Brendan attended the Australian Veterinary Association (AVA) annual conference in Perth late last month. He presented a talk on geriatric rodent diseases: more about news related to this in our clinic newsletter (subscribe to this on our website front page).
One of the other speakers in the exotics stream was Dr Tim Hyndman from Murdoch university. Tim discovered Sunshine Virus: a paramyxovirus that infects snakes. It is a devastating disease, often killing many animals in a collection. It affects pythons - to date mostly carpet and children python species. The signs seen with affected snakes include neurological and respiratory - abnormal coiling, head and body twisting, wheezing for example.
There has been numerous outbreaks of this virus in Victorian snakes. We diagnosed the first outbreak in Victoria.
What to do if your snake is exhibiting neurological signs? Get it to a veterinarian experienced with treating reptiles ASAP. It may not be a disease like Sunshine virus - but there are other possible diseases that result in these signs. A reptile veterinarian can help determine the problem and whether the illness can be treated.