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Ball Pythons (continued)

(Python Regius)

Ball Python Snake

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Inclusion Body Disease / Quarantine

Inclusion body disease (IBD) is a virus that affects boas and pythons (boids). It is always fatal in pythons. Unfortunately, the lust to sell has overcome common sense in private breeders as well as pet stores and wholesalers, and an increasing number of boas and pythons are being sold who are infected with this virus.

Always spend a considerable amount of time observing boids before you buy them, especially at pet stores. Even reptile specialty stores have been selling infected stock so buying from such stores is no guarantee that you are buying an uninfected/unexposed snake. Don't buy a boid because you feel sorry for it, because it looks sick and the store isn't providing proper care for it - you may lose every boid you own.

Always observe strict quarantine procedures when bringing in a new boid into your house if you already have other boids. IBD may take several months to manifest itself. Owners have reported their new snakes showing signs as little as one month after acquiring hatchlings to well over one year after acquiring a new boid.

Always have boids who are not acting well (loss of appetite, regurgitating meals, mouthrot, respiratory infection, contorted body positions, stargazing) seen by a reptile vet as soon as possibly after symptoms are noticed. Warn the vet before coming in that it may be IBD so they may take precautions to reduce exposure to other boids who may be in their office at that time.

Remember that it doesn't require snake-to-snake contact to spread the disease. You may unwittingly spread it by handling other snakes without first thoroughly washing your hands. Viruses are airborne - think twice about taking your snakes to places where they will encounter snakes belonging to people who may not be taking proper precautions.

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