Article  Quiz  Slideshow 

Rabbit Anatomy Basics Slideshow

Part of LafeberVet’s Basic Rabbit Care Teaching Module, the Rabbit Anatomy Basics slideshow is a 22-minute recording designed to impart a basic understanding of rabbit anatomy for the veterinary technician and veterinary nurse. This slideshow may also be of use as a basic learning aid for veterinary medical students and as a basic refresher for the clinician.

Article 

Pigeon Disease Primer

The “Pigeon Disease Primer” explores important differential diagnoses for common clinical problems observed in pigeons and doves. Although the clinical approach to the columbiform relies on the same concepts of “One Medicine” used in all species, many of the infectious diseases of pigeons are relatively unique to this taxonomic group, or at least much more prevalent when compared to psittacine birds or songbirds.

Article 

Pigeon Anatomy & Physiology: 15 Facts

Although pigeons and doves are a diverse group of birds, they do share some clinically significant anatomy and physiology, including a large, bilobed crop or ingluvies, crop milk production, as well as a vascular plexus found in the subcutis of pigeons. This post also touches on specialized anatomic features unique to fruit pigeons before summarizing some features of the columbid integumentary system, musculoskeletal system, and urogenital tract.

Article 

Raptor Gastrointestinal Anatomy and Physiology

Raptors are a diverse group of birds consisting of order Strigiformes or owls and diurnal birds of prey such as falcons, hawks, and eagles. Order Falconiformes, traditionally considered a broadly defined, polyphyletic group, has recently been divided into two orders with only family Falconidae (falcons and caracaras) remaining in Falconiformes. Other diurnal raptors belong to order Accipitriformes …

Article  Webinar 

Five Common Reptile Emergencies

View the recording of this webinar presented by Eric Klaphake, DVM, DACZM, DABVP (Avian Practice), DABVP (Reptile & Amphibian), then take the post-test to earn 1 hour of continuing education credit. This web-based seminar explores five common reptile clinical presentations in detail: trauma, gastrointestinal foreign body, neurological deficits, respiratory difficulty, and reproductive problems.

Rabbit GI Case Challenge Discussion

Gastric dilatation or “bloat” and gastrointestinal obstruction is an acute and life-threatening condition of pet rabbits commonly caused by an obstruction with pellets of compressed hair. The discussion portion of this Case Challenge reviews in onset, clinical signs, and diagnostic test results between obstructive and non-obstructive gastrointestinal disease. This condition is considered a surgical emergency and key points of urgent care strive to stabilize the patient through analgesia, decompression when indicated, and supportive care. Surgery is discussed as well as recommendations for patients that cannot go to surgery due to clinical or financial constraints. Follow-up care as well as homecare recommendations, disease prevention, and prognosis are also explored.

Client Education Handout 

Bloat and Gastrointestinal Blockage in Rabbits Client Handout

Gastrointestinal obstruction and a stomach distended with gas and fluid or “bloat” is a serious health problem of pet rabbits. Use this client educational handout to answer owner questions: What causes bloat and obstruction? Why is bloat a serious condition? What does bloat look like in the rabbit? This handout also explains the basics of a diagnostic workup, treatment, follow-up care, and prevention for this critical condition.

Article  Case Study  Slideshow 

Case Challenge: A 5-Year-Old Rabbit With Anorexia and Lethargy

A 5-year old female spayed lop rabbit presents with a history of acute anorexia (<24 hours) and lethargy. Use history, physical examination findings, laboratory results and survey radiographs to solve this case challenge.

Article 

Sea Turtle Physical Examination Part 1: Eyes-Ears-Nose-Throat

Authored by experts in the field: Terry Norton, DACZM, Director/Founder of the Georgia Sea Turtle Center, and Jeanette Wyneken, PhD, this article is part of a unique series on sea turtle veterinary medicine and wildlife rehabilitation. Physical examination of the head and neck are covered including eyes, adnexa, ears, nares, beak, the oral exam, throat, and cervical vertebrae. Normal findings that reflect adaptations to a marine lifestyle are reviewed and unique findings seen in green (Chelonia mydas), flatback (Natator depressus), hawksbill (Eretmochelys imbricata), Kemp’s ridley (Lepidochelys kempi), leatherback (Dermochelys coriacea), loggerhead (Caretta caretta), and olive ridley (Lepidochelys olivacea) turtles are discussed. LOGIN to view references.

Article 

Avian Bornavirus and Proventricular Dilatation Disease: Facts, Questions, and Controversies

Proventricular dilatation disease or PDD is one of the most frustrating avian conditions encountered today. The recent discovery of a causal relationship between PDD and avian bornavirus has not simplified the challenges that are faced. The detection of avian bornavirus infection is common in birds with PDD but is also detected in birds with other chronic diseases that are not diagnosed with PDD. Proventricular dilatation disease was first reported in the late 1970s…

Article 

Helicobacter in Small Mammals

In 1985, a spiral-shaped microorganism was isolated from the duodenal ulcer of a ferret. Since that time, gastritis and peptic ulcers have been routinely reported in ferrets. In fact one of the reasons ferrets are kept as laboratory animals, is for the study of Helicobacter mustelae…

Article 

Antimicrobial Therapy and Dysbiosis in Rabbits

Antibiotic therapy is a challenge in rabbits. The rabbit digestive system depends upon a healthy population of microbes to function properly. In normal circumstances, normal commensal bacteria completely overwhelm the small numbers of opportunistic pathogenic bacteria present and keep them safely in check. Certain antibiotics, particularly when given by the oral route, however, have the potential to disturb this crucial balance by killing off the commensal bacteria…

Article 

Nutritional Management of Gastrointestinal Disease in the Bird

The gastrointestinal tract acquires and digests food, absorbs nutrients and water, and expels unabsorbed ingesta as feces. Nutritional support of the avian patient with gastrointestinal (GI) disease is challenging. In cats and dogs, it is easy to “rest” the gut, however with their relatively high metabolic rate, this is difficult, if not impossible, to achieve in many avian patients. Specific disease conditions increase the difficulty regulating gastrointestinal motility including ingluvitis (crop stasis). …

Article 

Fungal Disease in Avian Patients

Fungi are among the most common causes of infectious disease in captive birds, and fungal diseases can be challenging to diagnose, as well as treat. Because fungi are typically opportunistic, causing non-contagious disease in susceptible individuals, prevention and treatment require an understanding of etiology as well as predisposing factors.

Article 

Diarrhea in the Avian Patient

Diarrhea is a common clinical presentation in avian medicine. Diarrhea may be caused by a variety of conditions, however it is particularly important for the practitioner to understand the anatomy and diseases of the avian gastrointestinal tract and associated organs.

Article 

Pediatric Avian Medicine: Husbandry-Related and Developmental Conditions

The key to hand raising healthy psittacine chicks is a strong preventive medicine program based on sound husbandry practices. Hygiene, hand feeding protocols, incubation and brooder parameters, environmental temperature in the nursery, and pest control are just a few of the husbandry practices that; if mismanaged, can lead to serious adverse consequences.

Many experienced aviculturists follow strict husbandry protocols that result in few health problems. When problems do arise…

Article  Presenting Problem 

Presenting problem: Oropharyngeal Plaques in Birds

Oropharyngeal lesions tend to be asymptomatic until lesions are quite advanced. Clinical signs associated with oropharyngeal disease vary, but may include anorexia, dysphagia, drooling, halitosis, head or food flicking and rubbing the beak. Diffuse disease or large focal lesions or diffuse disease can obstruct the choanal slit and/or glottis leading to wheezing, open-mouth breathing, dyspnea or in extreme cases suffocation…

Article 

Avian Nutrition Glossary

Created with a focus on the bird, LafeberVet’s Nutrition Glossary is an extensive list of vocabulary terms. Listed terms range from nutrients like vitamins and minerals, nutritional strategies ranging from frugivore to fungivore, and related anatomy or physiologic terms like crop and coprodeum, and even nutrition-related diseases like goiter and gout.

Article 

Adaptations in Herbivore Nutrition

Herbivore nutrition separates animals into two main categories, depending on where food particles are broken down and fermented prior to absorption. The categories are foregut and hindgut fermenters, with the hindgut group being broken down into colonic and cecal fermenters.

Article  Presenting Problem 

Presenting problem: Diarrhea in the Ferret

Diarrhea is the most common clinical sign in ferrets with gastrointestinal disease, with the exception of gastrointestinal foreign bodies where anorexia and weight loss are the primary presenting complaints. Important causes of diarrhea in young ferrets include coccidiosis and rotavirus. Ferrets of all ages may be afflicted with Helicobacter gastritis, ferret enteric coronavirus, and stress-induced diarrhea while middle-aged to older ferrets may suffer from inflammatory bowel disease and intestinal lymphoma. Although signalment, history, and physical exam findings may be sufficient to reach a tentative diagnosis, additional diagnostics may include cytology such as fecal parasite testing, and imaging. Treatment will vary with the specific condition identified but frequently includes…

Article 

Enterocolitis in Hamsters

Diarrhea is the most common problem in pet hamsters. In a recent survey of two large American commercial breeding facilities, approximately 3% of shipped hamsters develop diarrhea. Diarrhea caused by enterocolitis can occur in hamsters of any age or breed and is commonly known as “wet-tail”. Clinical signs in weanlings usually include diarrhea, anorexia, ruffled hair, dehydration, weight loss, and death. The mortality rate is often highest in…

Article 

Gastrointestinal Disease in the Ferret

The ferret is a carnivore with a short, simple gastrointestinal tract and a relatively rapid gastrointestinal transit time. Diarrhea is the most common clinical sign in ferrets with gastrointestinal disease, with the exception of gastrointestinal foreign bodies where anorexia and weight loss are the primary presenting complaints.

Article  Presenting Problem 

Presenting problem: Diarrhea in Chelonians

If you see reptiles in your clinical practice, you will encounter diarrhea in tortoises, and less commonly turtles. This paper describes the basics of case management beginning with anamnesis, continuing with information on the examination, tests and potential treatments and concluding with client education.

Article 

Evaluation of Bird Droppings

Normal bird droppings consist of three components: feces, urine, and urates. Urine and urates are the products of the avian kidney. The medullary or mammalian nephron of the bird kidney produces urine. The more numerous cortical or reptilian nephron produces a soluble form of uric acid or…

Article 

Gastrointestinal Problems in Rabbits

Gastrointestinal problems are common in the pet rabbit. A thorough history, including a detailed dietary history, can provide invaluable clues to the problem at hand. Signs of gastrointestinal discomfort in the rabbit may include bruxism, reluctance to move, and anorexia. If there is a history of anorexia, it is imperative to differentiate whether the rabbit is not eating because it has no interest in food, or if it is showing an interest in food but unable to eat. A complete lack of appetite is most commonly seen with physiological problems such as renal failure, whereas a reluctance to eat is a classic presentation in rabbits with dental disease.

Article 

How to Feed the Small Herbivore Gastrointestinal Tract

Most small herbivores like the rabbit, guinea pig, and chinchilla possess a simple, non-compartmentalized stomach paired with a large cecum and colon. To feed the small herbivore gastrointestinal tract, provide insoluble dietary fiber to stimulate gut motility and maintain gastrointestinal health. A balanced small herbivore diet contains adequate fiber (minimum 25%), minimal starch, and moderate protein levels. Among small herbivorous non-ruminants, the gastrointestinal tract of the rabbit is the most specialized and this manuscript will focus on unique features of this species’ anatomy and physiology.

Article  Presenting Problem 

Presenting problem: Diarrhea in Birds

Diarrhea may be defined as any change in the consistency or formation of the fecal portion of the dropping. Diarrhea is a common clinical presentation in birds, but it is important to differentiate true diarrhea from changes in other components of the droppings…

Article 

Raptor Anatomy: Ten Key Facts

If you are comfortable with psittacine anatomy and physiology, then you are well on your way to understanding raptors, however there are countless features that make this taxonomic group unique. LafeberVet has focused on ten amazing and clinically significant facts on bird of prey anatomy.

Article 

Crop Stasis in Birds

The crop or ingluvies is a diverticulum of the esophagus present in many but not all, bird species. The crop serves as a food storage organ, regulating the flow of food through the gastrointestinal tract. Food within the crop is also softened by mucus glands. Crop stasis is a common clinical sign in which the crop fails to empty in a timely manner…

Article 

Crop Wash in Birds

Crop wash, also known as crop lavage or crop infusion, is indicated in patients with a history of persistent regurgitation unrelated to sexual behavior, crop stasis, crop impaction, or palpable abnormalities of the crop.

Article  Presenting Problem 

Presenting problem: Regurgitation in Birds

Regurgitation is a non-specific clinical sign, and it is not pathognomonic for any specific problem. Regurgitation can indicate a problem anywhere along the gastrointestinal tract or it may occur secondary to crop stasis caused by systemic illness.

Article 

Are Canada Goose Populations a Public Health Concern?

Unlike many waterfowl species, Canada geese tend to travel further from water to feed. In turn, this allows birds to spread their feces over large areas. While feeding, one Canada goose can produce approximately one dropping per minute. Total daily fecal production may reach approximately 2 pounds or more of waste per goose.

Article 

Diseases of Songbirds: A “Cheat” Sheet

Approach to the passerine bird relies on the same concepts of “One Medicine” used in all animals. Nevertheless many of the infectious agents diagnosed in songbirds are relatively unique to this taxonomic group, or at least much more prevalent when compared to psittacine birds or birds of prey.

Article  Presenting Problem 

Heatstroke in Exotic Companion Mammals

Heatstroke is the most severe form of heat-related illnesses. In this life-threatening condition, the body is unable to dissipate heat load at a rate that accommodates excessive heat levels.

Begin treatment immediately once heatstroke is suspected. Intensive care is aimed at reducing body temperature while supporting organ function. A variety of techniques can be used to lower core body temperature. Administration of intravenous or intraosseous fluids is a popular internal cooling technique that also serves to support organ function…

Article  Presenting Problem 

Presenting problem: Prolapse in Reptiles

Prolapse in reptiles can involve the cloaca, a common receiving chamber for the reproductive, urinary, and gastrointestinal tracts. Prolapses can also originate from the distal gastrointestinal tract, reproductive organ, or urinary bladder—in those species with a bladder like the green iguana and leopard gecko…

Article 

Backyard Poultry Primer

Order Galliformes consists of heavy-bodied, ground feeding birds like the chicken, turkey, quail, and pheasant. Backyard or hobby flocks consist of meat and game birds; or ornamental or show birds. Conditions commonly encountered in backyard chickens and turkeys often include endoparasites like Eimeria spp., pasteurellosis or fowl cholera, mycoplasmosis, staphylococcosis, and colibacillosis. Another common presenting problem is trauma, which can typically be categorized as…

Article 

Galliform Anatomy: A Dozen Key Facts

Order Galliformes is a large, diverse taxonomic group with a worldwide distribution. More than 250 species have a chicken-like appearance and short, rounded wings. LafeberVet has listed twelve interesting and clinically significant facts about galliform anatomy and physiology including important vocabulary terms.

Article 

Waterfowl Diseases: A “Cheat Sheet”

Although the rare veterinarian routinely deals with large numbers of waterfowl on a regular basis, many avian veterinarians encounter waterfowl only sporadically as wildlife rehabilitation cases, backyard poultry, and/or zoo specimens. When consulting textbooks for help, often a dizzying array of waterfowl diseases are encountered. Some conditions such as “angel wing” and predator trauma are important in captive populations, while infectious diseases like fowl cholera can cause massive die-offs in free-ranging birds…

Article  Presenting Problem 

Presenting problem: Crop Burn in Birds

Crop burns are commonly caused by thermal injury in young birds and, in rare instances, by ingestion of caustic chemicals in adult birds. Crop burn is generally caused by feeding formula that is too hot (>110ºF or 43.3ºC) or less commonly, contact with a heat lamp or heating pad. Damage typically occurs in the gravity dependent right ventral region of the crop where the weight of the food bolus presses heated material against the skin. This increased thermal exposure can lead to necrosis of the crop wall and skin forming a fistula that can leak food.

Client Education Handout 

Avian Bornavirus Infection

Avian bornavirus was identified as a cause of proventricular dilatation disease or PDD in 2008. Avian bornavirus infection is one of the most frustrating diseases encountered in avian medicine…

Article 

Nutritional Strategy: Nectarivory in Birds 10 Facts You Should Know

Although nectar is considered a nutritional reward for pollination, it is probably the most nutrient-dilute food consumed by birds. Nectar meets less than 15% of essential amino acid requirements and is particularly low in methionine. In fact nutrients other than sugars, such as protein, vitamins, trace minerals, and lipids are present in nectar at levels considered inadequate for growth, reproduction, or even maintenance activity…

Article  Quiz 

Behavior Basics: The European Rabbit

Although rabbits can make wonderful household companions, real-life rabbits are complex animals that share few similarities with the images that are prevalent in popular culture. Domesticated since the early 16th century, the pet European rabbit retains many of the behavioral characteristics of its wild ancestor. The wide spectrum of behaviors possible in house rabbits are generally not observed, or possible, in rabbits confined to a hutch or small cage. House rabbits thrive when they are provided mental stimulation and adequate space for exercise…

Article 

Basic Cytology of the Avian Gastrointestinal Tract

Historically, routine Gram’s stains were performed in apparently healthy birds. As our understanding of avian medicine has grown, avian veterinarians have questioned the reliability and validity of Gram’s stain cytology as a screening test. Cytology is indicated when specific problems are reported during a detailed medical history or when…

Article  Video 

Syringe Feeding Herbivorous Small Mammals

Mild to moderately ill exotic companion mammals are often syringe fed, and proper syringe-feeding technique is an essential skill for critical care nutrition of ferrets, rabbits, and rodents. Gastrointestinal stasis is one of the most common medical problems seen in small herbivores. A cornerstone of treatment is delivery of food containing high dietary fiber. Aggressive fluid therapy, often in the form of oral and subcutaneous fluids, is also crucial for successful management. Always address dehydration before beginning nutritional support. Get specific tips to improve your clinical success with this video clip or read the article with still images.