Hi, our Florida Kingsnake has had a small lump on the side of her neck for a couple of years, and recently it has enlarged and is quite soft, like a fluid-filled blister. I does not seem to be related to an injury. She gets frozen thawed mice, so I doubt it's an abcess.

I would like to pierce it with a sterilized needle and put hydrogen peroxide on it. Any advice?
Thanks,
Jeannie
Hi, our Florida Kingsnake has had a small lump on the side of her neck for a couple of years, ... an abcess. I would like to pierce it with a sterilized needle and put hydrogen peroxide on it. Any advice?

Other than to take your pet snake to a qualified veteranarian?

None.

Pat K. ('someplace.net' is comcast)
After enlightenment, the laundry.
Hi, our Florida Kingsnake has had a small lump on the side of her neck for a couple of years, ... does not seem to be related to an injury. She gets frozen thawed mice, so I doubt it's an abcess.

It can still be an abscess. Some critters get them in spite of perfect husbandry and a careful food supply. I went through several months of dealing with abscesses on one of my snakes, and my vet remarked that he regularly saw snakes that were well cared for who still managed to develop them; there is some amount of stress caused by captivity and lack of activity and sometimes this is how it is expressed. He's also had abscesses in his own snakes that he thinks were caused by a tiny* impairment in skin integrity, maybe just a little scrape, and then a *tiny piece of substrate got in there, and a problem developed over many months.
I would like to pierce it with a sterilized needle and put hydrogen peroxide on it. Any advice?

Don't do either of those things. If it's an abscess, the treatment is to open it and thoroughly clean it, and possibly treat with antibiotics, but a needle and h2o2 isn't the way to go.

I have treated several cysts by myself, Jeannie, but first I took the critter to the vet and had a definitive diagnosis and he showed me the difference in treatment between reptile and mammalian abscesses before I got adventurous. He was very supportive of me doing treatments at home, since otherwise costs could easily have run into the four digits and he was more concerned that the critter get good supervised treatment than for it to turn into a worse problem for me and the snake.
My snake's abscess was present for an extended period of time before it started acting up, several months at least. Once it got bad, though, it became very difficult to treat - the slow metabolism and sicky behaviour depress the immune system further, so once it gets out of hand you can end up with a stubborn problem.
Anyway, if the abscess is "pointing", then it just needs to be slit open with a sharp scalpel (cutting in between the line of the scales), the pus removed and the wound thoroughly cleaned. Snake pus is pretty solid (sort of like rabbit pus, but more so - think toothpaste), so a needle *** won't open the abscess up enough for it to be completely extracted. Cleaning out can be done just with betadine, some topical antibiotic can be applied and the snake should be kept on paper towels until things are completely healed. Twice daily dilute betadine bath soaks kept the wound clean and helped to dry things up. Subcutaneous injections of antibiotic may be necessary, and it's important to keep the snake warm and eating during recovery, getting and keeping their metabolism going is the key to healing.
Even if you don't have a dedicated reptile vet in the area, your regular vet may well be up for this, the principle's exactly the same as for mammals.
Abcesses that are deeper than just under the skin are much more difficult to treat, and sometimes what appears to be a surface problem can extend quite deeply, this is the main reason why you need to have a vet evaluate the situation.
My little guy's problem took half a dozen drainages/debridements, and subcutaneous antibiotics and a long time to heal, but he managed just fine over the process. He was much easier to handle than I expected. I had him into the vet's twice, and talked to him a couple more times. The wounds looked absolutely dreadful, but he did recover and the scar gets better with every shed. I had to soak him during shed to help him get the skin off in that area, though.
Get to your vet if possible, and best of luck, Jeannie.

nj"abscess queen"m

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