Are you worried your boa constrictor is sick?
Does your snake friend have foaming, inflamed mouth tissue, and a lack of appetite outside the norm?
Mouth rot is one of the more common illnesses for boa constrictors, especially as they get older.
This is easy to treat and fix in younger snakes, but for older snakes, it’s more alarming. Keeping on top of the signs and knowing the treatments are essential for helping your pet live as long as possible.
As an owner, it’s essential to know how to treat boa constrictor mouth rot.
Treating boa constrictor mouth rot is simple once you’ve identified the problem. You take your pet to the vet and follow their treatment plan. If you catch it early enough, all you do is administer antibiotics. If the case is severe, the vet may need to remove damaged and infected tissue surgically.
Learn more about mouth rot and how to prevent it.
Table of Contents
What Is Mouth Rot?
Mouths of all animals contain bacteria: humans, snakes, reptiles, birds, everyone.
When the bacteria in your mouth are out of control, an infection may occur due to a compromised immune system or other bacteria entering your mouth.
For reptiles, this infection may develop farther into an illness called mouth rot.
Mouth rot is an infection in lizards, snakes, and turtles.
The bacteria runs rampant and attacks the tissue in the mouth.
If left unchecked, the infection or rot may spread into the esophagus and lungs, causing potentially deadly damage to your pet.
Despite the name, it’s not caused by a rot; it’s an infection.
The “rot” name comes from the smell and eventual discoloration and tissue death in the mouth.
Signs Of Mouth Rot
Does your pet have mouth rot?
Fortunately, this disease is easy to identify, as the symptoms are clear-cut.
Watch out for these:
- Loss of appetite
- Dead tissue in the mouth
- Pus/foam coming from the mouth or nose
- Red and inflamed mouth tissue
Of these signs, the most significant indicator is the pus and dead tissue.
When you see these signs, take your boa constrictor to the vet right away.
The earlier treatment begins, the better the prognosis or outcomes.
Early catching of the infection is excellent.
Your boa will recover quickly and live as if nothing had ever happened.
Waiting a little longer still results in good outcomes, but the stress of the disease may shorten their life span a little.
If you don’t take care of it for a while, your boa is in danger.
The vet will need to take drastic measures that will severely shorten their lifespan, and they still may not recover.
When in doubt, go to the vet.
What Causes Mouth Rot In Boa Constrictors?
Essentially, mouth rot is caused by higher levels of bacteria in the mouth.
There are two main reasons for this with boa constrictors and other reptiles.
First, extra bacteria enters their mouth.
The extra bacteria may come from anywhere, but it’s most likely to come from infected/low-quality food and poor substrate conditions in captivity.
If there is mold on the ground or air, it may end up in the snake’s mouth.
Check out what boa constrictors eat.
The other reason is much more common and why older snakes tend to get mouth rot more frequently.
If the boa’s immune system is weakened, the balance of good bacteria in the mouth is thrown off.
The good bacteria are left unchecked and grow.
Once it has enough of a foothold, the bacteria become more aggressive and damaging.
Older boa’s, just like older people, have slower and weaker immune systems.
How To Treat Boa Constrictor Mouth Rot
It’s not advisable to attempt to treat mouth rot on your own.
This is an infection, and it will need medical treatment.
There is a chance the boa may recover without medicine, but the risks far outweigh the costs.
If caught early, treatment is simple.
Your vet will diagnose the mouth rot and prescribe antibiotics.
Your vet determines the treatment’s length, but it will require you to administer the medicine regularly.
Depending on the infection’s spread, the vet may also thoroughly clean the boa’s mouth to remove the visibly infected or dead tissue.
This will slow the further spread and give the antibiotics a chance to work quicker.
If the infection has spread to other areas or is deep in the entire mouth, your vet may need to perform surgery.
They’ll put the snake under and physically cut out as much of the infected and dead tissue as possible.
On top of this, they’ll also need to administer heavy doses of antibiotics.
It’s best if the infection never gets this far as it’s expensive and results in a lengthy and hard recovery for the boa constrictor.
How To Prevent Boa Constrictor Mouth Rot
Preventing mouth rot is simple.
First, keep the food and tank clean.
Buy rodents from reputable dealers and keep them alive and fresh.
Never feed an old rat to a boa constrictor.
The more important prevention tactic is to keep your snake healthy.
Follow the tank requirements for temperature and humidity.
Keep the diet steady and appropriate.
These will keep the snake in good health with a more robust immune system.
It may seem unrelated at first, but incorrect tank temperature is one of the most common mouth rot causes.
Low temps and high temps throw off the body’s immune system allowing the bacteria in the mouth to gain control and infect.
Learn about how to care for your boa constrictor.
Now you know how to treat boa constrictor mouth rot.
It’s not scary and easily prevented.
Mouth rot is an infection caused by abnormally high levels of bacteria in their mouths.
Keep your pet healthy with good food and correct habitat settings.
Watch for signs of illness, especially dead mouth tissue and pus or foam.
Get treatment quickly when you see signs, and your boa will live a long and healthy life.