Unexpected herp Death

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Unexpected herp Death

Post  snakefreak on Sun Mar 27, 2011 3:15 pm

Well, the Timor Monitor is not available anymore, as it died yesterday... (I am VERY thankful that it died before someone had bought it though, as I would have felt terrible to have sold an animal to someone only to have it die shortly after).
I got back home in Shawnee on Friday afternoon, and later that evening I was showing some people my herp collection, and when I took the monitor out, I quickly realized that he was not acting himself at all. He could not walk really, and his belly felt extremely bloated. After the people had left I immediately gave my obviously very sick Timor Monitor my full attention. I placed him in a tub of shallow water (thinking I was very possibly dealing with a bad case of impaction), with his head safely out of the water so that he didn't drown. I also placed him under his heat lamp knowing that elevated temps help sick reptiles recover more rapidly. I constantly kept close attention on him, making sure the temps were okay, and that he had not gotten his head into the water. Every now and then he would open his mouth wide and do, what looked to be, gasp for air. He seemed to have difficulty breathing, and he often clamped his mouth very tightly shut and closed his eyes (this made me feel terrible, as it seemed he was in great pain). When I went to bed his condition was about the same, and I took him out of the water to prevent drowning. I left him on a box I had put in his enclosure to elevate him closer to his basking lamp, as he could not hang onto his usual basking branch. The following morning I woke up to find that he had fallen off of the box into the substrate. By now his condition had greatly worsened, and I knew that death was imminent... Now he rarely would open his eyes, and moved even less. His tongue was also beginning to hang out, and soon after he died in my hands. Sad

I then met with Greg Mayberry (my high school Zoology teacher that loves herps) and used his classroom tools to dissect my deceased Timor Monitor to see if we could diagnose what led to its death. Immediately after cutting him open we discovered that Timmy the Timor Monitor was actually a she! Timmy was egg bound, and had 5 very large unfertilized ova inside of her. We believe that the eggs possibly had been putting too much pressure on her internal organs leading to her death. This possible explanation is supported by the effects she had before dying, ie. the bloated midsection, the inactivity, and the gasping for air. Her organs seemed otherwise very healthy upon dissection.

All of this happened very suddenly, and only two days before she had been behaving completely normally. I at least am thankful that she died before I had sold her, and I at least I already had the mindset that I was going to have to let her go anyways (since I was trying to sell her). She was a really cool monitor, and she will be greatly missed.
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Re: Unexpected herp Death

Post  Snakeman on Sun Mar 27, 2011 3:50 pm

Cameron,

I'm really sorry to hear that.
It sounds like there was nothing you could have done to save her.

Egg binding is a cause of death for herps that's difficult to treat.

For what it's worth, if you ever encounter that problem with one of
your snakes, handle her A LOT.
That seems to really help with gravid female snakes, but not so
much so with lizards.

It's for that reason alone, I went through a period where I only
bought male snakes.

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Re: Unexpected herp Death

Post  snakefreak on Sun Mar 27, 2011 3:56 pm

Thanks Larry.
So handling a snake in that position helps? Does this work with both fertilized and unfertilized eggs?
Yeah, I sure can see why it would make you only want to keep male snakes though! Not a fun experience at all.
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Re: Unexpected herp Death

Post  sbender99 on Sun Mar 27, 2011 4:17 pm

That's horrible. Sorry man.

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Re: Unexpected herp Death

Post  Snakeman on Sun Mar 27, 2011 4:31 pm

Yes.
It seems to help whether the eggs are fertile or infertile.
The exercise/movement seems to help the snake pass the eggs easier when it's time.
Very similar to the exercise that's recommended for pregnant women.

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Re: Unexpected herp Death

Post  snakefreak on Sun Mar 27, 2011 5:04 pm

Thanks Scott.
Larry, that makes sense, and I am sure that I will try that with my future adult female snakes when needed.
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Re: Unexpected herp Death

Post  gatsu7 on Sun Mar 27, 2011 5:17 pm

That sucks Cameron. I'm sorry for your loss.

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Re: Unexpected herp Death

Post  Bryan Arens on Sun Mar 27, 2011 5:24 pm

Cameron, I'm really sorry for your loss. I know what it's like, having lost my columbian tegu last year.
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Re: Unexpected herp Death

Post  Zak on Sun Mar 27, 2011 8:03 pm

Cameron sorry to hear about your monitor.
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Re: Unexpected herp Death

Post  tandy on Mon Mar 28, 2011 2:08 pm

Sorry for your loss. At least on the upside you know the cause and aren't wondering about that.

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Re: Unexpected herp Death

Post  snakefreak on Mon Mar 28, 2011 2:26 pm

Thanks for the condolences everybody.
Tandy, yes, it was definitely a learning experience for me! Before that day I didn't think that I would have the strength to cut a dead reptile open like I did, especially one I was partial towards. I don't like blood, and I get light headed and pale when getting a shot at the Doctor's office or when seeing someone else getting a shot! lol I just don't do well around blood normally, but surprisingly dissecting my old pet did not bother me in any way! That's the scientist in me I guess! lol
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