Hi there! I recently adopted a 16+ year old milksnake with cataracts and obvious arthritis (I can feel him creaking when he moves in my hands!)
I was curious if anyone with older snakes does anything specific to help with joints and such? If he was a dog or cat, I would put him on a joint supplement, but those don’t seem to exist for our scaly friends. Thanks for any advice! Pic because he is a handsome older gentleman.
Awwwwwww. What a kind thing you did! Tbh I have not heard of anything you can give an older snake for joint pain/arthritis. That’s an interesting question for someone more experienced/knowledgeable than me.
The very best to you @laurakuzmeski and your distinguished gentleman! Hopefully you will get some advice!
Aw, he’s so cute! I don’t know about supplements, but I found that older colubrids usually do better with smaller meals.
That is very good to know! Thank you
If you can find it, Mader’s Reptile and Amphibian Medicine and Surgery has a short section on geriatric reptiles. They do mention supplementing a komodo dragon with glucosamine.
Oh, that’s amazing!! Thank you!
I wonder if glucosamine would have to be an injectable for a snake? That is a great article but I am too lazy to read the “fine” print. Lol!
Yeah, I’m not sure, I was wondering that too. If you could get it in liquid form, it could be injected into the food.
Yep that makes more sense. I think it would work either way. @laurakuzmeski Since @solarserpents brought up this article, you could also check with your vet to see if the glucosamine would be an option for your sweet old gentleman………
I am planning on him seeing a vet, but it takes a while to get into a reptile vet and I wanted to see if anyone with experience had any suggestions for me to start in the meantime I don’t even think I know anyone who has had a snake this old!
He is getting up in years that’s for sure! I really don’t think anything can be done except under the guidance of a reptile vet. Until then maybe you should not handle him too awfully much and maybe just let him chill out until he is seen by the vet. Especially if you think he might be in some discomfort……
I would love to know what the vet says. My oldest boy is ‘over the hill’ but not quite to the senior citizen point.
Cosequin capsules are available over the counter for dogs and cats for joints. I wonder if you can ask the vet if you can try something like that to dust the back end of his meals. I would just worry they can become adverse if they taste it.
Otherwise the mentioned injectable glucosamine in a meal would probably be best.
I feel like a snake of that size just wouldn’t handle a regular injection for something as well as a larger snake could. So the food supplements may be the way to go.
I would personally just add glucosamine, chondroitin, MSM, deer velvet antler, green lip mussel, and/or omega 3 supplements to the diet of the prey item. (There are a couple more but I can’t recall off the top of my head.) Be careful not to grossly overdose, I know it can be an issue w/omega 3. I add glucosamine into the mix I use to make food for my geckos of all ages (I have 6 20 year old geckos right now.)
How do you know how much to use?
For how much…That’s why a vet consult would be best.
It’s easy to OD since the metabolism is so different. The downside is that exotics can be difficult to get a good dietician for advice. Heck, even getting a doggie dietician as a consult for food allergies and post op gallbladder removal diet took a bit…
and @armiyana A reptile vet would have to calculate the dose of whatever according to the weight of the snake. And that can be tedious for a lay person. At least for me anyway……
I’ve never heard anything about supplements for reptiles for arthritis, especially for snakes. I have a sand boa who is probably around 11 or 12 right now, so while she’s not geriatric yet and hasn’t exhibited any age-related issues, it could be something I’ll be dealing with in the not-too-distant future. I’m definitely interested about any info on that front (especially the best ways to administer supplements like glucosamine).
When I asked, my (boarded) reptile vet in the Pacific Northwest (USA) said that he recommends using similar supplements for reptiles as for mammals, with primary emphasis on glucosamine. I further asked specifically what/how to use & how to give it, talking about leopard geckos specifically, and he thought putting it in the food would be fine. He didn’t give dosage instructions. I ~think~ I remember him mentioning using dasuquin, but I’m not certain. There are veterinary exotics drug formularies out there that might have that info. I’m having a painful health issue & can’t dig through my books, I’m sorry! The only one I would be quite concerned about in terms of overdose would be the omega-3.
Thank you!! I have chronic pain/health issues, too. I absolutely understand. I appreciate your response!
And @mblaney add me to the list. I have an autoimmune disorder, nerve damage and neuropathy……
I can remember my vet resorting to a thick calculation? book when figuring meds dosages for little critters such as birds, mice, and reptiles etc……. We would use a pestle and mortar ? method to grind up pills and such and then add a bit of pina colada to make a liquid for oral meds. And then of course there were the injectables…….