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Transporting Snakes to the Vet

Transporting your pet to the vet safely is important for any patient, including snakes. Here are a few things that you can do to make your limbless lovely’s trip more secure.

Generally, two layers of security are recommended to bring any reptile pet to the vet. Appropriately-sized pillow cases or handmade snake bags work very well! The second “barrier” is ideally a plastic container, preferably one with locking latches for extra security.

 

Small Snakes

Very small snakes can be transported using a small lock-top plastic container, such as the one pictured here. A small cloth snake bag or small towel can be used to make the snake feel more secure. This juvenile Cornsnake is quite comfortable in a small storage container, either using a snake bag or a small hand towel.

 

Medium to Large-Sized Snakes

Larger snakes can be secured in one to two pillowcases, and then transported in a lock-top plastic tote. This Boa Constrictor is approximately 1.5 m (5 ft) long and fits comfortably inside a medium-sized tote.

 

Very Large Snakes

Very large snakes can be comfortably transported in large storage totes, preferably those with lockable tops. Extra “locks” can be added along the sides of the lid using large binder clips. A large towel or blanket lining the tote, with a second towel or blanket on top of the snake, help provide extra security during travel.

 

Does my snake need a heat source while I travel?

It depends! Since we have such varied temperatures throughout the seasons here in Nova Scotia, we recommend adding a heat source when the temperature outside is below 18-20 °C (64-68 °F). Our preferred heat sources include either a rubber hot water bottle, or a thermotherapeutic compress (such as the Magic Bag®), that can be placed either inside the plastic tote underneath your snake, or outside the container if it’s too small.

Overheating can cause hyperthermia and death within minutes. It is critical that you test the temperature of any heating device before using it for travel with your pet. We recommend using an infrared thermometre (“temperature gun”) to ensure that the heating device is no warmer than 30 °C (86 °F). While many reptile species can easily tolerate temperatures warmer than this in the wild or in their home enclosure, remember that they will be stuck in an enclosed space and cannot move away if they feel too warm. Another “rule of thumb” is to test the heating device against your skin: If it feels so warm that you cannot hold it against your bare arm for more than 60 seconds, then it is too warm for your pet snake. If you’re using a thermotherapeutic bag, be sure to “jiggle” it around while testing as they can have an internal “hot spot” from being warmed in the microwave.

Regardless of if you use a heating device or what you use, once you and your pet arrive in the exam room we can provide an electric heating pad to make sure that your pet stays comfortable.

 

Does my snake need air holes?

Generally, no. Reptiles have a relatively slow metabolic rate compared to mammals, meaning that their oxygen needs are much lower. Most containers are not completely air tight, and unless your snake will be in the container for several hours they will not need extra air holes. Adding air holes can actually compromise the container’s ability to retain heat.

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Let’s get Active!

I am sure you all know that it's important to make sure our furry friends stay active. However, once winter time hits well that is simply more difficult with the snow and storms that come around. So then how do we keep our friends active in winter as we would in spring/summer? Why is physical activity & mental stimulation so important for animals? Well simply put, as humans do, if they are stuck inside, they will get bored which then can make them become destructive and have other negative behaviors. Cats Cats may not always be outside walking like dogs, but you may still notice with the change in weather maybe they are slowing down and not exercising like they should? Here are some helpful ways to encourage them to exercise. Set up a game of hide and seek and hide toys or treats for them to find. Bring in something new from outside like a stick to mentally stimulate them and work out their brain. The new smells and textures can be very enriching for them. Winter is the perfect time for box forts for our kitty friends. If you have spare time made them a kitty castle or kitty boat whatever your imagination can think of! And of course, everyone likes a little stimulation from Tv. Put on something on the tv or a tablet and let them watch it but be careful they do not knock over your TV. Dogs Our dog friends love to be outside! This is great when the weather is cooperating but on those days that it just makes no sense to go outside or is unsafe to so you can try these helpful exercising tips. Let them walk/run on a treadmill. Now as great as this is for exercise you also need to be careful. Desensitize them to the treadmill first, and start slowly. It can be dangerous if not done properly. If your furry friend likes car rides, go on a trip together even just a short one. Let them enjoy the different sights and smells. Winter is perfect time to learn new tricks! This is the time to teach them that special trick you have wanted to for a while. Set up an obstacle course in your house for them to try and get through. Written by: Ashley G, VT    

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Last updated: June 9, 2022.

Dear Clients,

Masks are now optional for both staff and clients at our hospital. Please respect everyone's comfort level. Here is what you can expect:

For appointments:
  • There are no longer any capacity limits on our exam rooms or reception area
  • Masks are optional for both team members and clients.
  • For food / medication / retail:
  • It is best to call your order in ahead of time so the team can get it ready for you. Please allow 24 - 48 hours for medication refills
  • We are continuing to see all cases by appointment only including pets in need of: vaccines, wellness exams, blood work, heartworm testing, spays and neuters, dental services, parasite prevention, and more.

    OPERATING HOURS

    Monday to Friday: 7:30 am – 7:30 pm
    Saturday: 8:30 am – 3:00 pm
    Sunday: CLOSED

    Thank you for your patience and understanding and we look forward to seeing you and your furry family members again!

    - Your dedicated team at Companion Animal Hospital