Student Blog by Yvonne Wong, VM 21
In November, a juvenile Common Garter Snake presented to the Wildlife Medical Clinic. The little snake, just 30 grams or around 1 ounce, was found in a basement! It is not uncommon for reptiles to find shelter in residential homes during the winter months, but this choice is not always supported by the human inhabitants.
Upon intake, multiple small skin lesions (abnormalities) were found along the snake’s body. Otherwise, the patient appeared to be healthy.
Based on the physical exam findings, clinic members were immediately concerned about one particular disease – Snake Fungal disease (SFD), an infection caused by the fungus Ophidiomyces ophidiiocola.
This relatively newly-discovered fungal pathogen (first seen in 2006) is highly contagious, and potentially fatal, to numerous snake species (including garter snakes).