Alternative treatment of stomatitis in ball python (Python regius) with class IV laser therapy: A clinical case

T. Rungnirundorn, N. Khamchomphu, N. Senarat, T. Duangurai
Energy For Health [21], 2021

Stomatitis (mouth rot) is a common disease in snakes. Bacterial infections tend to be associated with snake’s stomatitis (4). The bacterial agents are part of the normal microflora of the oral cavity or other parts of the digestive tract, which exhibit its pathogenic effect in periods of immunodeficiency or stressed animals (5). Gram-negative bacteria are most commonly implicated in snake’s stomatitis (6). Clinical signs of stomatitis including anorexia, hypersalivation, pus or necrotic tissue in the mouth with erythema and swelling of gum, open-mouth breathing and death. Treatments are commonly applied with debridement, irrigation, antibiotics based on culture and sensitivity result, and anti-inflammatory drugs. However, wound of snake heal slowly and because of this, it is important to treat any sick snakes in long term. Thus, alternative treatment of stomatitis with laser therapy is needed for good outcome treatment in this case.
Laser therapy, also called photobiomodulation, involves photothermal, photomechanical and  photochemical processes, occurring when the energy is absorbed by  molecules (chromophores) in the tissues. The most known photochemical effect is an increase in ATP production with improvement in cell energy metabolism. Irradiation with specific light wavelengths, can result in higher availability of nitric oxide (vasodilator signaling) and production of reactive oxygen species (cytoprotective signaling) (8). Laser radiation can induce a significant reduction of specific mediators of inflammatory response, such as prostaglandin E2 (PGE2), interleukin 1β (IL-1β) and tumor necrosis factor α (TNFα) (7). Effects of laser therapy include: promotion of neovascularization stimulation of fibroblast migration, keratinocyte proliferation, and production of growth factors. These effects can enhance wound healing, reduce edema and infection. Thus, in this case, we evaluated the effectiveness of laser therapy in enhancing the healing rate.