Welcome to LafeberVet’s Rabbit Basics Teaching Module. Level 1 is designed to provide information that the veterinary health professional should know before laying hands on the rabbit patient, including common rabbit breeds, clinically relevant anatomy, behavior, and husbandry.
Key points of rabbit husbandry are summarized in this brief Rabbit Husbandry Basics slideshow, designed to serve as a quick clinical refresher for the veterinary health professional. Review the slideshow or read the more detailed Basic Rabbit Care client education handout to review diet, housing, including “bunny proofing”, as well as handling tips for the house rabbit owner.
Save the Date for a continuing education webinar presented by Dario d’Ovidio, DVM, MS, SpecPACS, DECZM (Small Mammals) RACE-approved for 1 hour of continuing education.
A dedicated anesthetist should be assigned to monitor every patient during the perianesthetic period. The anesthetist is fundamental to patient safety because she assures the patient is not aware, not moving, and not in pain, all while maintaining stable anesthetic depth. A deep plane of anesthesia can lead to hypoventilation and hypoxemia, reduced cardiac output, hypotension, inadequate tissue perfusion, central nervous system (CNS) depression, and prolonged recovery. This review article first explores the stages of anesthesia and then discusses assessment of anesthetic depth in exotic companion mammals, birds, and reptiles.
Upon completion of this RACE-approved learning aid, the participant will have a basic clinical understanding of anesthetic monitoring of exotic animal patients: birds, exotic companion mammals, and reptiles.
Many LafeberVet resources can serve as a useful clinical refresher for veterinary technicians or as a learning aid for students of veterinary technology, including educational videos, RACE-approved webinar recordings, teaching modules, and a variety of articles.
Ocular problems are common in both laboratory and pet rabbits ( Oryctolagus cuniculus), and disease of the nasolacrimal duct is one of the most frequently reported ocular diseases in rabbits. This review article features a brief video illustrating this clinical technique plus step-by-step guidance as well as clinically relevant anatomy and recommendations for diagnosis and treatment of dacryocystitis.
Both males and female pigs possess modified upper and lower canine teeth or tusks, however, the tusks of the male retain an open root that allows these teeth to grow throughout life. Tusks can become long and extremely sharp and trims may be necessary to prevent injury to humans, other animals, household furniture, flooring, or even the pig itself. This brief article discusses relevant anatomy, equipment needed, potential complications, sedation, and step-by-step advice for successfully completing this clinical technique.
Hooves that are not maintained can overgrow and curl, resulting in pain, difficulty walking, and damage to the soft tissue structures of the foot. The medial and lateral digits, that do not contact the ground much, will grow long and require trimming in all pet pigs. Therefore most pigs require hoof trims every 6-12 months. This brief article discusses relevant anatomy, equipment needed, potential complications, sedation, and step-by-step advice for successfully completing this clinical technique.
Lafeber Company was proud to sponsor the 2020 Association of Exotic Mammal Veterinarians Student Case Report Contest. Veterinary students from all over the world were encouraged to write a 2-page case report about an exotic companion mammal seen at their college of veterinary medicine or during a clinical experience. Submissions closed in March and judges from the Research Committee evaluated the 15 case reports received from eight countries. Judges were blinded to the students, mentors, co-authors, and institutions at which the cases were seen. Read the brief summaries of each winning case report.
According to LitCovid, an open-resource literature hub developed with the support of the US National Institute of Health, over 14,000 relevant articles have been posted to PubMed on the 2019 novel coronavirus. Thousands more articles are available as pre-prints. Obviously this explosion of information can be intimidating for the busy veterinarian, but you can use the national and international resources (listed in Table) to stay current on the latest information. Then turn to this review article and our supplemental LafeberVet Literature Search as well as LafeberVet’s Coronavirus in Animals and Determinants of Viral Infectionto dive a bit deeper into our evolving knowledge of SARS-CoV-2.
Over 14,000 articles have been posted to PubMed on the 2019 novel coronavirus, known as SARS-CoV-2. Thousands more articles are available as pre-prints. Obviously this explosion of information can be intimidating for the busy veterinarian, but you can use the resources listed in Table 1 to stay current on the latest information. Then turn to […]
Coronaviruses are a large group of viruses named for the crown-like spike proteins on their surface. Coronaviruses cause disease in humans and animals, often circulating among camels, cats, and bats. Ferrets are susceptible to infection by the SARS coronavirus (SARS-COv-1), but pathogenicity and host susceptibility can differ based on the viral infective dose and laboratory SARS coronavirus strain. Studies are ongoing to investigate the respiratory pathology and transmission of COVID-19 (SARS-CoV-2) in experimental ferrets.
What determines the viral host range?
One of the critical determinants of viral host range is the interaction between the coronavirus spike (S) protein (Fig 1) and the host cell receptor. Angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2), a receptor for the attachment and uptake of the coronavirus that caused Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS-CoV-1), is widely expressed […]
Blood collection in miniature pigs can be a challenge. Peripheral veins are not readily accessible and some vessels, such as the auricular vein, are inadequate for obtaining sufficient volumes. The radial vein is located along the medial aspect of the forelimb. This vessel is relatively straight and generally superficial.
The term “miniature pig” is used to describe a variety of smaller pig breeds as well as crossbreeds. There are at least 14 recognized breeds of miniature pigs, including the Vietnamese potbellied pig, the Juliana pig, the KuneKune, and others. This information sheet reviews natural history and taxonomy, as well as a number of clinically relevant information including (but not limited to) diet, housing, behavior, normal physiologic data and anatomy, restraint, preventive medicine, zoonoses, and important medical conditions seen in the mini pig. Login to view references.
Miniature pigs reach half their adult weight (32-68 kg) by about 1 year of age and will continue to grow until 3-4 years of age. Pigs easily gain weight and obesity is a very common problem in pet pigs, especially when animals are fed free-choice and not exercised. The risk of obesity in pet pigs can be minimized with client education on body condition scoring as well as regular weighing.
Lafeber Company was proud to sponsor the Association of Exotic Mammal Veterinarians Student Case Report Contest. Veterinary students from all over the world were encouraged to write a 2-page case report about an exotic companion mammal seen at their college of veterinary medicine or during a clinical experience. Submissions closed March 22 and judges from the Research Committee evaluated the 14 case reports received. Judges were blinded to the students, mentors, co-authors, and institutions at which the cases were seen. See the brief summaries of each winning case report. Each student has been encouraged to submit their paper for publishing and for a presentation at ExoticsCon 2020.
View the recording of this interactive, case-based presentation, which aims to cover the basics while also offering helpful tips, tricks, and insights for the experienced rehabilitator or veterinarian. Topics covered include wildlife rehabilitation fundamentals, emergency triage as it applies to wildlife care, and guidelines used to assess patient condition and determine the most humane treatment plan.
Mini pigs remain a surprisingly common pet, with a resurgence in popularity every few years. Owners typically have a “small animal mindset”, and as such, seek like-minded veterinarians, but lack of training and paucity of resources leads many veterinarians to shy away from these unique pets. This recording of the live, interactive webinar reviews handling and restraint as well as routine veterinary procedures, from physical examination, vaccination, and nutrition to therapeutics such as hoof trim, tusk trim, and deworming protocols.
This free, R.A.C.E.-approved continuing education webinar, Emergency and Critical Care of Rabbits, was presented by Charly Pignon, DVM, DECZM (Small Mammal) on November 7, 2018. Lecture topics of this webinar recording include emergency triage, cardiopulmonary resuscitation, analgesia, fluid therapy, and critical care nutrition.
The Virginia opossum is the only marsupial native to North America. This New World species is correctly called an “opossum” as opposed to the Old World “possum”. This information sheet reviews natural history, conservation status, and taxonomy, as well as a number of clinically relevant information including (but not limited to) diet, housing, behavior, normal physiologic data and anatomy, restraint, preventive medicine, zoonoses, and important medical conditions seen in the opossum.
Lafeber Company was proud to serve as the sponsor of an Association of Exotic Mammal Veterinarians Student Case Report Contest…
AEMV-Lafeber Case Report: Pituitary-Dependent Hyperadrenocorticism and Cholangiohepatitis in a Guinea Pig
A 3-year old intact male guinea pig was presented on emergency for suspected bloat and with a history of chronic hair loss. Clinical examination revealed non-pruritic symmetric truncal alopecia, thin skin, severe cachexia, and an abdominal fluid wave. Alkaline phosphatase, alanine transaminase, aspartate aminotransferase, gamma-glutamyl transferase, leukocytes (neutrophils), bilirubin, and serum cortisol were markedly elevated. Abdominal ultrasonography revealed peritoneal effusion, cholestasis, and cholelithiasis. Hyperadrenocorticism was diagnosed based on…
An adult intact female guinea pig was presented with dysorexia, exhaustion and weight loss. Radiographic and ultrasound findings demonstrated a severe gas dilatation of the stomach, severe gallbladder distension, and abnormalities on the organ topography. On laparotomy, a 180-degree gastric dilatation and volvulus was noticed with a gallbladder obstruction, hepatic lipidosis, and adhesions between the bowels…
An eleven year old male neutered rex rabbit presented with lethargy and inappetence of two days duration, and an acute episode of vestibular ataxia. Anemia and elevations in plasma alkaline phosphatase and alanine aminotransferase were evident. Abdominal ultrasound revealed questionable, diffuse hepatomegaly. Computed tomography revealed hepatic venous congestion, severe dilation of the pre-hepatic caudal vena cava, and bicavitary effusion, consistent with Budd-Chiari-like syndrome. Turbulent blood flow within the dilated segment of the caudal vena cava was present on spectral Doppler evaluation. Fine needle aspirate and cytology of the liver revealed necrosis with no evidence of infectious organisms…
AEMV-Lafeber Case Report: Multiple Drug Resistant Staphylococcus Infection, Post Spay in a Domestic Rabbit
A female, spayed miniature lop rabbit presented 1-week post spay with marked subcutaneous swelling along the entire length of the surgical incision. Subsequent debridement of the abscess and closure of the incision site was somewhat unsuccessful, with the patient returning for another debridement procedure, after which the wound was left open for continued flushing and debridement. Culture and sensitivity of the purulent material grew a multi-drug resistant Coagulase-positive Staphylococcus.
Two guinea pigs suspected of having hyperthyroidism based on weight loss, presence of a cervical mass, and elevated total thyroxine (TT4) levels were confirmed to have active thyroid masses via scintigraphy with Technetium-99 and treated with radioactive iodine therapy (I¹³¹). Both patients responded initially with weight gain and a decrease in the TT4. The purpose of this case series is to describe the use of scintigraphy to aid in confirming a diagnosis of hyperthyroidism, as well as to show the benefits and effectiveness of using radioactive iodine therapy (I¹³¹) to treat hyperthyroidism in guinea pigs in order to provide the best treatment protocol.
A 1-year-old female intact lionhead rabbit was referred for a history of hematuria, bloody vaginal discharge, anorexia, and lethargy unresponsive to antibiotics and anti-inflammatory medications. Based upon physical examination, radiographs and abdominal ultrasonography a uterine mass was suspected. Severe regenerative anemia secondary to blood loss was diagnosed and the rabbit was administered a whole blood transfusion prior to surgical intervention. Abdominal exploratory with ovariohysterectomy revealed…
Capnometry measures the maximum value of carbon dioxide (CO2) obtained at the end of expiration or end-tidal carbon dioxide (ETCO2). There is good correlation between ETCO2 and arterial CO2 in birds and mammals and capnography can be used as a reliable tool to evaluate the adequacy of ventilation in these species. Capnography can only be used to identify trends in reptiles because of cardiac shunting of blood past the reptilian lungs.
Even the most steadfast and seasoned veterinary anesthetist can find themselves intimidated by exotic animal patients. Standard veterinary anesthesia monitors are not designed to read the extremely high (or extremely low) heart rates and respiratory rates of some exotic animal patients. Despite these challenges, valuable information can be gathered from monitoring tools as well as hands-on techniques. Essential vital signs, such as heart rate and rhythm, respiratory rate and depth, body temperature, and mucous membrane color should all be evaluated.
Arterial blood pressure is a function of heart rate, blood volume, stroke volume, and arterial compliance. Indirect arterial blood pressure is most commonly measured by Doppler ultrasound or non-invasive oscillometric monitors. What are the limitations of indirect blood pressure measurements in exotic animal patients? How is this technique unique in exotic companion mammals when compared to dogs and cats? How is this technique performed in birds and can this procedure be used in reptiles?
Electrocardiography can be used to detect and diagnose arrhythmias and conduction abnormalities, particularly during long-term anesthesia. How are leads attached to exotic animal patients? And what is the normal appearance of normal electrocardiogram tracings in birds or reptiles?
Heart rate and oxygenation should ideally be monitored during every anesthetic event. Patient size can limit the accuracy of pulse oximetry readings in exotic companion mammals and this technique has not been validated in birds or reptiles, however trends during the course of anesthesia can still provide useful clues to patient clinical status.
The guinea pig is a gentle, highly social rodent, that commonly serves as a companion animal and an experimental model in North America and Europe. Food preferences are established early in life, and a guinea pig can refuse to eat if their food type or presentation is changed. For this reason, small mammal veterinarians recommend exposing juvenile guinea pigs to a variety of chows and vegetables. Guinea pigs also do not tolerate environmental changes well. When exposed to something perceived as dangerous, the response of the guinea pig is generally to freeze, or less commonly flight.
The guinea pig is a popular companion animal and a common research model. Guinea pigs are useful in reproductive studies because they share many reproductive traits with human beings. This article reviews anatomy and physiology of the guinea pig reproductive tract and summarizes some clinically significant medical problems.
Guinea pigs are small, docile rodents, that must be approached with great care. Accurate evaluation of patient health status requires a thorough history, careful visual examination, and a detailed physical examination. Like most prey species, the guinea pig frequently hides signs of pain and illness. To improve clinical success, take measures to minimize stress by maintaining the animal in a quiet exam room and approaching the patient in a slow, quiet manner. The hospitalized guinea pig can also benefit greatly from the presence of a bonded cage mate. Monitor appetite and eliminations carefully in the guinea pig, and offer the same diet as fed in the patient’s home whenever possible as guinea pigs establish strong food preferences early in life.
Dystocia is defined as the inability of a sow to deliver her litter normally. In breeding colonies, maternal mortality and loss of the pup is an important and common problem in the guinea pig. This review article discusses the pathogenesis of disease, gestation and parturition, important differential diagnoses, diagnostics, therapy, prognosis, neonatal care, and prevention. There is also a brief quiz to reinforce learning.
This learning aid is designed to assist the participant in meeting the needs of VECCS-certified facility. The basics of emergency medicine and critical care universal, however veterinarians face a unique set of challenges when caring for birds, exotic companion mammals, and reptiles. Level 1 of this teaching module reviews the basics of exotic animal critical care. To learn more in Level 2, review the key points on critical care or supportive care for each taxonomic group: birds, exotic companion mammals, and reptiles. Each summary page includes a brief quiz that tests your knowledge and reinforces fundamental principles. Delve deeper into critical care of exotic animal patients in Level 3 by browsing pertinent exotic animal content on LafeberVet.
Basic equipment for high-quality exotic companion mammal practice focuses on supportive care, such as fluid therapy, appropriate housing and nutritional support, as well as equipment needed for physical examination and basic techniques. This detailed equipment list also includes supplies recommended for surgical and anesthetic procedures as well as advanced diagnostic techniques.
There is little empirical information available on cardiopulmonary resuscitation in most exotic animals. Fortunately, the basic principles of CPR are the same for all species, however there are important species-specific considerations. This review article explores techniques for establishing airway control, ventilation and cardiac compression recommendations as well as considerations for emergency drug selection.
Although the principles of emergency medicine critical care are universal for all species, this approach must be balanced with an understanding of the unique aspects of small mammal medicine. Use this summary page to review the basic approach to the exotic companion mammal patient and select additional links to supplement your knowledge base.
Although patient history is important in all species, improper diet and substandard housing are often major contributors to illness in non-traditional pets. This means that a detailed and accurate history is often one of the most critical diagnostic tools for the exotic animal patient. This review focuses on birds, reptiles, and small exotic companion mammals, beginning with the signalment and presenting complaint, before moving onto the environmental history, dietary history, and of course the medical history.
The approach to analgesia and sedation in exotic companion mammals faces special challenges, including small patient size and unique features of the prey species mentality. Recognition of pain is more difficult in rabbits and rodents because many small mammals are very good at hiding the signs of pain commonly observed in predator species. Instead pain in a rabbit or rodent is often inferred from the patient’s clinical condition as well as the absence of normal behaviors. The diagnostic and therapeutic plan frequently requires some form of chemical restraint in exotic mammal medicine. When compared to general anesthesia, sedation is a safer option for the debilitated or critically ill small mammal.
Get ready now to care for exotic pets during an accident or natural catastrophe that causes great damage or even loss of life, such as blizzard, earthquake, fire, flood, hurricane, mud slide, or tornado. This disaster relief client education handout was revised and posted with permission from “Ready-Pets-Go!” by the Humane Society of Greater Rochester.
Rabbit intubation can be accomplished using either an orotracheal or nasotracheal technique. Both intubation methods can be challenging in rabbit patients and require patience and practice. Nasotracheal intubation may be the preferred approach in situations where maximum access and maneuverability is required in the oral cavity. Nasotracheal intubation is also preferred where an extended recovery is expected.
This presenting problem article reviews the basic approach to the dyspneic ferret beginning with clinical signs of the dyspneic ferret, key points of urgent care, as well as case management. This latter section reviews tips on taking the history, performing the physical exam, important differential diagnoses, as well as the diagnostic/therapeutic approach.
This R.A.C.E.-approved continuing education webinar was presented by Terry Campbell, MS, DVM, PhD. View a recording of this web-based seminar to earn 1 hour of continuing education credit. Cytology is a simple, rapid diagnostic procedure requiring little in terms of equipment and cost to the veterinarian. Most clinical veterinarians are familiar with sample collection techniques for domestic mammals; which also apply to the small exotic mammals. Common cytological specimens used in avian and reptilian medicine include: aspirates, imprints of biopsy material, tracheal washes, crop (ingluvies) aspirates or washes in birds, gastric washes in reptiles, sinus aspirates, lung washes in reptiles, aspiration of coelomic fluid, and fecal smears.
Part of LafeberVet’s Rabbit Basics 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.
The domestic or European rabbit, Oryctolagus cuniculus, is descended from wild rabbits of Europe and northwestern Africa, where free-ranging Oryctolagus are still found. Rabbits come in many different shapes, sizes, and colors. The American Rabbit Breeder Association currently recognizes 49 rabbit breeds, and the number listed by the British Rabbit Council is even higher. Many house rabbits have several different breeds in their background. View this 8-minute slideshow to review common rabbit breeds seen in clinical practice as well as their associated disease predispositions. This slideshow is part of the Rabbit Basics Teaching Module.