Inclusion Body Disease (IBD)


  • Loss of appetite
  • Chronic regurgitation
  • Extreme weight loss
  • Head tremors
  • Clogged nostrils
  • Chronic pneumonia
  • Abnormal shedding
  • Inability to strike and/or constrict
  • Neurological abnormality (stargazing, corkscrewing, rolling onto the back, etc.)
  • Undifferentiated skin sarcoma


  • Direct contact between infected and healthy snakes
  • Poor hygiene in breeder facilities and pet stores
  • May be passed between snakes via mites


Inclusion Body Disease is deadly in pythons, and is often the same for baby and juvenile boas. The disease progresses more slowly in adults. However IBD is not always fatal in boas; in fact, a boa can carry the disease while outwardly appearing to be healthy.

That being said, after you have purchased your new boa, get a blood test for IBD from your veterinarian — this is especially important if you have other boas or pythons in your collection. You will also need to quarantine it in a bare-bones enclosure with paper towels for at least 3-6 months for observation. It sounds unpleasant, but it’s much better than accidentally introducing a devastating virus to your collection.

If purchasing from a breeder, you may wish to ask for a copy of the boa’s blood test results as proof of health before making the transaction.


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