M. Scott Echols, DVM, DABVP (Avian Practice)

Dr. Echols was the presenter of the web-based seminar Grey Parrot Anatomy Project and the RACE-approved presentation Foraging and Enrichment. Dr. Echols is also the videographer, editor, and producer of LafeberVet Emergency and Critical Care Video Clips as well as…

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  Video  Webinar 

Grey Parrot Anatomy Project Veterinary Webinar

When Dr. Michelle Hawkins of the Companion Exotic Animal Medicine & Surgery Service of the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine expressed interest in an encore presentation of the Grey Parrot Anatomy Project for veterinary medical students, Dr. M. Scott Echols and LafeberVet were happy to oblige. Veterinary medical educators and their students were invited to attend this free, interactive, web-based seminar featuring incredible avian anatomy images, video clips that enhance our understanding of anatomy, and an exciting research update…

Article 

Fluid Administration in Reptiles

The basic principles of fluid therapy are the same in the reptile as seen in birds and mammals, however reptile anatomy and physiology make some features of this crucial supportive care procedure unique. This article reviews fluid resuscitation with the use of crystalloid fluids and colloids, indications for replacement fluids including signs of dehydration and osmolarity values reported in reptiles. Routes of fluid administration in reptiles are described include subcutaneous, oral, soaking, intracoelomic, intraosseous, and intravenous via the cephalic vein, jugular vein, and in rare instances intracardiac catheter placement. Patient monitoring, including blood pressure measurement and signs of overhydration, are also explored.

Video  Webinar 

Foraging and Enrichment Webinar

Enrichment has become a common term when describing proper care of captive animals. The recording of this R.A.C.E.-approved web-based seminar exposes viewers to the importance of enrichment and how its proper implementation can be highly variable between and within species. Video examples of multiple animal species will be used to highlight concepts of enrichment. Basic principles will be highlighted with the end goal to get people to start thinking about ways to enrich the lives of captive animals, including birds.

Article  Video 

Catheters in Reptiles

Fluid therapy is an important part of supportive care, and there are several routes available for fluid support in the reptile. Subcutaneous and/or oral fluids are appropriate for mild to moderate dehydration, while intracoelomic, intravenous, or intraosseous fluids are administered to critically ill reptiles or to patients with moderate to severe dehydration.

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  Video 

Esophagostomy Tube Placement in the Ferret

Esophagostomy tube placement is an excellent choice for nutritional support of the debilitated small mammal patient requiring long-term feeding or for individuals that have suffered major orofacial trauma. Use this video clip or text with still images to review this important technique in the ferret.

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Yearly Checkup: Promote Exotic Pet Annual Exams

Too many exotic pets miss their yearly checkups. This video clip promotes the importance of preventive health care for special species. Copy and paste the embed code for this video clip to your own hospital webpage. This free resource can be posted to most websites and most web browsers.

Article  Video 

Intravenous Catheter Placement in Small Mammals

Intravenous catheters are commonly placed in ferrets and rabbits to administer fluids and medications, induce anesthesia, and for delivery of analgesic drugs during and after surgery. Intravenous catheters are also placed with growing frequency in chinchillas, guinea pigs and other small exotic companion mammals. Use this video clip or text with still images to review patient selection, potential complications, equipment needed and step-by-step instructions for this technique, as well as daily fluid requirements, catheter maintenance, and patient monitoring.

Article  Video 

Oral Examination in Rabbits and Rodents

A wide range of dental abnormalities may be seen in rabbits, guinea pigs and chinchillas including incisor and cheek teeth malocclusion. Evaluation of the oral cavity is considered an essential part of the complete physical examination in small exotic companion mammals, both symptomatic and clinically normal individuals alike. Use this video clip or article with still images to review equipment needed as well chemical and manual restraint techniques for extraoral and intraoral exams.

Article  Product information  Video 

Lafeber in the Field: Stick-A-Roos at Zoo Atlanta

Lafeber Company’s work isn’t always tied to our family farm and production facility. Lafeber Company has worked with Atlanta Zoo veterinarian, Dr. Samuel Rivera, to create Stick-A-Roos (Stickaroos), a diet designed for use in interactive parakeet and cockatiel aviaries. Stick-A-Roos provide maintenance nutrition and foraging enrichment.

Article  Video 

Blood Collection in Rabbits

The rabbit has a relatively short prothrombin time and whole blood quickly clots at room temperature. To minimize the risk of clot formation, it can be helpful to pre-heparinize the needle and syringe by drawing heparin into the needle and expelling the excess from the hub. The total volume of blood that can be safely collected typically ranges from 0.5% to 1.0% body weight. Collect smaller volumes from geriatric patients or those suspected to have anemia or hypoproteinemia.

Use this video clip or article with still images to review equipment needed, and potential venipuncture sites including the jugular vein, lateral saphenous vein, and ear vessels.

Article  Presenting Problem  Video 

Presenting problem: Broken Blood Feather

Why is a broken blood feather an emergency? When the blood feather breaks, the feather shaft acts like a straw making the vessels bleed much longer than they would otherwise due to capillary action. The degree of blood loss can be significant, particularly in small birds. Use this video clip or article with still images to review the basic structure of the blood feather, key points of urgent care as well as follow-up care.

Article  Video 

Intravenous Catheter Placement in the Bird

Fluid therapy is a vital part of avian medicine, and appropriate administration of fluids is essential. Intravenous catheters are commonly used intraoperatively or in more stable hospitalized patients. Unfortunately intravenous catheter placement in birds can be challenging. The veins can be difficult to access and the vessels are also prone to hematoma formation.

Use this video clip or text with still images to review the equipment needed, the technique involved, and potential venipuncture sites including the jugular vein, medial metatarsal vein and basilic or ulnar vein.

Article  Video 

Syringe Feeding the Ferret

Loss of appetite is a common finding in the sick ferret and nutritional support is often required. Ferrets with insulinoma may also require regular assist feedings to help maintain normal blood glucose levels. Fortunately syringe feeding the ferrets is a relatively straightforward process. The short, simple gut of the ferret has only a limited ability to absorb nutrients. So even healthy ferrets require a highly digestible diet. Use this video or article to review the equipment needed and the technique involved.

Article  Video 

Ferret Restraint

Pet ferrets are easily handled using minimal restraint and a little petting. And with the exception of nursing females, ferrets rarely bite although young ferrets or “kits” may nip. Manual restraint is required for these lively, active creatures during uncomfortable procedures like obtaining a rectal temperature or during procedures that call for the animal to remain still like abdominal palpation. Use this video clip or text with still images to review handling techniques such as scruffing and stretching.

Article  Quiz  Video 

Rabbit Restraint

Rabbits possess a relatively lightweight, delicate skeleton paired with extremely strong, well-developed back and leg muscles. If improper restraint allows the rabbit to struggle or kick powerfully, they are in danger of breaking their back or a leg. Use this video clip or text with still images to review the equipment needed and techniques involved in rabbit handling and restraint.

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Urethral Catheterization in Male Ferrets

Urethral catheterization of the male ferret is challenging due to the animal’s small size and J-shaped os penis, however the principles of catheterization as well as monitoring during catheter placement are essentially the same as in the domestic cat. Use this video or the article with still images to review equipment needed, potential complications and the steps involved in this critical care technique.

Article  Video 

Subcutaneous Fluids in Birds

The subcutaneous route is the most common method of fluid administration in the avian patient. Subcutaneous fluids are an excellent way to provide maintenance fluids or to correct mild dehydration in birds. This video clip and article with still images describe the equipment needed and the technique involved in this supportive care procedure.

Fluids are most commonly given in the inguinal space (crural patagium). With the bird secured by an assistant, have them extend one of the bird’s legs out and to one side. Wet down the area on the inner thigh to see the skin better at a point about halfway between…

Article  Video 

Passerine Handling and Restraint

Manual restraint is required for virtually any medical procedure in the songbird or passerine. Warn owners of the inherent risk of handling the critically ill bird. Minimize handling time so the bird does not overheat or become overly distressed, and monitor the bird closely for any change in strength, breathing, or attitude. Use this video clip or text with still images to review equipment needed as well as handling and restraint techniques.

Article  Video 

Intraosseous Catheter Placement in the Bird

Fluid therapy is indicated in critical patients including exotic animals. Vascular access can be extremely difficult or even impossible during shock, making intraosseous or IO catheterization necessary in the bird. Fortunately fluids and medications given through IO catheters are immediately taken up into the vasculature. The distal ulna is the site of choice for intraosseous catheter placement in the bird.

Article  Video 

Intraosseous Catheter Placement in Small Mammals

Fluid therapy is an important part of supportive care in the critical patient. When intravenous catheter placement fails or when veins are too small or too fragile, an intraosseous or IO catheter is an excellent option in exotic companion mammals. Use this video or text with still images to review equipment needed, potential complications, as well as the technique for intraosseous catheter placement in small mammals.

Article  Video 

Parrot Handling and Restraint

Manual restraint and handling is required for most medical procedures in the companion parrot, also known as the psittacine or hookbill. Warn owners of the inherent risk of handling the critically ill bird and minimize handling time so the bird does not overheat or become overly distressed. Also monitor the bird closely for any change in strength, breathing, or attitude. Parrot handling also carries potential risk for veterinary medical staff since even friendly birds may bite if they feel threatened.

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Tube Feeding Birds

Tube feeding, also known as gavage feeding, is an essential part of avian supportive care. Sick birds are often presented with a history of anorexia and glycogen stores may be depleted within hours in small species with relatively high metabolic rates. Another important indication for gavage feeding is a documented drop in body weight of 5% to 10%.

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Oral Drug Administration in Birds

Oral drug administration in birds can be a fairly straightforward process that works quite well for small doses. Use this video and text with still images to review the equipment needed as well as the technique involved in per os dosing for the veterinary avian patient.

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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.

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Nutritional Support in Reptiles

Nutritional support is indicated in reptiles with a 10% drop in body weight, and force-feeding is sometimes indicated with a history of anorexia. Interpretation of anorexia can be difficult in some reptiles, particularly snakes and chelonians. Never rush to feed a reptile. The patient must first be warm, housed at its preferred optimal temperature zone, and must be adequately hydrated.

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Chinchilla Restraint

Chinchillas, like many small exotic mammals, are prey species that can become easily stressed in a hospital setting. Approach these patients calmly and quietly. Fortunately most pet chinchillas are relatively docile. They are typically used to being handled and will often come out of their cage voluntarily. Use this video and text with still images to review the cautions or potential complications of chinchilla restraint and handling well as the technique involved.

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Foraging as a Means of Behavior Modification

Foraging is the act of searching for and finding food. Many wild birds spend more than 50% of their day foraging and feeding, particularly in the morning and evening. Because foraging occupies a significant portion of a bird’s daily activity, it likely has social and behavioral importance.

Bird behaviors can be divided into four categories: foraging, socialization, grooming or self-preening, and sleeping or resting. In a captive situation, normal behaviors are likely disrupted including foraging. If the ability to forage is removed, that leaves socializing, grooming, and rest…