First off I want to start off by stating I am not a vet! I’m writing this because each year I read countless forum posts and now facebook post asking about R.I. and various snakes. How they’ve all taken their snakes to the vet, spent $100′s of dollars, used various meds, had numerous tests ran and yet many times the R.I. is uncured or returns again and again. I’ve experienced this first hand myself, with countless friends and again total strangers on the net. Years ago I realized that most average vets are not really trained or knowledgeable in dealing with snakes. These may as well be aliens from another planet. I had one vet years ago actually read off how to use Baytril on snakes from a internet search! I quickly realized my best source at the time was other breeders who had been there and done that. Breeders that kept snakes long before I had, people like the Barkers, Jeff Ronne, and many others that I give thanks to. It is there that I found an antibiotic used mostly on cattle and swine called Tylan (Tylosin). Many breeders were treating their snakes during R.I. (Respiratory Infections) with Tylan and seeing the results that they simply were not getting from other antibiotics like Baytril, Fortaz, Amikacin or even a combination.
I began using Tylan 6-7yrs ago with positive results each time on boas and pythons that I was keeping. Back then I would cool my snakes a bit too much during breeding season and would always get a few cases of R.I. each year and need treatment. Tylan was my go to med, it is bought OTC and no prescription is needed, cost $20-$25 for a 200cc bottle which lasted a long time! Many times I would have to throw out the bottle as it would expire before I used even 1/4 of it. Many times breeders would pass bottles around to help others out.
First thing to do is make sure the snake is warm! Without heat snakes cannot digest properly, or heal properly! Make sure your snake is warm, make sure the ambient temp and hot spot are as needed for your species. Second, leave it alone! No matter what you think, your snake does not like you very much! It does not want to sit and cuddle or play. In most cases your interaction simply adds a level of stress. Same situation when you’re sick and don’t want to be bothered…lol In many cases bumping up the heat and a stress free environment will take care of a R.I. In cases where meds are needed, I reach for Tylan.
Where to buy Tylan? You can buy Tylan at any Tractor supply store or farm animal supply store, or even online and have it delivered to your house. Dosage I use is 50mg/kg and I give one injection every 3 days for 2wks. I suggest always buying the 200 bottle as it allows you to inject less liquid vs the 50. With either Tylan 50 or 200 I run injections for 2wks and then stop giving any meds. If RI is still present after 1-2wks after the last injection, I then repeat the process for one more 2wk treatment. After that, I take the snake to the vet…but I personally have not even needed a 2nd round of Tylan. I have used Tylan many times with great success in treating RI, so have many other breeder friends, keepers, etc. Does this mean Tylan is the right treatment for your snake and its R.I.? There is no 100% guarantee it will be, but it’s worth a try as it has been for many, many, many, many other breeders and keepers. In some cases Baytril might be your best solution, or a combination of Baytril and Fortaz or Amikacin, but I always keep a bottle of Tylan in the fridge, just in case. Good luck!