Respiratory Infection (RI)

Symptoms

  • lethargy
  • weight loss
  • decreased appetite
  • open-mouth breathing
  • bubbling mucus in nostril/mouth
  • clicking/wheezing sound when breathing

Cause

  • cold temperatures
  • humidity too high
  • stress
  • starvation
  • poor hygiene

Treatment

Respiratory infections happen when bacteria infect the snake’s lungs. Check to make sure your temperatures, humidity, and heat gradient are correct. If you don’t clean your snake’s enclosure very often, step it up. Then take your snake to the exotic vet. They will prescribe antibiotic injections to clear up the infection.


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Respiratory Infection (RI)

An upper respiratory infection, or RI/URI, is basically reptile pneumonia caused by a bacterial infection in the lungs.

Symptoms

  • Audible exhalation (wheezing/clicking)
  • Breathing with head raised
  • Bubbly/stringy mucus in mouth
  • Lethargy
  • Loss of appetite
  • Open-mouth breathing
  • Runny nose
  • Scabbed lips
  • Swollen/bloated body
  • Weepy eyes
  • Weight loss

Cause

  • Cool temperatures
  • Humidity too high/low
  • No thermal gradient
  • Prolonged stress

Treatment

Respiratory infections require veterinarian intervention and antibiotics to resolve.

First, make an appointment with a certified reptile vet. Then re-evaluate your day and night temperatures as well as humidity to make sure husbandry is correct. Be honest and transparent with your veterinarian about the numbers and your exact husbandry practices, as this will help them diagnose and cure your pet.

You can also increase nighttime temperatures to 80-85°F (27-29°C) with a ceramic heat emitter or even a space heater placed in the same room. Warmer temperatures help antibiotics be more effective

Antibiotics work by killing the bad bacteria in your skink’s lungs, but as a side effect of using oral meds they also tend to kill the good bacteria in your skink’s gut. This can result in decreased appetite and weight loss. Decrease the risk of complications from antibiotics with a probiotic like NutriBAC df or ProBio+ mixed with an appropriate quantity of quality dog food.


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Respiratory Infection (RI)

Symptoms

  • Foamy saliva
  • Bubbles/mucus around the mouth
  • Runny discharge from the nostrils
  • Popping/crackling sounds while breathing
  • Gasping
  • Swollen forehead and/or eyes
  • “Snoring” while asleep

Cause

  • Low temperatures
  • Humidity too low/high
  • Poor ventilation

Treatment

Do not attempt to treat a respiratory infection by yourself. Make an appointment with a certified reptile veterinarian, who will prescribe an antibiotic and may require a culture to determine the exact cause if the initial antibiotic doesn’t work.

Meanwhile, check your enclosure’s temperatures and humidity with digital thermometers and hygrometers. Analog (stick-on) devices often provide wildly inaccurate readings. If your chameleon is in a glass enclosure, switching to a mesh enclosure will help prevent the symptoms from returning.


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