Ulcerative stomatitis

In the past, when many garter snakes were caught in the wild and imported to other countries, ulcerative stomatitis (Stomatitis ulcerosa) appeared much more often than nowadays. However, you can not preclude it and if you have to deal with it you will not be happy.

Stomatitis a condition causing  inflammation of the oral mucous membranes. Ulcerosa means that there is an ulceration.

The first symptoms are swelling of the oral mucous membranes – the jaws cannot be closed completely.  The oral mucous membranes look red and swollen is stead of pinkish. Most of the time the snake will refuse to eat and rub its mouth along something because of  the irritation in the mouth.

A few days later  forming pus sores emerge which you can recognize by the cream/yellowish, cheesy substance (pus) that appears around the teeth. This sometimes leads to teeth that fall out and small holes in the gums. The mucus production is increased and eventually results in difficulties with breathing.

Stomatitis ulcerosa at a Boa constrictor...
Stomatitis ulcerosa at a Boa constrictor…

Since Stomatitis colitis is a bacterial infection it spreads rapidly to the oesophagus. This can result in a pneumonia because the bacteria also go in the lunges. Often you are dealing the following bacteris: Pseudomonas fluorescens Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Serratia marcescens, Pasteurella haemolytica, Aeromonas species, etc. A fungus (Candida albicans) can also be the cause of the stomatitis but this is much less common.
When these symptoms manifest themselves you immediately contact a veterinarian. He/she has to make ​​an antibiogram. This is an overview of the sensitivity to different antibacterial agents. Most bacteria that cause the stomatitis are less sensitive for the most common antibiotics, so a targeted policy has to be determined by the laboratory and vet.

Main reasons why this disease occurs are malnourished, poor living conditions and poor hygiene. It does not always occur in the beak, but sometimes elsewhere in the body.

Untreated, this condition leads inevitably to death!

Picture comes from this site…

The treatment…

At the first signs you put the sick animal immediately in a quarantine terrarium. You clean this terrarium every day and you disinfect it every 2nd or 3th day with, for example Hibicet.hibicet
The terrarium where the diseased animal was living in also has to be meticulous cleaned and disinfected.

Because the animal has probably not eaten for a while, it is important that you get it to eat again and when there are signs of dehydration, that it starts to drink again. Try adding extra vitamins/minerals etc. to the food in support of the condition of the snake.

Meanwhile, of course, the vet has been contacted and informed.

Because it is to tricky to translate the treatment from Dutch to English (a wrong translation does not help your snake) I can only say: go to a vet that knows about reptiles-treatment!


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