Educational Articles

Reptiles

  • Box turtles can make great pets if cared for properly. With proper diet and housing, captive box turtles usually live up to 20 years of age, but some have been reported to live 30-40 years. Most turtles carry Salmonella asymptomatically, in that they do not show signs of illness. Wash your hands thoroughly with disinfectant soap every time after handling, feeding your reptile, or cleaning its cage items to help minimize risks of contracting salmonellosis. Turtles have protective shells that replace many of the bones that other animals have. The shell is covered with bony plates called scutes. Turtles have strong leg and neck muscles that enable them to retract their limbs and head into their shells when they are disturbed or stressed. Turtles have a renal portal blood system. Unlike mammals that excrete urea, box turtles and other reptiles try to conserve water by excreting uric acid. Turtles have a cloaca, which is the common space inside the hind end of the turtle’s body into which the urinary, gastrointestinal, and reproductive systems all empty. Feces and urine that accumulates in the cloaca is voided externally to the outside through the vent opening, found on the under surface of the tail. Within 48 hours of your purchase or adoption of a new turtle, your new pet should be examined by a veterinarian familiar with reptiles. Like all pets, turtles should be examined at least annually and should have their feces tested for parasites at every examination.

  • Ponazuril is given by mouth and is used on and off label to treat protozoal parasites in a variety of animal species. Side effects are uncommon but may include soft stools. Do not use in pets that are allergic to it. Ponazuril should be used cautiously in pregnant or lactating pets, and dogs with/susceptible to dry eye (keratoconjunctivitis sicca/KCS). If a negative reaction occurs, please call your veterinary office.

  • Prednisone/prednisolone is given by mouth or injection and is used on and off label to treat Addison’s disease, inflammatory conditions, neoplasia (cancer), and immune-mediated diseases. Give this medication as directed by your veterinarian. Common side effects include increased drinking, increased urination, and increased appetite. Do not use in pets that are allergic to it, or pets with systemic fungal infections, viral infections, ulcers, tuberculosis, or Cushing’s disease. If a negative reaction occurs, please call your veterinary office.

  • Telemedicine is the act of practicing medicine from a distance and your appointment will be conducted by a licensed veterinarian. Before your appointment, gather information on your pet’s history and your current concern. Look at a calendar and write down a timeline of your pet’s problems. Be prepared to answer questions that you would normally be asked at an in-person appointment. Write notes to help you remember everything. Most telemedicine appointments involve the use of some type of video chat. Conduct your visit in a quiet area with good lighting and have your pet with you before the call starts. Not all concerns can be addressed through telemedicine. If your veterinarian is unable to arrive at a diagnosis via telemedicine, he or she can help you determine the next step for your pet to ensure that he or she receives optimal care.

  • Having your pet properly prepared for a blood test helps to ensure that the results are as accurate and reliable as possible. Preparation for these two types of tests is slightly different. Your veterinarian will give you specific instructions before your appointment. It is important that you follow these instructions exactly to ensure accurate test results.

  • Abdominal swelling in any reptile is always a concern that needs to be brought to the attention of a veterinarian well versed in reptile medicine. In female reptiles, this swelling often means that the individual has eggs or fetus that are ready to be delivered. When the female cannot deliver the eggs or babies, this is referred to as dystocia. This condition can be life threatening and need attention ASAP.

  • Swellings on or around the joints in reptiles can be an indication of uric acid deposits in the area. This condition is referred to as gout. Gout is often painful and may also affect internal organs. Treatment will require medications and sometimes surgery.

  • While there are many species of pythons and boas, those noted here are among the easiest to keep; however, constrictor snakes, like the very large reticulated python, can be dangerous in the hands of an inexperienced keeper, while others, such as the royal python, can be frustrating because of their long periods of not eating. Therefore, if you are choosing your first pet snake, you may want to go with an easier to keep, relatively smaller snake, such as a rainbow boa.

  • The family of Colubrid snakes comprise over 1,000 different species. These snakes are non-venomous, often make very good pets and come in a variety of colorful patterns.

  • It is key for the health and safety of all snakes that proper housing be planned for the eventual adult size of your pet snake. For their enjoyment, hide boxes and branches are beneficial additions to the caging environment. Proper bedding, lighting and heat sources will differ depending on the species and size of your snake.

Location


376 Scott Swamp Road
Route 6 (Next to Mama Luke's East of Wal*Mart)
Farmington, Connecticut, 06032

Phone: (860) 677-0309
Fax: 860-677-0805
Email: [email protected]

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