Don't know what to do anymore

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Don't know what to do anymore

Postby munnik » Sat May 29, 2010 11:18 am

Hi guys,

Not sure if I shouldbe posting here or in the enclosure section, but from what I've read on this forum my RTB has repiratory tract infection. He is blowing bubbles and when he breaths there is a slight wheeze. He's mouth is not constantly agape though, so I'm hoping it's not too late / I'm going to loose him.

The reason I say I don't know what to do anymore is I have tried everything to raise the temps in the cage (short of putting a 400W panel heater in). My setup is as follows:
Size: (L) 2m x (H) 1m x (W) 0.6m
Opening with glass: 2m x 0.7m.
Warm side: 2 x 25W heat pads + 250W ceramic heat bulb
Substrate: carpet

The temp on the pads is about 35ºC. The temp recorded by the probe 3cm above the floor on the warm side never goes higher than 24-25ºC. The reason I mention the size of the opening which has the glass in is that I strongly suspect that the cage is loosing alot of heat through it. I can't see how a 250W bulb isn't doing the job. Also the cage is in the garage as I don't have space inside the house.Or, I do have space, but not such that my wife will easily agrre to it.

I know this kind of question (RTI) gets asked alot, but I think it can be fixed with medication and a change in cage setup. I just don't know what to do anymore re: cage setup.

Andrew
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Re: Don't know what to do anymore

Postby Gaawie » Sat May 29, 2010 11:27 am

Maybe if you attached Styrofoam to the cage, specifically to the glass? You could use press stick or double sided tape. That should insulate it and hopefully prevent some of the heat being lost out of the glass? I don't think it's too expensive, you should be able to get sheets at a hardware store. I've never tried this myself, but i would imagine that it would work? You might just want to be careful of getting any of the "bits" in the cage.

Hope he gets better soon
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Re: Don't know what to do anymore

Postby Jen » Sat May 29, 2010 11:46 am

Hi Munnik
Let me start out by saying that I don't keep RTB but I have an idea based on other boa species. What is your humidity like? I know that when it comes to Brazilian Rainbow Boas, severe respiratory problems occur with low humidity, rather than temperature problems. You need humidity of 50 - 70% for RTB. Your enclosure is a bit cold - it should be 26 - 29 degrees, but you know this. I think further insulation as suggested above may help as by the sounds of it, those pads and overhead heater should be adequate for a cage that size.

How is he feeding? Any problems or regurgitation? Where does he spend most of his time - on the warm or cool side? Do you have hides on both sides?

Just a few of my thoughts - hopefully one of our 'gurus' can shed further light?!
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Re: Don't know what to do anymore

Postby rolandslf » Sat May 29, 2010 11:51 am

Firstly I need to say that I know virtually nothing about Boas'.

Unless your Boa lays permanently on the heat pad, that 35c temp. is virtually of no consequence. The ambient temperature on the warm side of the enclosure should be in about the 30c temp. range, and the ambient temperature on the cool side of the enclosure should be in that 25c temp. range that you have mentioned. Another factor to consider is the Humidity, which I think should be about the mid to upper 60 range, you need to look at this as well.

The symptoms you describe are definitely an RI, and personally I would get that animal to a competent vet ASAP. In the meanwhile get the ambient temp up to about 32c and the humidity to the upper 70 range, this should help the animal till you can get it to the vet.

As stated, I know very little about Boas', but this is what I would do. I suspect that very soon a Boa Fundi will be on here shouting at me.

As to how to get temperatures and humidity up, I think the Boa enclosure Fundi's will help on this one.
Temporarily until someone suggests something better, get a large water bowl and put it on the warm side of the enclosure, that will up the humidity for sure.

My Dumerils Boas have a 25Lt. water bowl in there enclosure.

I wish you the best, and sincerely hope your Boa recovers soon.
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Re: Don't know what to do anymore

Postby munnik » Sat May 29, 2010 12:00 pm

Hey Roland,

What size is your cage and what do you use for heating.

My cold side is nowhere near 25. In the mornings it's usually in the 16-18 range which I agree is WAY too low. I just can't seem to think that heating a cage can be so expensive because what ever the route, I need to now raise the overall cage, which my CHE doesn't seem to be doing :(
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Re: Don't know what to do anymore

Postby TonyK » Sat May 29, 2010 1:29 pm

The hight of your cage is the cause of your heating problems ,that is why most of the guys on the RTB forums use cages between 30-45cm high.You need to get your snake to the vet as soon as possible.
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Re: Don't know what to do anymore

Postby munnik » Sat May 29, 2010 2:58 pm

@TonyK: I'm all for building cages that are in the best interests of the snake, but unfortunately I live in the Cape. I built this cage in accordance with Cape Nature's spec for a cage.

Any guys in the Cape who have passed inspection with a smaller cage?
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Re: Don't know what to do anymore

Postby TonyK » Sat May 29, 2010 3:22 pm

http://www.redtailboas.com/forum/
Munnik have a look at this great RTB forum.Download the free care guide its full of usefull info.
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Re: Don't know what to do anymore

Postby munnik » Sat May 29, 2010 3:29 pm

Cool. Thanks TonyK.
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Re: Don't know what to do anymore

Postby Hustler » Sun May 30, 2010 12:06 pm

Have you tried putting a heating pad on the side of the cage since height could be the problem? As well as putting a heating pad inside the cage with a tile over it? I don't know much about Cape Nature and if they issues regarding these methods. Goodluck with getting him healthy again.
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Re: Don't know what to do anymore

Postby munnik » Sun May 30, 2010 1:27 pm

I have noticed that the top half of the cage is warm and the lower half is cooler. This would support the theory that my cage is too large in terms of height. According to a RTB site (thanks TonyK) the recommended size for an adult male RTB is 6' x 2' x 2'. That would be +1.8m x 0.6m x 0.6m.

The guys I get my food from have adult RTB's in cages the size mentioned above and they passed Cape Nature's inspection. So I am going to lower the height of the cage. Fortunately I also have a thermostat, so should things heat up too much I can control it.

Thanks for all the help.
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Re: Don't know what to do anymore

Postby rolandslf » Mon May 31, 2010 7:21 am

@ Munnik - My cage dimensions are as follows, 2.4m (L) x 1.2m (H1) x 0.6m (H2) x 0.6m (B).

I have 20w heating pads on either side of the enclosure, at the furthest ends from each other on the floor, with a piece of 12mm shutter board placed over each heating pad. I then have a 0.5m (L) x 0.4m (H) x 0.5m ( B), hidebox on top of each heating pad. On the cool side of the enclosure I have a 10w heating pad on the back wall of the enclosure, and on the warm side a 10w heating pad on the back wall, with a roof mounted infra red heating lamp.

Take note, the warm side of the enclosure has (H1) and the cool side has (H2), I then have a 25lt. water bowl at almost exactly the middle of the enclosure.

I hope this makes sense to you and also that it helps you.

Down here in Durban I do not run lighting or heating at all during the spring, summer and autumn months. During the winter months everything is switched on 24/7.
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Re: Don't know what to do anymore

Postby fredsmith » Mon May 31, 2010 7:32 am

Munnik, sounds like a similar problem to what I've had... although my boa hasn't gotten to the stage where a RI has occured. I took the advice of Froot from another thread and bought a load of "dog blankets" and have draped these over the cage. It's helped tremendously in keeping the cage from dropping temperature.
I also keep my cage in the garage due to my Mrs not allowing "Those animals" in the house... and being based in Joeys, it gets very cold during the dead of winter. The cold side of my cage drops as low as 18'C with the hot side remaining a constant of 31'C. The cage is 2.4 long x 1.2 wide x 1.1 high. I've got a 900x600 heating pad on the one side with 2 150W spots above it and a 150w spot on the cold side.
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Re: Don't know what to do anymore

Postby munnik » Mon May 31, 2010 9:53 am

Well, I'm in the process of lowering the cage to 0.6m

@rolandslf - I have carpet over my pads. The temp gets to about 35*C on the carpet. My water bowl is also in the center of the cage, not sure how many litres though.......... don't think it's more than 10L.

@fredsmith - If you are running 3 x 150W lights, would it not be cheaper to mount a 400W panel heater. I'll definitely try the dog blanket thing. I wish we got 900 x 600mm heat pads down here.
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Re: Don't know what to do anymore

Postby fredsmith » Mon May 31, 2010 12:39 pm

The heat pad comes from CTM and is actually supposed to be used for underfloor heating... They're a bit more pricey than a conventional heat pad, but they come with a guarantee.
I use the combination of lights which are rigged up to their own thermostats. Generally with my lights, they're not all on at the same time, but I'll look into the panel heater idea, thanks.
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