R.I. Treatment

ssscales November 3, 2012 39
R.I. Treatment

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!


  1. Theresa Gregory March 11, 2013 at 2:59 pm -

    do u know the dosage to give for a ball python that is 1311 gm?

  2. ssscales March 11, 2013 at 4:48 pm -

    It’s 50mg per kilogram of weight.

  3. ssscales May 6, 2013 at 12:38 pm -

    Needle, and yes it’s give at the 1st 1/3 of the body just underneath the skin.

  4. Josh November 19, 2013 at 8:38 pm -

    What if the animal is less than 1 kg. I say this because my green tree python is 293 grams ….should I use the tylan 50 in this case?

  5. ssscales November 20, 2013 at 1:24 am -

    Yes, use the 50.

  6. Kzapp February 16, 2014 at 8:24 pm -

    Where do u give the shot at on the snakes?

  7. ssscales February 17, 2014 at 1:00 pm -

    HI, it’s on the top/side just below the spine area in between the ribs. Most meds are subcutaneous (meaning right below the skin), but check with your vet.

  8. Lee March 27, 2014 at 11:56 pm -

    what size (length and gauge) needles do I use for injecting ball pythons with the tylan?

  9. ssscales March 30, 2014 at 2:21 pm -

    About a 23g and 1/2″ but you only inject just beneath the skin.

  10. Carmello April 3, 2014 at 10:12 pm -

    I have a RTB with RI. Not bad at this point.
    I have been giving him Baytril Orally but I am not to excited about shoving a tube down its throat everyday.
    So my question is…….
    The dosge you gave was “50mg per kilogram of weight.”
    Is that of the 50 or 200 strength?
    If it is the 50 then would the 200 be 1/4 of the 50?

  11. Carmello April 3, 2014 at 10:14 pm -

    Where would I get needles (Syringe’s)?
    I think that might be difficult in this day and age….

  12. STUD April 10, 2014 at 10:50 pm -


  13. Angie August 12, 2014 at 9:04 pm -

    Hi Gerry, I follow you on Facebook constantly and I really appreciate everything you do for your fellow herpers!

    My question for you on the Tylan is have you used it for other infections? We have a 2013 baby ball python with a mouth infection. It looks to possibly be an abscessed tooth. Would you feel the Tylan would help him? His entire head is swollen along with part of his neck. Thanks for your feedback!

  14. ssscales August 12, 2014 at 10:46 pm -

    Hi, I’ve never used or heard Tylan being used in snakes for other than to treat RI.

  15. daniel September 25, 2014 at 6:36 pm -

    my local feed store has the tylan 50…both my ball pythons weigh in at about 2000 grams…how would you treat them…I think i understand I just worry Im goning to blow it

  16. Kim March 7, 2015 at 9:41 am -

    Hi! I’ve been researching for days on treatment for RI. My big baby pinstripe has all the symptoms of one. I really want to take him to the vet but I keep seeing the use of tylan. We’ve been treating him at home with vics/ eucalyptus oil and that has gotten the majority of the mucous out. But he still sounds horrible. I see mucous when he opens his mouth too :( . We’ve been treating for 2 weeks. My question is at this point, would you recommend a vet or try the Tylan? Would the vet prescribe it too?

  17. Katie July 6, 2015 at 7:58 am -

    I just got a 1 year old ball python about a week ago and he’s had an ri this whole time I’ve had him and it has me so worried :( he keeps wheezing and opening his mouth to breathe, he also goes around the tank wiping his saliva on glass.. I want to take him to the vet but lots of other snake owners say the meds don’t even help resolve the snakes ri. I’m really scared for him and don’t want him to die. I need some advice

  18. Khris Wisener July 23, 2015 at 12:07 am -

    I have a ball python at 400g. What should I use?

  19. ssscales September 21, 2015 at 4:08 pm -

    That’s a decision for you and only you can answer.

  20. Sadrena December 19, 2015 at 9:40 pm -

    Yes i need an antibiotic i can give my ball python in his mouth

  21. CJ January 14, 2016 at 9:02 pm -

    hey have you ever heard of injecting it ibto there food then giving them the food instead of doing the injection??

  22. ssscales January 14, 2016 at 9:32 pm -

    I have been asked this 400,000 to 500,000 times as well as “Can you rub it like a lotion on it’s skin and it would be absorbed?” from those not confident or comfortable to inject their snake, but the answer is no. It’s like kids asking doctors “Is there any other way to avoid getting that injection? Can I take a pill, does it come in a gummy form?”…LOL Tylan is to be injected subcutaneous which means right under the skin. I’m not a vet and not telling anyone what to do or not to do with their snake, but I suggest if giving Tylan that you inject it or get someone that knows how to inject it.

  23. Chris Oxley February 6, 2016 at 3:29 am -

    Has anyone had any injection site scarring from subcutaneous as opposed to intramuscular injection ?? I paid some big bucks years ago once for a vet to inject subutaneously some Baytril which caused one hell of a scar that took six months to clean up. I was always injecting my Fortaz and Amicasin intramuscularily . I am assuming that Tylan 200 is not as “corrosive” ( wrong term I know ) but I always avoided subcutaneous after that . I injected in about 1/2″ in on say a 30 degree angle . . .for years with no troubles. Damned RI’s !!

  24. ssscales February 6, 2016 at 3:41 am -

    Baytril tends to do that when injected heavily in one spot. Tylan is subcutaneous and I’ve never had nor heard of anyone having any scarring from the injections. I have not dealt with an RI for years but once treated with Tylan it never came back.

  25. Scott W February 10, 2016 at 2:40 am -

    When using injecting the Tylan, is it normal for the medication to “knot” at the injection site? I’m familiar with sub-q and IM injections, just not in reptiles. I’m concerned I didn’t get the injection “deep” enough.

  26. Chris Oxley February 10, 2016 at 3:21 am -

    Hey I really appreciate this information ! Thanks ssscales very much !!!

  27. veronica March 11, 2016 at 9:11 pm -

    can anyone tell me where to find the syringe and needle for this?

  28. Michael April 6, 2016 at 12:52 am -

    I don’t want to sound stupid but the dosage rates are in Mg per KG but we are talking about a fluid and the syringes use ML is there a conversion or is it 1to 1 ??

  29. ssscales April 6, 2016 at 1:08 am -

    LOL…You do realize that within that milliliter (ml) of “fluid” is various mg of Tylosin (Tylan); whether 50mg or 200mg per ml of liquid whether in the bottle, a syringe, a bucket or a swimming pool. So the dosage is 50mg of Tylan per KG of weight.. 1ml being 50mg or 200mg based on which Tylan you bought 50 or 200,

  30. Michael April 6, 2016 at 6:30 pm -

    so the bottle will stare X Mg per Ml ? I could only find the 50

  31. Michael April 6, 2016 at 6:30 pm -

    oops state

  32. ssscales April 6, 2016 at 8:14 pm -

    It says it right there, 50…LOL Tylan 50 is 50mg per ml and Tylan 200 is……200mg per ml…..LOL

  33. Michael April 8, 2016 at 5:55 am -

    I didn’t have my glasses when I found the Tylan Good thing I only found the 50 it would have been hard to measure out .15 Ml

  34. Joe April 22, 2016 at 11:36 pm -

    Just wondering if you use the f10 in a fogged as well as the tylan

  35. ssscales April 28, 2016 at 1:24 am -

    I don’t since I don’t like to waste my time or F10…LOL

  36. kris May 3, 2016 at 2:30 am -

    Can you use vet prescribed fortaz after the expiration date?

  37. ssscales May 20, 2016 at 12:44 pm -

    I have no idea but I assume it depends how far passed expiriation it is. A week or two probably not a problem, a year passed…probably not as strong.

  38. ssscales May 20, 2016 at 12:45 pm -


  39. ssscales May 20, 2016 at 12:47 pm -

    You don’t want deep, you want just under the skin and if done right there should be no knoting. If the snake is large and injecting a lot of fluid. Probably best to spread into two injection sites.

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