Respiratory Infection

Boa constrictor respiratory infection - x ray

Contributed by Marybeth Spencer. Note the cloudiness of the lungs (circled).


  • Bubbly/stringy saliva
  • Loss of appetite
  • Lethargy (reduced activity)
  • Rattling/clicking/whistling noise when breathing


  • Cool temperatures
  • Incorrect humidity
  • Poor hygiene
  • Mouth rot


If you suspect that you have a corn snake respiratory infection (RI) on your hands, make sure that the enclosure is warm enough and has the right humidity levels. Then make an appointment with a certified reptile veterinarian, who will likely prescribe an antibiotic. Administering an appropriate amount (dosed by snake weight) of probiotic paste can help ease the antibiotic’s side effects.

DO NOT ATTEMPT TO TREAT THE BOA ON YOUR OWN — this can make the illness worse and/or kill your snake. The young boa pictured above dropped from 800g to 363g in one year due to an untreated RI.

Other boa health topics: