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Do you have a pet snake? Our reptilian friends are very beautiful and interesting, and can make great pets for the right person. While snakes definitely do require specific environments and diets, overall they are not difficult to care for. Just like any other animal, however, they are prone to certain illnesses and diseases, and are susceptible to parasitic infestations. One parasite that can make our scaled friends miserable is the mite. Below, a Carteret County, NC veterinarian discusses mite infestations in snakes.
Mites on snakes are comparable to fleas on dogs. Both are fairly common, and both can transmit bacteria, viruses, and other parasites. Like fleas, mites feed on blood. These bites can not only make your pet very uncomfortable, they can also weaken him, making him more vulnerable to other health issues.
Be sure to inspect your snake regularly, not just for mites, but for signs of other health problems as well. Mites are visible to the eye, though you’ll have to look very closely to see them. They’ll appear to be miniscule black or red dots moving on your pet’s scales, often around the eyes, nostrils, and chin. Sometimes the mites’ feces are visible. These will look like tiny white flakes. If your snake has mites, you may find mites on your hand after handling your serpentine buddy. Infested snakes often soak themselves to try to get rid of mites, so if your snake is spending more time than usual in his water, check him thoroughly.
Mites are very treatable, though it will require some supplies and a bit of elbow grease. You’ll need to get the proper medication and dosages, so contact your vet immediately. Once you have everything you need, you’ll have to soak your snake in the medication to kill the mites. To prevent re-infestation, your snake’s habitat and belongings will need to be thoroughly cleaned and disinfected before he can go back into it. Ask your vet for more specific information.
As the saying says, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. To reduce the risk of mite infestations and other health problems, thoroughly clean and disinfect your pet’s habitat about every two weeks.
Do you know or suspect that your snake has mites? Call us! As your local Morehead City, NC animal hospital, we are always ready to help.