Do I Need a Vet For My Snake?

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Do I Need a Vet For My Snake?

Snakes make wonderful pets, but it can be tricky finding a veterinarian that specialises in these reptiles. As with all animals, snakes can fall ill, and these illnesses can often be life threatening, so finding a vet that will be able to care for your snake properly is important.  Many vets don’t treat reptiles as they differ from other mammals that they have specialised in; although they may treat him for general care, you should conduct research into local veterinarians that may specialise in snake care.

Why Won’t Most Vets Treat Snakes?

Your local vet may treat your snake for general care, but due to snakes’ different physiology from other pet animals, they may not be able to provide specific care, for example assisting a pregnant female snake or helping with infected wounds. They are trickier to treat than your average pet, due to the fact that the vet is less likely to have studied them in depth, or even come across them previously. They are also less common; far more households have a dog or cat than a reptile, let alone a snake. It is more worth a vet’s time to study these common pets rather than uncommon ones.

Finding a vet that is experienced and comfortable dealing with these reptiles and building a relationship over the course of your snake’s life will help guarantee your pet snake is receiving the best possible treatment should they ever fall ill.

We suggest searching for a reptile vet online as well as asking other snake owners on online forums who they recommend. Be prepared to travel, especially if you live in a small or rural town; you’re more likely to find veterinary hospitals with reptile specialists in cities.

Dr Bobby Ortiz handling a corn snake in a veterinary office
Dr Bobby Ortiz handling a corn snake in a veterinary office

Bringing Your Snake To The Vet

If you’ve recently brought home a new snake, the first step is to find a vet that specialises in exotic pets and reptiles to examine him. This visit typically includes weighing your pet, checking for abnormalities like lumps, bumps, external parasites, signs of dehydration or malnutrition, and inspecting the mouth for infection. A microscopic analysis of your snake’s faeces is carried out to inspect for internal parasites. There are no vaccines required for snakes

corn snake

Helping Your Snake At Home

It’s a good idea to make sure there is a first-aid kit near your snake’s enclosure to assist in any minor health problems. You can include in this kit a gentle antibacterial soap, antiseptic, a triple-antibiotic gel, long cotton swabs, quality mite spray and medical tape.

Make sure the snakes’ enclosure is the correct temperature and humidity. Make sure any animal prey you feed them is thoroughly defrosted, and always ensure they have access to fresh, clean water in a dish

Shedding is also a completely normal and healthy process that snakes go through. It occurs between 4 and 12 times a year, depending on your snake’s age. This process can cause stress on your snake, so to help relieve some stress, there are several things you can do, such as:

  • Provide habitat accessories, like smooth rocks, to help your snake rub off its old skin. Ensure there are no sharp edges that could potentially harm your snake.
  • Ensure your snake’s enclosure is humid and make sure there is a shallow dish of water where it can soak itself afterwards.
  • Don’t handle your snake just before or soon after the shedding process. New skin is very delicate, so if you must handle them, make sure to do so carefully.

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