Aspiration?

ferretinmyshoes

Veterinarian
Staff member
My panther may have aspirated some water since he was drinking from the squirt bottle and I didn't realize he was done. He opened his mouth wide and gurgled. I held him upside down and water and saliva poured out of his mouth and nostrils. He was breathing hard for a little but, but it did stress him out to have me hold him upside down so I stopped. He appears to be breathing normally now and I don't hear gurgles or crackles. I feel awful and I'm about to go out of town for a week so I'm really worried about him. He appears comfortable and is just licking the roof of his mouth (you know the little licking without licking motion they do) but not open mouth breathing or anything. He's crawling around normally, showing regular colors, shot a superworm and ate it normally, and scratched at his back where he's shedding so he's not totally focused on breathing or irritation, which I think may be a good sign. He may still be breathing a little harder than normal, but not excessively...

For those you who have had this happen, what was the outcome? Did pneumonia develop? Were antibiotics required, and should I consider prophylactically treating him or getting him in an oxygen cage even though he doesn't appear to be in distress? Did they appear distressed later, and if so how much later? Is there anything in particular besides obvious signs of stress or illness I should make my petsitter be on alert for (she's a registered vet tech)?

Feel terrible for letting this happen. :( He usually won't drink from a squirt bottle so I just didn't know when to stop. I do now...
 

jojackson

New Member
Have her watch for any wheezing or open mouth breathing, onset of symptoms will depend on what was inhaled, foods and solid particles are harder for the lungs to clear so you would expect pretty rapid if not immediate symptoms (above), water is not so harsh, but if any appreciable amount remains in the lungs, you might see some difficult in breathing within hours.
Keep it warm and if noticeable symptoms/distress appears, get it to the vet.
You might be very lucky, but be aware, despite the lungs not being clinically sterile,
bacteria carried in water differs from that carried in air and antibiotic therapy may be required. Hoping for the best. :)
 

jessica

Avid Member
I have had this happen with one of my guys, he shouldn't have a problem as long as its clean water with no additives. (repti safe etc)
He should be able to absorb it just fine, but like mentioned keep an eye for the RI signs.
 

ferretinmyshoes

Veterinarian
Staff member
Luckily I very thoroughly cleaned out and sanitized all the squirt bottles and drippers just a few days ago, and filled it with fresh water right before giving it to him, so hopefully the bacterial levels were minimal. I have already added URI signs to my petsitter "checklist" and made my awesome zoo vet aware of the situation in case something does happen. I just feel awful. And of course it had to happen the day before I'm leaving for a week...here's hoping that it is just paranoia. He's sleeping soundly in his normal spot all curled up like usual.
 
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ferretinmyshoes

Veterinarian
Staff member
I did miss that, but I usually don't try to give him water this way anyway for that reason. I wasn't trying to spray it right in his mouth, just at his chin and nose so as not to hit him directly, and it was from the side too. Right at the end he turned right toward me so I think I got a direct shot on accident, which was the problem. He's been a butt lately and won't drink from his dripper. He'll just look right at it dripping off leaves and lick his lips, but that's it. I tried putting him the shower, which normally triggers immediate drinking but he kept trying to launch off the plant instead. It was a last resort since I'm going out of town, just wish it hadn't ended so badly...I'm going to be worried about him the whole time.

And I'm just hoping it's paranoia meaning nothing will come of it and I will be worried for nothing. I know the danger here unfortunately. :(
 
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jojackson

New Member
Crossing my fingers for you mate. Try to enjoy your trip, sounds like you got a great person watching out for it. :)
 

Cainschams

New Member
Not paranoia! Aspiration pneumonia is a big killer of forcefed reptiles and your right to be concerned. Hopefully it didnt inhale much and recovers. I warned of this just days ago, it's a shame you missed it.

https://www.chameleonforums.com/drinking-sprayer-55600/

Wishing the best possible outcome for you Ferret.
cheers :)

I didnt see your post but plus 1000!!:D Ive never thought of it a good idea to spray water straight into a lizards mouth. Mother nature gives them water from above and they are drops not squirts. Whether the species laps from a leave or sits out in the rain the water is not forced. If one wants to "feed" water then use something you can drop on the tip of their mouths. If the lizard gets adequate hydration from misting/humidity then there is no real reason to try and force it water.
 

ferretinmyshoes

Veterinarian
Staff member
Thank you cainschams for pointing out the obvious when the damage is already done and I knew the risks and I made it clear that it was a last resort. Do you think I don't feel incredibly guilty as it is? He was not being adequately hydrated despite all my efforts (dripper, rain dripper, multiple drippers, misting, humidifer, showers) and the last time I didn't interfere when he wasn't drinking he got so dehydrated he actually felt ill. I was not about to leave for a week knowing he already hadn't been drinking for a week. I was looking for advice on how to proceed, not for something I should go back in time to do.

Perhaps you should have posted your comment to the thread on spraying rather than reiterating my failure when I'm already really worried about him.

I'm happy to say that Oscar looks and acts totally normal this morning, but I know we're not out of the woods yet.
 
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Hoj

Friendly Grasshopper
ferrit i feel for you as you may know my guy camo has no tounge and bassically needs to drink from a dripper in his mouth i worry everyday about this, but like you said hydration in key and you did what you needed to, cudos on that.
im sure hell be ok these guys a more resiliant then we sometimes give them credit for.
id force feed or water for the better good of my cham any day!!

hoj
 

ferretinmyshoes

Veterinarian
Staff member
I'm happy to say that it's been a week since Oscar aspirated and he's doing just fine at this point! I'm still on vacation and my petsitter is reporting back to me so I'll feel much better about it when I'm back home but it's looking really good at this point imo. I miss all my scaly things!!
 

jojackson

New Member
Awesome news mate!
icon14.gif
:)
 
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