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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.
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.
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.
Thank you for attending The Avian Neurologic Exam presented by Dr. Susan Orosz, sponsored by the Lafeber Company Student Program, and hosted by LafeberVet.
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.
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…
Because of a lack of identified blood groups in companion bird species, compatibility for transfusion is based on the use of major and minor cross matches. A major cross match is performed by mixing donor red cells with recipient plasma and a minor cross match uses recipient cells and donor plasma. The appearance of agglutination or cell lysis indicates incompatibility.
Unlike mammals, a single transfusion between different bird species can be safe and efficacious. Transfusions will be most effective if the donor is…
Although hematology and biochemistry are an important part of the clinical picture in the avian patient, this bloodwork remains just ‘part of the picture’. All too often, when a clinician is unfamiliar with a species, the reaction is often to rely on laboratory results to hang a diagnosis upon. Although we have all been guilty of this, such an approach is inappropriate. For each sick bird, the following diagnostic tools should be applied: complete history, visual examination of the bird and its environment, physical examination, clinical pathology sample collection (blood, feces, swabs, aspirates, etc.), and radiography.
White blood cells are similar to mammalian lines, except that mammalian neutrophils are replaced with heterophils and mammalian platelets are replaced with thromobocytes. There are significant variations in normal differentials among avian species, in particular the total white cell count and…
Regardless of the initial cause of illness or injury, neonatal psittacine birds often develop secondary bacterial and/or fungal infections that can become serious primary problems. These infections are most commonly encountered within the gastrointestinal tract.
Guinea pigs tend to be shy, sweet-natured creatures. Guinea pigs are prey species. Their survival depends on the ability to be alert and respond quickly, and they possess acute senses of smell and hearing. Approach guinea pigs in a calm, quiet manner…
Rabbits are prey species. Their survival depends on the ability to be alert and respond quickly, and they possess acute senses of smell and hearing. Approach rabbits in a calm, quiet manner. Stressed or critically ill rabbits may not tolerate prolonged handling. Evaluation and treatment may need to proceed slowly in stages.
Small mammals, such as rabbits and rodents, are stoic by nature and have evolved to mask their illness to avoid predation. This behavior can create a false sense of security in owners and a clinical challenge for veterinarians. In some cases, an animal that appears clinically normal may in fact have a terminal illness. Use hematology and biochemistry analysis to characterize the true physiological status of these species and aid in disease diagnosis.
What is atherosclerosis?
Atherosclerosis is characterized by fibrous plaques between the tunica intima and the internal elastic lamina of the vasculature. The heart, great vessels, and peripheral vessels of all sizes can be affected. Atherosclerosis begins with the formation of fatty streaks, which can eventually progress into fibrous plaques and complicated lesions…
Abnormal urine in the rabbit typically appears white and chalky or pigmented. These changes can be related to the unique metabolism of calcium in the rabbit. Rabbits absorb nearly all calcium ingested; therefore blood levels vary substantially with the calcium content of the diet…
There is no cure for insulinoma. If the ferret lives long enough, eventually it will reach a point where clinical signs cannot be controlled and euthanasia will need to be selected to address quality of life issues.
Lymphoma is one of the most commonly diagnosed diseases in the domestic ferret. In one large study by Li et al, lymphoma was the third most common neoplasm seen in 574 ferrets after adrenal disease and insulinoma. Although a possible retroviral etiology has been proposed, no virus has yet been identified.
The average small animal veterinarian may easily become comfortable with ferrets. Ferrets are hardy and relatively stoic, and as members of the order Carnivora, ferrets are predator species that approach the world in a manner similar to cats and dogs. A relatively small number of medical problems are seen very commonly in ferrets. Careful study of these conditions and attention to the unique aspects of ferret anatomy and behavior will prepare the veterinarian for basic emergency care of the ferret.
Cystocentesis may be performed in the conscious rabbit, however it is not unusual for the rabbit to jump or flinch strongly when the needle enters the abdomen. In some individuals, it may help to restrain the rabbit in dorsal recumbency while the nose or head is stroked. If the rabbit resists manual restraint or is particularly high strung or nervous, then sedation or general anesthesia is indicated.
Heavy metal poisoning in birds most commonly occurs from ingestion of substances containing lead, or less commonly zinc. Acute heavy metal toxicity is occasionally seen in companion parrots that ingest or chew on objects containing metal because of their curious nature and innate desire to forage. Chronic lead poisoning most frequently affects free-ranging wildlife such as ducks, geese, swans and loons and is most commonly seen during migration in the late fall and early spring. Lead toxicity also occasionally occurs in upland game birds such as mourning doves, wild turkey, pheasants and quail. Lead poisoning has also been reported in raptors, presumably from the ingestion of lead-contaminated prey.
Although the medical approach to anemia is the same as in dogs & cats, some red cell parameters and some differentials differ in the ferret.
The ferret with moderate to severe anemia will exhibit pallor of the mucous membranes, nasal planum and skin. If a clotting disorder exists, petechial, ecchymotic and purpural hemorrhages can also be observed. The owner may complain of lethargy and reduced activity.
Common reproductive conditions of the reptile include prolapse of the cloaca, oviduct or copulatory organ, yolk coelomitis, dystocia or egg binding, as well as follicular stasis. This review article on twelve key facts explores clinically relevant anatomy and physiology and appropriate husbandry as well as key points of urgent care and general principles of case management.
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…
This case study is based on a report prepared by Veterinary Answers Consultant, Gwen Flinchum, DVM, Dipl. ABVP (Avian). A 5-year old female umbrella cockatoo is presented for lethargy, open-mouthed breathing, and difficulty gripping of 2-3 days duration.
Looking for a list of education resources on herptile medicine? Review this list of books and journals.
Electrophoretic patterns among avian species have been found to be quite different from those seen in mammals. The protein electrophoresis patterns of psittacine species that have been studied generally include the presence of prealbumin in many species, lower normal concentrations of gamma-globulin, and increases in the…
Why is this bird bleeding? Anticoagulant rodenticide exposure in birds of prey has been documented in the United States, Canada, and Europe. Anticoagulant rodenticides have been commonly used over the past decades for control of rodent populations and these rodenticides can cause toxicosis in birds of prey via consumption of poisoned prey.
Anticoagulant rodenticides are divided into two categories: first generation rodenticides like warfarin and second generation rodenticides, such as brodifacoum. Second generation anticoagulant rodenticides are more toxic and also have…
Hemorrhage in the critical patient can occur from a number of reasons. Before a blood sample is collected, carefully weigh the risk to the exotic animal patient against the clinical value of the test results. What will you do with this information? How will it affect your clinical plan? EDTA is the most commonly used anticoagulant in small mammals; lithium heparin is commonly used in birds and reptiles. Whenever possible, make a blood film immediately after venipuncture using fresh blood free of anticoagulant. Most adult small mammal hematocrits range from…
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…