled dead… But she was still breathing. I stayed up with her all night.

During that time, my vet managed to find an IBD test that was a mouth swab and didn’t require taking blood from a neonate’s heart. She said at first that they would not need to send out for the results. Well, that was incorrect… Then she said we should hopefully get them by Friday (test was taken in a Tuesday). That also did not happen. It’s been a week since the swab and the results don’t appear to be coming any time soon. During the test I had asked my vet if it’s not IBD (again, Ziyah was not displaying any typical IBD symptoms) then what else could it be. Her answer was that she had no idea and she would have to crack open the books and consult with other doctors. I personally have my own theory. But if not IBD, then I decided a necropsy would probably be best. For my sake and for the vet’s sake. Maybe even the snake community’s sake.

The issue is, Ziyah has passed. We have no answer on her IBD test. It was requested that I keep her body in the fridge so she wouldn’t have to thaw if/when it comes time to the necropsy. I’m sad.

I had my sweet baby girl for 4 months. Three of those months she was sick. She tried very hard and I am proud of her. I miss her so much already. I loved her and I hope she is resting peacefully now.

Love your snakes, folks. Hug them close if you can. They are precious.


Poor girl…Sorry for the loss.

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I’m heartbroken for you. Many kudos to you for doing everything you could to save her. She was a beautiful snake! I know the subject may be painful, but if it is not too traumatic, an update with any final conclusions would be educational.


Yeah, I think that’ll be fine.

I can tell you right now they refuse to do a necropsy. They told me it’s too late for a brain tissue sample and the vet is SO SURE it’s IBD. But yeah, as soon as I know anything…

And thank you both for the sentiments.


I’m so sorry to hear about your loss, my :heart: goes out to you. She was a beautiful girl and you have some great pictures to honor her with. You did everything and beyond to help her and stuck by her to the very end.


Thank you. I’m completely heartbroken over it… I’m glad I took so many pictures of her, but this whole thing just sucks. If it is IBD I have to throw away her favorite spiderwood tree. I was told there’s no sanitizing anything wood since it’s porous.

My condolences :bouquet:

However if you do want to hang onto her favorite wood branch, it is possible to sanitize by baking the branch in the oven.

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Thank you.

Is it? I was told absolutely not… And I am aware of baking wood… I just figured because of IBD it was just off the table.

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I personally would not risk it to reuse if you do find out IBD is at fault. But absolutely possible to sanitize wood in general. Hopefully you get some conclusive results.

Yeah… Doesn’t make much sense to keep a sentimental item that can kill any future snake. If I decide to get one.






Edit: I said a curse word and I can’t remember if that’s against the rules.


Only thing I could think is a respiratory infection or parasites then. I don’t know if you can find out about a respiratory infection from a necropsy, but parasites should be able to be found.

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She absolutely had a respiratory infection. That’s what her injections were for. However, it was a secondary infection (believed to be, anyway) and she still had neurological tremors.

The only parasites I can speak to her not having are mites. If she had anything internal, then obviously I wouldn’t know. I personally think she had a different virus.

The issue is, they refused to do a necropsy when she died. It’s been three days now.

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Not to go too far down the reptarenavirus dark hole, but there are some variations on testing quality out there.

Depending on where your lab work was done, and how the samples were sent can make a surprising difference.

I learned all about this virus a little over a year ago.

I had a positive animal come back negative from one lab, and be positive from the University of Florida.
(Would have to look to make sure that’s the right place. It was somewhere in FL for sure.)

They seem to be the gold standard for Reptarenavirus testing for what it’s worth.

I’m sure this info didn’t make you feel any better. lol

Sorry, I truly know how frustrating, and upsetting this can be.

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It did not, however, if you can for sure tell me where, I will make sure to request it if the vet decides she wants to do a necropsy.

I do find this information very interesting though and if I wasn’t so emotionally charged right now, would love to hear more about it and what you went through, should you feel like sharing.

I checked, and it was the University of Florida.
They are pretty good for the PCR testing of reptarenavirus, but a Necropsy is a different story.

I did have tissues from adults taken and shipped off, (when dealing with adult BI’s, it can get expensive quick) so doing tissues on them was easiest.
This was done on animals that were euthanized after receiving positive results.
I want to say that was done on the opposite side of the country out in CA…

Not sure on how good they are, other than that is who my vet trusted.

Other than that, I don’t have much to tell, other than I think I know less now about IBD then I did before unfortunately.

There are a lot of varying beliefs on this disease, and it’s severity, and I’m still trying to figure out where I fit in all of it.

You mentioned that it had been 3 days. Unfortunately, that’s past the window where most vets will perform a necropsy on companion animals, especially when it comes to any testing, and doubly so when it comes to testing for a virus. Four days (since it’s the evening in the USA & it will be 4 days tomorrow) would be far too long for almost anything aside from the gross necropsy itself (usually you send in tissue samples for histopathology). A gross necropsy might yield some information (e.g., parasites, possibly major intussusception, etc.), but the odds of a definitive answer seem low to me. I just thought you might want to know that, if your vet had not told you. (I’m a dog/cat veterinarian.)

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I’m well aware of the time limit. On the day she died I said I wanted one, but it had been over 6 hours from her death and the vet was still hung up on IBD. She was positive that’s what Ziyah had, even though I had explained to her that she wasn’t showing any real symptoms. For these reasons she said no.

Well, since Ziyah does not have IBD, now she’s saying she can and wants to do to the necropsy. She says it’s still possible, despite the time that’s passed.

I don’t have a lot a faith in this vet any more. I’m very angry that she got so hung up on one diagnosis and wouldn’t do any research on anything else until her test came back (no matter the state of the snake). But I want this necropsy. If there’s a slight chance they can tell me anything then I think it will be worth it. I’m particularly interested in her lungs.

@t-a Thank you for the information. I tried asking about where the samples will be going and whatnot, but they said they didn’t know, it’s up to the vet. They didn’t really answer if I could request a place, but it sounded like no.

Well, to give your doctor a break, most people might be shocked to learn that possibly 80% of boas that test positive for the virus, are without symptoms.
Just another crazy fact.
Those that do exhibit symptoms, those are the neuro, and RI issues usually attributed with it.

After rereading my posts, I want to say that I’m not trying to insist your snake in fact had IBD.
I just wanted to shine some light on the topic, and show how little everyone, including a lot of the medical field still knows about this disease.

By saying that, I’m lumping myself right in there, and say I still no nothing about IBD, it just seems like what people might have read in a chapter in a book, doesn’t come close to covering the entire topic.

I hope what ever your vet does find gives your mind peace!