Fuzz is a 5 year old, male, Ball Python (Python regius). He was an excellent feeder, eating 1-2 large thawed frozen mice every week. Fuzz acutely stopped eating, even though there were no new stressors or changes in his environment. Fuzz's owners tried various techniques to entice him to eat to no avail. Radiographs at the referring vet showed a possible urate impaction in the colon. Fuzz had an enema and had his colon milked of feces and urate, was soaked, and was sent home where he went back to his usual behavior (hiding under his hide log most of the time).
Two weeks later, Fuzz was still not eating. Fuzz came in to AEC and was radiographed. Radiographs showed an area of opacity in his colon at the same location as the previous urate impaction. His digestive tract was gas filled - an indication of gastric stasis (where the colon stops moving things through the system). To help restart his digestive tract, Fuzz was gavage fed (tube fed) some special carnivore diet. He was then placed in a warm incubator to relax, and placed in a warm bath to improve his hydration.
Fuzz will have his radiograph repeated in 3-4 days to see if things are moving through as they should... The owner will continue to try feeding him his usual mice, hoping that the calorie boost from the tube feeding helped jump start his appetite.
Fuzz is an excellent, well behaved patient because his owner handles him regularly and keeps him accustomed to routine veterinary procedures. Snakes that are used to being handled by multiple people and are exposed to different stimuli are less stressed in a veterinary situation.
Snake owners can help make their animals more comfortable when an emergency visit to the vet is necessary if they routinely handle their pets using proper restraint techniques. Annual check ups with your regular veterinarian are recommended for all pets, including reptiles, and being well educated about your animal is absolutely critical. Most exotic pet health issues seen in veterinary clinics are related to poor husbandry, so make sure you research exactly what is needed to care for a new pet before you get one. When you are ready to make that commitment, consider rescuing a pet instead of buying :)