Snake gets acupuncture at New Mexico Wildlife Center

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ESPAÑOLA, N.M. — Meet Sadie – a harmless, nonvenomous bullsnake at the New Mexico Wildlife Center in Española. Sadie has lived at the center since 2006 and is one of their ambassador animals – helping to educate the public.

Jessica Schlarbaum, the center’s communications and outreach manager, and Sarah Sirica, a staff veterinarian, told KOB 4 that Sadie is now in his 20s, which is pretty old for a bullsnake. They noticed some signs of aging setting in.

"The big issue recently is he’s had a few bouts of pneumonia, which is really similar to older humans who just develop pneumonia, so we treat that and it just resolves," Sirica said. "At the tail end of his most recent bout of pneumonia, he suddenly has some spinal issues and based on our X-rays, what we expect happened is he slipped a disk."

Sirica is now treating Sadie with pain medication and also a more unique treatment… acupuncture.

"When I’m doing these treatments, there’s nobody restraining him," Sirica said. "He’s just lying there on the table, usually on a heating pad and just sort of hanging out and getting relaxing acupuncture treatment."

Sirica said acupuncture for animals and reptiles has been used as a treatment for pain before. She also said Sadie is already showing signs of improvement.

"Sadie’s been so important for our center, and also for all the children who’ve learned about snakes and that snakes are OK and an important part of the world because of him," Sirica said.

If you’d like to learn more about the New Mexico Wildlife Center, click here.