Scale Sloughing

Changes in your snake’s skin can be an important sign of internal illness.  In this case we have two  15 year old superdwarf reticulated pythons with scale sloughing.  They were housed with excellent husbandry and maintained at a healthy body weight.  

The male sloughed several scales and had some mild sneezing a few months prior but seemed to heal up just fine.  Later the female stopped eating and began sloughing scales as well.  Her scale slough was quite severe.

The rough texture of her scales can be seen here in the picture.

Blood work on the male is normal but on the female shows severely elevated calcium and phosphorus.  We are hoping those changes could be due to reproductive cycling however the Ca:Ph ratio is was too low for that to be normal.  Cultures are positive for Pseudomonas infection on the male leading us to hope the scale sloughing is due to a mild sepsis and will respond to antibiotic therapy.  It is possible the females elevated blood calcium and phosphorus could be due to a kidney infection.  They will receive a course of antibiotics and the recheck blood work to monitor response.  Stay tuned for updates.