What is Stargazing Syndrome?

What is Stargazing Syndrome and how do we prevent it from happening?

Stargazing syndrome is something that often occurs in reptiles. This article will discuss what it is.

Stargazing syndrome isn't a disease, but it is a symptom of a health problem. It can be caused by an injury or a disease of the central nervous system which include the brain and spinal cord. It can also be caused by a viral infection. The viral infection is known as inclusion body disease, it is often seen in pythons and boa constrictors, it is fatal.

Any infection or disease that affects a reptile's central nervous system can lead to stargazing syndrome. Besides inclusion body disease and injuries other underlying condition could be caused by toxic exposure, bacterial, viral, and parasitic infections, and body temperatures that are either excessively low or high.

This syndrome is seen in reptiles, usually snakes. It is actually an abnormal body position in which the reptiles head and neck twist in an upward manner as if they were looking up at the sky and stars. Reptiles will probably have other symptoms, but stargazing is the most noticeable since it's a unusual posture. Depending on what caused the stargazing, other symptoms may include lethargy, seizures, depression, difficulty moving, and disorientation.

If the underlying condition is inclusion body disease snakes also tend to have loss of appetite, weight loss, vomiting, and skin problems. Severe cases of inclusion body diseases also cause neurological problems and soon after that, death is likely.

A reptile owner can easily notice stargazing, however a veterinarian will have to run tests to diagnose the underlying cause. There is no cure for inclusion body disease, however there are treatments for bacterial and parasitic infections. If your reptile has inclusion body disease you may decide to euthanize. For other underlying causes antibiotics and other medications will probably be prescribed.

The information provided on this site is for informational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for advice from your veterinarian or other health care professional. You should not use the information on this site for diagnosis or treatment of any health problem or for prescription of any medication or other treatment.