Hendricks, a 17 year old Brazilian rainbow boa, was brought to Ohana Animal Hospital for evaluation of a painful left eye. His owner noticed that it appeared out of place, and thought that he was uncomfortable. After visiting with our veterinarian, Dr. Zach Steffes, it was determined that he needed his eye removed, and was scheduled for surgery the following day.
It is uncommon to need to remove an eye (enucleation) on a snake. Most snake eye problems will resolve over time if treated correctly, and given enough shed cycles to repair the spectacle (fused eyelids), which protects the eye. In this case the eye had been pushed out of the globe, and had actually ruptured, which made removal the best option to control pain and discomfort. There are many causes for this issue, but we strongly suspected a bacterial or fungal infection, cancer, or trauma.
Hendricks was started on antibiotics and pain injections the night before surgery, and then scheduled for the surgery the next day. Hendricks did great under anesthesia, and recovered with no problems. Our reptile patients are intubated and maintained on gas anesthesia, just like a dog or cat, which allows us to control their breathing while they are sleepy. Reptiles cannot breath on their own when they are anesthetized for surgery, so we need breath for them. They are provided heat support, pain medications, antibiotics, fluids to maintain blood pressure, and monitored closely by their own dedicated anesthetist while under anesthesia.
He will stay on antibiotics and pain medications while recovering from his surgery, and will need some extra attention while healing, but should be just fine. Hendricks should make a full recovery, and is very lucky to have such dedicated owners.
We wish you well Hendricks, and wish you a speedy recovery!!
Check out our Exotic Animal Surgery Services on our website: Exotic Animal Surgery and Dentistry
Dr. Zach Steffes, and the Ohana Animal Hospital team