Friday, 17 June 2016

The Second Battle of the Grotesque Bulge

When we last left our fearless hero, Sir Remic of Littlebrain, he'd returned from the vet's after surgery to have his Bulge removed, and was on strict instructions to behave and not tear open his stitches. That was about a month ago. He's spent that time living on a bed of newspaper with a cereal box for a hide, having antibiotic injections, and being watched like a hawk to see if he poops normally. I never thought I'd be so invested in snake poop, but here we are. The Bulge was attached to his gut area, so the vet had to cut into that slightly to remove it, then stitch him all back together, so there was a chance of Rem not functioning properly as a result. I'm pleased to announce that he is pooping just fine, and let us never discuss his poop again.

So! Today was the big day. I packed Rem up in his duvet once again, and we went back to the vet to have the stitches checked and removed. He actually wasn't that keen on coming.

So here's my tip for handling a snake that doesn't want to be handled: put the cereal box over his head so he can't see you, then handle the snake as you wish. It works without fail. And of course, once he was safely tied up in the duvet, he had no choice in the matter anyway.

The vet was delighted to see "Sweetie Pie" again, and very pleased with how the surgery incision looks, so he whisked Remic off to remove the stitches. He was back five minutes later to announce that Rem was stitch-free and "getting a bit annoyed." Still! He gave me permission to put all Rem's normal ornaments and bedding back in his vivarium, and all we have to do now is check that the wound doesn't re-open in the next few days. He'll have a sexy, mysterious scar which he could use to impress lady snakes with, if he knew any. The only thing we really need to keep an eye out for now is the last few bits of dead skin around the scar from his last shed. Apparently surgery often triggers skin-shedding in snakes, but because Rem had nothing to rub against and help get the skin off, there are a few bits still clinging to him. Hopefully those will naturally fall away now he has bark to rub against. If not, we need to give him a bath and gently remove them ourselves.

We returned home triumphantly. Remic did make a break for freedom in the taxi on the way back, but the nice thing about having a snake in a duvet is you can just shake him away from the opening whenever he tries to sneak out.

I will say that I'm definitely going to buy a proper reptile carrier sometime in the future. I sincerely hope we won't need to take Rem or Ket anywhere any time soon, but it never hurts to be prepared. And now Remic is back in his usual environs, having a good old nose around his hide and branches, and seems very content with life. Huzzahs!

And sitting in his water bowl, because he's not clever. So, for now, his epic adventure is at an end. I say "for now," because there is always a chance the Bulge will return. Basically, either it was benign or malignant. If it was malignant and the vet managed to fully remove it, we should be fine. If any tendrils got missed, it could come back. And even a returning benign tumour can be dangerous if it presses on vital organs. It's difficult to really know much about cancer in snakes, because most diagnoses come post-autopsy, sadly.

So we just don't know. Going forward, all we can do is check him carefully for any lumps and bumps and keep our fingers crossed. I'm hopeful, because that's just how I am. I would tell you to stay tuned for the Further Adventures of Remic, but with a little luck, there won't be any!


  1. "If not, we need to give him a bath and gently remove them ourselves."

    How do you bathe a snake - warm, soapy water?

  2. No soap, just lukewarm water for ten-fifteen minutes. He may manage it by himself now he has his usual-sized water bowl back. Hydration always helps, and he can dunk himself in that without any risks.