Keeping people safe while caring for pets during the COVID-19 outbreak
To all our valuable clients and their pets, we at the Veterinary Center will continue to stay open to care for ill pets during this difficult time, but to ensure the health and safety of you, your pets, and our staff, we are implementing some new protocols:
We will take appointments, as usual; however, pet owners will not be allowed in the building. Pets will be handed off in their carriers to our staff in the parking lot outside the Center. Staff members will carefully remove pets from their carriers inside the building and then return carriers to pet owners in the parking lot. No other personal objects (toys, blankets, etc.) will be taken into the building.
Pet owners will be asked to provide detailed accounts on the phone to the staff about what is going on with their pets. Owners are welcome to listen on their phones to the appointment in progress as it goes on in the exam room and should feel free to ask questions as the doctor comes up with recommended plans for treatment.
Once the staff and the pet owner have agreed on a treatment plan for a pet, owners will be asked to sign permission for treatment online and can either wait in their cars in the parking lot until their pet’s care is complete, or they can return later to the Center at a time they work out with the staff to pick up their pets.
All payment for services will be due at the time of treatment, as usual, and will be processed over the phone.
We are sorry if these new policies inconvenience our clients in any way, but in order to keep our staff healthy so that we may be there to treat your pets, we feel that these steps are necessary. We cannot compromise on these new policies and risk the health of our staff. Please be patient during these trying times so that we can all get through this safely and not compromise our health or the health of our beloved pets.
Most snakes tend to be shy, solitary creatures. Depending on species, snakes may be more active during the day or at night. Some species are ground dwellers, while others prefer to live in trees. Snakes investigate their surroundings through a complex system of sensory organs. They use their tongues to sense smell and subtle air changes.
All snakes are great escape artists. Their enclosures should have smooth walls (such as aquariums, 20 gallon capacity or greater) and a lid with a secure locking mechanism or clips to prevent escape. Enclosures should be at least as long as the snake is and half as wide as the snake is long.
Whether the snake is fossoreal (spends most of its time under its bedding) or arboreal (spends most of the time in trees) dictates the enclosure height. Climbers need taller enclosures.
The temperature and humidity for each species varies, but most snakes should not be housed at temperatures lower the mid-70s and not higher than about 90°F with humidity levels between 50 and 70%. Heat sources can be over-the-tank heat bulbs or under-the-tank heat pads. Heat rocks are not recommended, as they often cause burns.
There should be a temperature gradient in the enclosure with one end of the tank as the cool end and the other as the warm end. Thermometers should be placed at each end.
As snakes’ body temperatures are determined by their environmental temperatures, establishing a range in tank temperature allows the snake to effectively regulate its metabolism and digestion. An ultraviolet light (shining wavelengths in the ultraviolet B range) should be provided to help the snake make vitamin D essential to calcium and phosphorus balance.
Ideal cage bedding is newspaper or other commercially available recycled paper product or reptile carpet (like Astroturf). Bedding should be several inches thick to enable burrowing and should be kept clean and dry.
Wood shavings, bark, chips, and soil are not recommended, as they are dusty, indigestible, and may contain parasites. Snakes should be provided with a hide box, a shallow water pan for bathing, and rocks (large enough to not be swallowed) for rubbing when shedding their skin.
All snakes are carnivores (meat eaters). Depending on species, their diet may include rodents, birds, amphibians, fish, invertebrates, and even other snakes. Most domestically-kept snakes thrive on rodent (mice, rats) prey.
Young snakes may initially only accept live food but should introduced to and fed only killed (or, at minimum, stunned) prey, as live prey may injure or kill a snake in the process of feeding. Most snakes fewer than 3 feet long should be fed once weekly. Larger snakes may only accept food every few weeks.
All snakes should be examined initially after purchase and then annually by an exotic animal veterinarian. Dietary and environmental requirements should be reviewed. Snakes should receive a complete physical examination, including a thorough check of mouth, scales and skin, heart, and lung.
All snakes also should be de-wormed, as most snakes carry gastrointestinal parasites. Proper preventative medicine can help avoid the development of disease and ensure the lifelong health of your snake.