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Reptiles/Worried about ball python


QUESTION: Hi, I have a recently turned 1 year old ball python. He was always very healthy, never had any problems. He even went for a well visit a month ago and him and his poo came back fine. I noticed he started going into shed, so I quick fed him because he was already overdue and didn't want to starve him. When the shed came off, I noticed blood in his tank. After investigating I saw it came from his vent area. Next day he had a huge bubble sticking out and he was all swollen and left more blood. I rushed him to the vet, it went back in and I was on my way. The prolapse or whatever it was hasn't came back, but twice since it happened I noticed blood trails in his tank. Both times, it started in his urine. He's acting normal, exactly like himself, but I'm concerned about what is causing this.. Any insight?

ANSWER: Hello Nicole,

Poor guy, a prolapse.  It sounds like he may have been straining to go to the bathroom possibly.  
What are you feeding him, frozen/thawed rats, or mice?
What are your temperatures in the tank & the humidity levels?
It could be caused by a nutritional deficiency, but most likely not.
The fecal did not have worms/parasites then as well?

I hope he is doing better!


---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Hello, he eats f/t fuzzies. His temp on his cool side is normally between 75-80 and the warm side about 90. His humidity when he's not shedding is normally between 30%-50% (I keep a humidifier in my room because I was having a hard time keeping it above 20% since it's winter). Yes his fecal did come back clean just a month ago at his well visit. He hasn't pooped since then so I'm not sure if blood would show up in it or not, but definitely blood in his urine twice. I can't tell if he's doing better :/ I thought he was better after the first time because he seems fine, but since it happened again I know he has to go to the vet. I have been speaking with his Dr. and I do expect an appointment soon, but I would also like some other expert opinions. Thanks so much for your time.

ANSWER: Hello Nicole,

The temperatures are fine then.  I know, it's hard to keep the humidity up in the winter time.
Has he been eating pretty regularly now?
If his fecal came back clean, then it probably is not worms or parasites.  Blood in the urine/urates can indicate renal issues so taking him into the vot for an x-ray or bloodwork.  Maybe he could be having trouble with a kidney stones.  
They can develop kidney troubles & will sometimes excrete a bad or failed kidney.
Let me know how he is doing & what the vet says.


---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Hi Tracie, thank you so much for some of those options it could be. I have been Google-ing like crazy trying to find anything and nothing has matched blood in his urine. He has been eating perfectly, he's always a good eater. His last feed was actually day 1 of his shed, but since his prolapse, the Dr. is having me wait on his next feed. I finally got an appointment today to have him checked out so I will fill you in.

Hello Nicole,

I think that is a good idea to hold off on feeding him until you can get some diagnostic tests done.
Hopefully, it will not be anything serious but I am leaning towards renal issues, or a possible kidney stone, etc which should be fairly easy to take care of.  

How is his demeanor?  I hope he is doing well today.
Let me know how things are coming along.



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Tracie Kretzschmar


I can answer questions pertaining to health, UVB specifics, overall husbandry care & supplementation, analysis of blood test results, and behavioral problems & handling. I can answer questions pertaining to bearded dragons, leopard geckos, iguanas, uromastyx & ball pythons. I can answer adeno virus related questions in bearded dragons, & then specifically about the testing methods as well. I am beginning an Pogona Adeno Testing Society in 2008 which will help to begin to start some standardization within the bearded dragon colonies of the breeders who choose to test.


I have been working with bearded dragons for over 5 years now, as well as leopard geckos, too. I am currently doing rescues, as well. I hope to be able to educate people prior to them purchasing an exotic pet in order to avoid any health crisis with them.

I have a master's degree in sports medicine & physiology, & 1 year of vet tech schooling, & am currently working on a reptile certification through the Pet Industry Joint Advisory Council.

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