Testing For Viruses in Snakes

If this can be merged with another existing topic please do so! I know there’s related threads but this is more me looking for recommendations.

Since I just brought home a new boa, and I don’t know anything about her origins, I figured now would be a good time to get her tested and possibly some of my other snakes tested for viruses/disease as well.

I’m mainly looking to see what would be the most cost effective options to test multiple animals and what I should test for, like IBD, nidovirus, etc. and if I should just choose a few individuals or how I should go about it since I have around 10 different species of snake.

It really isn’t fiscally responsible or feasible for me to test every single snake, which is why I’m asking for advice. Thanks!

Probably vetdna.com is going to be the most cost effective option to test multiple viruses.

@hare_hollow_farm Would probably be the best person to ask about testing.


@ballornothing is correct vetdna.com provides the best bang for your buck when doing multiple species testing regimes. If you want to sort animals by risk and start from the most high risk to the least high risk that can reduce your initial cost outlay.
For example, boas vertically transmit arena so unless you’re buying from tested adults, I would consider all age classes of mostly equal risk while still unpaired. But the riskiest among them would still be mature animals who have been paired multiple times as they’ve had many opportunities to pick up arena from another snake they were paired with along with the risk of vertical transmission.
We have no evidence of vertical transmission for nido or crypto so if those are the diseases of concern for that particular species, and that animal was very young when you bought them and you got them from a low cross contamination risk source you could push back their tests and prioritize older more at risk animals.
All bets are off though if you purchased your animals from a wholesaler or pet store where a large number of animals come in and out and they have unknown biosecurity standards.
That being said doing the full boid panel $60 which is for nido, arena, and parmyxovirus is cheaper than doing all three tests independently, $25 each.
What’s most important and very cost effective is to immediately implement the highest between animal sanitation possible until you know the status of your animals. Sanitize hands, use gloves, and disinfect tubs and other tools between animals so that if someone does indeed have something of concern, it’s not actively spreading while you sort out the testing side of things.


I haven’t bought form any of the giant wholesalers that are known for issues, but I did buy two of my snakes from breeders who also do wholesale type business that I’m a bit iffy on based on the conditions I’ve seen some of their animals in.

One is a western hognose and the other a ball python.

My guess would be that I would need to test those two first to hopefully clear them — though I honestly haven’t heard much about diseases in colubrids.

Crypto is the most active issue in the current captive hognose population in my experience. Which you would need to take your swab from the stool. But there’s definitely lots of things that can afflict a hognose. You just have to take things in steps and try to manage risks in the way you’re comfortable. So crypto for hogs and nido for pythons to start can be a easily digestible first step.