Even the boa constrictor is susceptible to illnesses, accidents and pain. Because of this, routine veterinary care is imperative for keeping your beloved snake fit. Always opt for an exotic vet who focuses specifically on reptile matters.
Common Health Issues
Boa constrictors are often robust in captivity, adjusting easily to the ready-made lifestyle. Despite that, they are not immune to health problems, some of which include external parasites such as mites, disorders of the respiratory tract and inclusion body disease or IBD, the latter which is deadly. Because of the possibility of these types of issues in boa constrictors, it's important to always pay close attention to any potential unusual behaviors or indications of malaise.
Typical Warning Symptoms
Although your boa constrictor won't tell you that he doesn't feel good, it's in your power to be attentive to his actions, especially as they deviate from normal. Some common indications of potential ailments in boa constrictors are lack of appetite, mouth foaming, the emergence of protuberances on the body, throwing up, trouble breathing, problems shedding, extended hiding, weight shifts, and runny and watery fecal matter. If you see any of these symptoms in your boa constrictor -- or anything unusual at all -- it's time to get him to a reptile veterinarian, pronto. If your boa constrictor is sick, only a qualified veterinarian can handle it.
Apart from simply checking for abnormalities and illness, it can be helpful to know the typical indications of good health, too. Healthy snakes pass stools routinely, shed routinely and have strong appetites. The more acquainted you are with all the nuances of your boa constrictor's typical appearance and mannerisms, the quicker you might be able to pinpoint that something is amiss.
Boa constrictors, along with fellow reptiles, often don't make it clear that they don't feel well in the beginning. Things usually have to progress before snakes display signs of discomfort. This is why it's so vital to bring your snake in for regular appointments with the veterinarian -- a minimum of once annually. If your snake indeed turns out to be sick, your vet can determine exactly how to proceed with management of the issue. Vets use a variety of determination methods to diagnose illnesses in snakes, from X-rays to blood work.
- VCA Animal Hospitals: Snake - Constrictor
- Best Friends Veterinary Center: Care of Boas and Pythons
- Claws & Paws Veterinary Hospital: Snake Care
- Bird & Exotic Clinic of Seattle: Ball Pythons, Boa Constrictors, Corn Snakes
- Barrier Animal Care Clinic: Boa Constrictors
- American Animal Hospital Association Healthy Pet: Caring for Your Pet
- VCA Animal Hospitals: Snakes - Owning
- Ryan McVay/Digital Vision/Getty Images