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 

External Coaptation in Birds: Bandages and Splints

Traumatic orthopedic injuries are relatively common in the avian patient. Although bird bones are strong when intact, they tend to shatter on impact as the cortices are thin and brittle. A lack of abundant soft tissue coverage often leads to open fractures…

Article 

Sea Turtle Physical Examination: Part 2

Part of a unique series on sea turtle veterinary medicine and wildlife rehabilitation, this article explores many components of the sea turtle physical exam. Evaluation of the shell is discussed in both cheloniids and leatherbacks (Dermochelys coriacea) as well as assessment of the cardiopulomonary system, skin, long bones and joints, cloaca and tail. Evaluation of the coelom by inguinal palpation is described as well as measurement of body temperature. Specialized testing such as neurologic and in-water examinations are also described. Common physical examination findings like fibropapillomas in green turtles (Chelonia mydas) and epibiota in loggerhead turtles (Caretta caretta) are also discussed. LOGIN to view references.

Article  Video 

Wing Wrap Placement in Birds

Wing injuries may present as a wing droop or an inability to fly. The figure-of-eight bandage, or wing wrap, is the standard method for stabilizing the wing short-term. See the NEW and improved version of LafeberVet’s wing wrap placement video clip.

Article 

Band Removal in Birds

Leg bands are sometimes used for identification of birds. Band removal is indicated as a medical treatment when the band is associated with tissue swelling due to trauma or a build up of keratin. Prophylactic band removal is recommended by some veterinarians because of the danger of the band catching on wire or toys. There is some controversy, however, as to whether bands truly pose a significant risk. Most clinicians agree that closed bands pose less risk of injury compared to…

Article 

Body Condition Scoring in Birds

Body condition scoring or BCS is a useful tool for assessment of a patient’s general health status and evaluation of a patient’s food supply. The BCS system described below is based on scores between 1 and 5, with 1 being emaciated and 5 being obese for the “generic” bird. Currently there is no universally agreed upon BCS system for the avian patient due to…

Article 

Calcium in the Avian Patient

The most widespread mineral in the body, calcium is required for normal metabolism and bone mineralization.

Physiology

Calcium homeostasis is under the control of calcitonin, which is produced by the ultimobranchial gland, vitamin D, and parathyroid hormone. In laying hens, most dietary calcium is used for egg production. Rising estrogen levels promote increased intake of calcium supplements like cuttlefish bone and calcium-rich foods, however the quantity of calcium ingested daily is insufficient for the massive deposition of calcium required for eggshell calcification.

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 

Trauma in Avian Patients

Head trauma may occur when a bird flies into an object such as a window or ceiling fan, or when falls occur secondary to an improper wing trim, neurologic disease, or severe weakness. Evaluate the bird for evidence of head trauma such as blood in the choanal slit, ears, or nares. Gently palpate the skull. A fracture of pneumatic skull bone can allow air to escape creating emphysema. The pupillary light response (PLR) should also be evaluated, although PLR may be absent in birds with a normal reflex path due to avian anatomic differences. Perform a fundic exam, particularly in…

Article  Presenting Problem 

Presenting problem: Fever of Unknown Origin in the Ferret

Disseminated idiopathic myofasciitis (DIM) is a severe inflammatory disease that primarily affects skeletal, smooth, and cardiac muscles as well as surrounding connective tissues. This recently identified disease typically affects young ferrets, less than 18 months of age. The cause of DIM is unknown, but this condition is suspected to be an acquired immune-mediated disease. The onset of DIM is usually acute to subacute, followed by a rapid decline over 12-36 hours. The most prominent clinical signs include a high fever ranging from…

Article 

Intramuscular Injections in the Rabbit

Epaxial musculature is a relatively large in the rabbit, and this muscle mass is a popular site for intramuscular injection in the conscious rabbit. To perform an epaxial injection, select a small-gauge needle (25-27 gauge). An assistant then restrains the rabbit in sternal recumbency with one hand against the rump and another…

Article 

Common Radiographic Findings in the Rabbit

Normal chest radiographs can be challenging to evaluate and easy to over interpret in the rabbit. The thoracic cavity is small relative to the abdomen, and the heart takes up a large portion of the thorax. The cranial border of the heart is less distinct due to the presence of the thymus, which persists throughout the life of the rabbit. The cranial lung lobes are small and are obscured by a wide mediastinum. The caudal lung lobes have a pronounced vasculature. Additionally rapid breathing makes it difficult to obtain an inspiratory film unless the rabbit is anesthetized and intubated.

Article 

Spinal Injuries in Birds

Traumatic injury is the most common reason for admission of wild birds to rehabilitation centers. Spinal injuries in birds are particularly problematic, as they are incredibly difficult to diagnose, localize, and manage.

Unique anatomic features of the avian spine…

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 

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…

Client Education Handout 

Senior Rabbit, Care of the

With proper care, pet rabbits can live long, happy lives. In this client education handout, we explore the aging changes that can be expected in the senior house rabbit including common health problems. Veterinary screening as well as home care of the geriatric rabbit are also explored.

Case Study 

Veterinary Answers Case Study: 8 Year-Old Iguana With Ascending Tail Necrosis

The goal of this case study is to reinforce and highlight common concepts, situations, and presentations that reptile veterinarians encounter on a regular basis, while also expanding knowledge by including content not entirely available in textbooks. This case study is based on a report prepared by Veterinary Answers consultant Dan Johnson, DVM, DABVP (Exotic Companion Mammal). An 8-year old ovariectomized green iguana presents today for gradual onset of ascending tail necrosis (gangrene) over weeks to months…

Article  Presenting Problem 

Presenting problem: Shell Fractures in Chelonians

Shell fractures are one of the more common presentations of order Chelonia to the private exotic animal practitioner. Shell fractures are frequently caused by vehicular trauma, lawn mowers, predation by dogs and raccoons, or drops from balconies or porches.

Often seen as a “chronic” issue, having occurred days before they present, shell fractures need to be treated as an emergency situation and dealt with both as a localized and as a systemic problem. In this presenting problem article, key points of urgent care are described as well as general case management.

Article 

Body Condition Scoring the Rabbit

Depending on breed and gender, body weight can vary widely among adult rabbits. Small breeds like the Netherland dwarf can weigh as little as 1 kg while large to giant breeds can exceed 5 to 7 kg. Many pet rabbits are mixed breeds that fall somewhere in the middle weighing between 2 to 5 kg. Body condition scoring is a technique used to assess body condition in many species. Although no official scoring system exists for rabbits, evaluation of rabbit body condition can be adapted from methods used in cats, dogs, and large animals.

Client Education Handout 

Metabolic Bone Disease in Reptiles and Amphibians

What is metabolic bone disease or nutritional secondary hyperparathyroidism? This educational handout will help the reptile and amphibian owner understand this common problem from the underlying cause and signs of illness to the testing and treatment commonly recommended by your veterinarian.

Article  Quiz 

Understanding the Chelonian Shell

The shell is a bony structure unique to order Chelonia. No other animal, living or extinct, has its body enclosed within a bony shell similarly constructed in its entirety. LafeberVet’s “Understanding the Chelonian Shell” describes pertinent shell vocabulary terms and explores shell function, morphology, growth, and pathology.

Article 

The Snapping Turtle – Tips for the Practitioner

At the Ontario Turtle Conservation Centre, previously the Kawartha Turtle Trauma Centre, we encourage private practices, emergency clinics, and rehabilitation centers to aid in the initial treatment of these injured turtles. We admit turtles from across the province, and it is extremely beneficial to the turtle to get immediate care locally before transfer. Snapping turtles are incredible in their ability to heal (albeit slowly!) and we cannot stress enough that the injuries can appear horrific, and yet can go on to heal, with subsequent release of the turtle back into the wild…

Article  Video 

Administration of Medication in Reptiles

Reptile owners are routinely instructed on oral or intramuscular drug administration techniques for outpatient care. In many instances and in many species, parenteral injections are preferred over the oral route. Injectable medications can be delivered intramuscularly, subcutaneously, intracoelomically, intravenously, or…

Article 

World Lion Day Facts

World Lion Day is August 10 and LafeberVet celebrated on Twitter in 2014. Explore our collection of “Felidae-friendly” facts expanded for this post.

Article  Presenting Problem 

Presenting problem: Trauma in Ferrets

Ferrets are small, flexible, mischievous, and curious. This combination means that traumatic injury is a common problem, particularly when owners do not supervise their pets or “ferret proof” their living quarters. For instance, reclining chairs have been implicated in the injury and even death of many ferrets. Ferrets may also be accidentally stepped on or become trapped within a confined space. Trauma can result in a constellation of injuries that may affect the head, thorax, abdomen, spine, and limbs.

Article  Video 

Intramuscular Injections in Birds

Intramuscular injections in birds are given into the pectoral muscle mass, which consists of superficial and deep pectoral muscles with a prominent fascial plane in between.

Article 

Avian Anatomy Diagrams

LafeberVet’s collection of avian anatomical diagrams features the beak and eye, various images illustrating plumage and topography, as well as the musculoskeletal system.