What are the basics of avian medicine that a novice veterinary health professional should know before laying hands on the companion parrot patient? Upon completion of this learning aid, the participant will have a basic clinical understanding of avian anatomy, psittacine handling and restraint, history and physical examination, zoonotic concerns, nutrition, basic diagnostic and therapeutic techniques, as well as a few select presenting problems.
This live webinar was presented by Lorenzo Crosta, med Vet, PhD, DECZM, EBVS European Veterinary Specialist in Zoo Health Management. The objective of this presentation was to assist the exotic animal practitioner, with little or no experience in avian neonatology and pediatrics. This presentation discussed the logical diagnostic plan in the young bird. The approach to common pediatric conditions, ranging from developmental and orthopedic problems to common traumatic injuries and infectious diseases, was also explored. Practical clinical examples were presented.
LafeberVet’s list of avian medicine links will assist your navigation of some of the avian medicine resources on LafeberVet. Educate yourself before laying hands on the avian patient by reviewing the basics of avian anatomy and physiology as well as important principles of handling and restraint. Then explore content on the examination and history, behavior, housing and nutrition, as well as supportive care techniques, diagnostics, basic therapeutics, and common presenting problems. Start with content listed in the rows titled, “Begin with…”, then expand your knowledge with other sections, such as “Learn more…”.
Cardiovascular disease commonly occurs in companion birds and poses a serious threat to the quality of life and longevity of many avian species. This live, interactive, RACE-approved webinar was presented by avian veterinarian, Brenna Fitzgerald. Topics discussed include key features of avian cardiovascular anatomy and physiology, risk factors, as well as specific clinical disease states, including atherosclerosis, congestive heart failure, and pericardial disease and effusion. This lecture also reviewed essential elements of a diagnostic workup, and current treatment approaches that can improve longevity and quality of life for these patients.
John Chitty BVetMed CertZooMed MRCVS presented a live, interactive webinar on the unique features of this group of terrestrial Chelonia and how these adaptations to a unique biome affect husbandry and disease investigation. This presentation provides an overview on identification and sexing, captive husbandry, hibernation needs and management, reproduction and follicular stasis, clinical investigations, hospitalization needs, and disease prevention.
View this RACE-approved webinar recording presented by Joanne Sheen BVM&S CertZooMed DABVP (Exotic Companion Mammal Practice): “To Cut or Not to Cut… Decision Making in Rabbit Gastrointestinal Syndrome”. This seminar reviews rabbit gastrointestinal anatomy and physiology as well as the baseline diagnostic workup in RGIS. Treatment is dependent on the underlying etiology. Fluid therapy and analgesia are considered cornerstones in the management of gastrointestinal disease in rabbits, but other specific treatments such as active warming, intestinal promotility agents, antimicrobials, and nutritional support may also be warranted. Surgery may be indicated for some conditions, such as intestinal obstruction, liver lobe torsion, and appendicitis…
Kara M. Burns, MS, MEd, LVT,VTS (Nutrition) presented this distance-learning event for the veterinary medical students at the University of Minnesota College of Veterinary Medicine as part of the Lafeber Company Student Program. View the RACE-approved webinar recording, then take the brief post-test to earn 1 hour of continuing education credit.
The California Veterinary Emergency Team (CVET) Shelter Entrance Avian Examination Form, shared by Dr. Michelle Hawkins, includes entrance exam considerations helpful in a triage situation. This form is divided into four sections: animal and owner information, physical findings, problem list/medication and plan, as well notes.
The 2019/2020 wildfires put the plight of Australian wildlife and the realities of climate change on the international stage. This RACE-approved webinar recording consists of two, 1-hour seminars that explore the impact of Australian bushfires on wildlife. Part 1, presented by Dr Talbot, explores the basics of patient assessment and triage as well as management of pain, smoke inhalation, and burns for the unique species found in Australia. Part 2 summarizes Dr. Campbell-Ward’s research evaluating the key rescue/rehabilitation-related wild animal welfare outcomes and ethical dilemmas encountered during the Australian bushfires.
View this RACE-approved webinar recording “Fowl Detectives: Using Physical Exam & Clinical Signs to Diagnose Poultry Diseases” presented by Teresa Morishita, DVM, PhD, DACPV. This program is approved for 1 hour of continuing credit in jurisdictions that recognize American Association of Veterinary State Boards (AAVSB) Registry of Approved Continuing Education (RACE) approval.
This client education handout reviews the masking phenomenon observed in exotic pets. Why do exotic animals attempt to hide signs of illness or injury and what can the attentive owner do to offset this behavior? This client education handout was awarded second place in the 2021 AEMV Veterinary Technology Contest, sponsored by Lafeber Company.
Krista Keller, DVM, DACZM presented a live, interactive webinar hosted by LafeberVet. View the RACE-approved, 2-hour presentation, then take the quiz to earn continuing education credit. This webinar first explores clinically relevant anatomy and pathogenesis of congenital and acquired disease. Diagnosis is then discussed, including history, the focused, five-part oral examination, as well as skull radiographs and computed tomography. Therapeutic options, such as coronal height reduction, extractions, and options for odontogenic abscessation, are then presented.
An 8-month old female veiled chameleon presents for a 3-day duration of anorexia and lethargy. Use history, physical examination findings, laboratory results and survey radiographs to solve this case challenge.
The postmortem exam is a key diagnostic tool used to understand the reasons for the animal’s antemortem clinical compromise and/or cause of death. A necropsy can also provide valuable information to benefit other animals in a population and it can also help provide closure for a grieving owner.
Materials required for a complete necropsy include a […]
View the RACE-approved webinar recording, presented by Douglas Whiteside, DVM, DVSc, DACZM, DECZM (Zoo Health Management). Topics covered include clinically relevant anatomy and physiology, obtaining a detailed history, triage and emergency therapies, clinical examination, diagnostic testing, analgesia, nutritional support, hospitalization, and euthanasia.
Husbandry-related conditions are very common in reptiles, and nutritional secondary hyperparathyroidism is frequently recognized in clinical practice. The discussion portion of this Case Challenge reviews pathogenesis, history, examination findings, and diagnostic test results with radiography, and clinical pathology. Key points of case management are explored, including correction of husbandry and dietary factors, management of hypocalcemia, as well as stabilization and supportive care. Prognosis and prevention are also discussed.
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.
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.
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.
Dr. Susan Orosz presented this live, interactive webinar event on the clinical perspectives of avian nutrition. How can veterinary health professionals best address the nutritional needs of the companion bird in the exam room?
This 1-hour, R.A.C.E.-approved webinar recording is designed to impart a basic understanding of avian nutrition for the veterinary health professional as well as students in these fields. Viewing of this recorded is strongly recommended before viewing the recording of the live webinar event Clinical Avian Nutrition for Veterinary Health Professionals by Susan Orosz, PhD, DVM, DABVP (Avian Practice), DECZM.
The postmortem examination is a valuable part of the diagnostic work-up. Shared by a veterinary pathologist with a special interest in birds, this guide to avian necropsy provides comprehensive instructions for the avian postmortem exam. This article offers step-by-step guidance on avian necropsy with a variety of photographs and video clips that illustrate useful clinical techniques and normal avian anatomy. Feel confident in your knowledge of avian anatomy? You can also “Test Yourself” by identifying the structures shown in four separate images.
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.
This live, interactive webinar was presented by Dr. Alicia McLaughlin, a certified Fear Free™ veterinarian who is spearheading the development of an avian-focused Fear Free™ course. This presentation explores the reasons stress should be minimized during avian veterinary visits and the challenges that must be overcome. Dr. McLaughlin also shares practical tips for clinical implementation as they relate to clinic design, staff training, client education, as well as tips for working with avian patients in an exam room or hospital setting. Alicia has also provided two client education handouts for download that she uses in her daily practice.
View the recording of this live webinar event, then take the brief quiz. With a passing grade of 70% or higher, you will receive a continuing education certificate for 1 hour of continuing education credit in jurisdictions that recognize American Association of Veterinary State Boards Registry of Approved Continuing Education approval.
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.
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Reptile dentition tends to be relatively uniform with a simple, conical shape. Most reptile teeth are loosely attached with the dental attachment most superficial in acrodontic species. Tooth loss and replacement is a normal occurrence in reptile species with pleurodont dentition, which includes snakes, and many lizards. Take special care when handling reptiles with acrodont dentition as teeth will not be replaced when infected or fractured. Additionally, periodontal disease is common in captive lizards with acrodont dentition such as bearded dragons and chameleons. Periodontal disease is an insidious condition. As plaque formation builds and gingivitis worsens, many reptiles will continue to eat. The owner may not observe problems until disease is quite advanced. Feeding lizards an unnatural, soft diet is believed to promote plaque development and the development of periodontal disease.
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.
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.
Signs of illness in birds are often quite subtle until disease is advanced. Fortunately, quite a bit of information can be gleaned from a detailed history and careful observation. View this brief slideshow for tips on the visual examination.
As a part of the Lafeber Company Student Program, Dr. Susan Orosz presented an exclusive presentation to the University of Illinois School of Veterinary Medicine Non-Traditional Species Club as a distance learning event. This web-based seminar was recorded…
This live webinar event was presented by James Morrisey, DVM, DABVP (AvianPractice). View a recording of this AAVSB R.A.C.E.-approved web-based seminar, then take the brief post-test to earn 1 hour of continuing education credit. The avian respiratory system has several unique and fascinating adaptations for flight that are important to clinicians. This webinar overviews the anatomy and physiology of the avian respiratory tract. Clinical correlates are pointed out as the presenter goes through anatomy and physiology. Clinical signs of respiratory disease in birds are then discussed along with how the clinician can use these signs to anatomically locate the origin of the problem to the upper respiratory tract, the major airways, the pulmonary parenchyma, and/or the coelomic cavity.
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.
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.
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.
Pigeons and doves belong to order Columbiformes and family Columbidae. Within family Columbidae, there are five subfamilies consisting of 42 genera and 308 species. Pigeons and doves are found on every continent except Antarctica, and they live in virtually all types of terrestrial habitats. Columbids tend to be stocky birds with relatively small heads, short beaks, as well as a fleshy cere and a bare ring of skin around the eyes. Columbiforms also tend to have short, squat legs and long keels.
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.
The approach to a prey species like the rabbit often calls for a profound paradigm shift for clinicians used to dealing only with cats and dogs. Rabbits can stress very easily in a clinical setting and the challenge of managing a small mammal like the rabbit increases exponentially when they are presented for illness or injury.
As a part of the Encore ICARE 2015 Lafeber Symposium Lecture Series, Dr. Susan Orosz provided an introductory presentation on anatomy and physiology of the avian gastrointestinal tract. View a recording of this AAVSB RACE-approved webinar, then take the brief post-test to earn 1 hour of continuing education credit.
The amphibian examination beings with careful visual observation. Use of a small, transparent container can enhance the amphibian visual examination and minimize handling time. Download the LafeberVet Amphibian Physical Examination Form, available in PDF, DOCX and DOC formats.
A detailed history is mandatory for the amphibian patient as husbandry needs can have a tremendous impact on amphibian health. Download the LafeberVet Amphibian History Form available in PDF, DOCX and DOC formats.
Red leg syndrome, also known as “pink belly disease” or bacterial dermatosepticemia, is one of the most common clinical conditions of captive frogs. Associated with peracute to acute bacterial septicemia, red leg is generally a disease of captive animals although the condition has also been implicated in rare mass mortalities of wild amphibians. This presenting problem article reviews clinical findings in red leg syndrome, pathogenesis of disease, as well as key points of urgent care and prognosis. The basics of case management are then reviewed: differential diagnoses, diagnostics, treatment, prevention and control.
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 onset, clinical signs, and diagnostic test results of 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.
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.
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.
Weight trends can be a helpful indicator of hydration and nutritional status in veterinary medicine and wildlife rehabilitation settings. This article explores body weight and body measurements in the 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) turtle. Subjective and objective body condition scoring systems used during physical examination are described and examples ranging from emaciation to obesity are illustrated. The relationship between carapace length and sea turtle sexual maturity is also discussed. LOGIN to view references.
A simple retweet of a turtle eye examination at the National Aquarium inspired a day of terrapin-friendly tweets by LafeberVet. Twitter topics ranged from turtle and tortoise ophthalmic anatomy to chelonian clinical problems like blepharedema, commonly associated with hypovitaminosis A in aquatic turtles.
It is 10 p.m. in your veterinary emergency hospital and a dreaded call comes in. A panicked owner is in tears because their beloved pet is in crisis. In most cases, your team will quickly gather supplies and move swiftly to prepare for the emergent patient. This patient may strike fear in many veterinary professionals, however, because it is the dreaded avian patient presenting to a general veterinary practice.
Released for National Veterinary Technician Week 2014, Tips and Tricks for the Avian Patient is part of an Exotic ICU series that provides advice on the management of birds in a critical care setting.
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…
The site visit allows the veterinarian to appreciate intricate facility details. Unless there is an emergency, schedule visits during the non-breeding season and only visit one site daily to prevent potential iatrogenic contamination of facilities. I usually schedule appointments in the morning prior to going to the clinic. An aviary map or blue print of the aviary layout will help you visualize where birds are in relation to each other.
A bird is a wing guided by an eye… Rochon-Duvigneaud: Lex Yeux et La Vision Des Vertebres
The avian eye is a large structure that takes up a significant portion of cranial mass. Raptors depend heavily on vision in order to compete successfully for survival. The posterior aspect of the eye fits snugly within the large bony orbit. The globes are separated by a thin interorbital septum, which measures significantly less than 1 mm in some areas…
Pediatrics is one of the most fascinating and rewarding fields of avian medicine. The key to hand raising healthy psittacine chicks is a strong preventive medicine program based on sound husbandry practices. Physical examination is an important part of preventive health care.
Behavior is the most direct tool a wild bird has to respond to its environment, and it ultimately determines whether it survives and breeds in its natural environment. There are two functional categories of avian behaviors: self-maintenance behaviors and social behaviors.
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.
Lethargy, total or partial anorexia, a reduction in fecal output, or scant fecal size can all indicate critical illness in rabbits. Problems that slow the gut are often uncomfortable, however rabbits tend to mask pain and discomfort, especially when frightened. Signs of fear and pain in the rabbit can include…
Exotic animal medicine requires a delicate balance between medical concepts true for all living creatures (“one medicine”) and species-specific information and this is true for lizards.
Lizard behavior varies with the species, however the normal lizard tends to be alert, responsive, and curious. Some species, like the bearded dragon and leopard gecko tend to be particularly active and animated while most chameleons are more…
The lethargic, weak chelonian may exhibit a lack of carpal or truncal lift. It may sit flat on the exam table instead of lifting up on all four feet, and it may not be able to retract its head into the shell with the expected degree of strength. It can be challenging to…
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…
In many birds, the eye is the most important sensory organ, and even partial impairment of vision has far-reaching consequences. Unfortunately, ocular lesions are a common finding during ophthalmic examination in birds of prey.
The large size of the raptor eye and its relative lack of orbital protection superiorly and laterally means any form of head trauma frequently involves the eye and its associated structures. In one report, ocular injuries were most commonly caused by vehicular collision, gunshot and leghold traps. The most common clinical finding in birds of prey presented for medical attention is hyphema. Trauma may also lead to…
Many exotic animals seen in clinical practice are prey species. In the wild, individuals that appear sick or injured are easy prey for predators, and they may even be segregated or attacked by group members. When faced with the stress of a strange examination room, most prey species will attempt to appear alert and strong as an instinctive survival adaptation.
Unfortunately the sedentary lifestyle of the companion bird makes obesity one of the most common forms of malnutrition seen in clinical practice. Pet birds are fed too much food or they are fed diets rich in sources of fat, such as sunflower seeds .
External reproductive anatomy is obvious in some adult small mammals such as the ferret, sugar glider, hedgehog, rat, guinea pig, and hamster. Gender determination or sexing can be challenging in some species like the chinchilla, and in many neonatal rodents. In these cases, reliance on anogenital distance or the distance between the rectum and the urogenital region is considered best practice.
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.
Is your patient strong enough to handle manual restraint and a complete physical examination? In the debilitated or dyspneic patient, initially it may be prudent to place the patient in an incubator or oxygen cage in a dark, quiet room before evaluation. Even after the bird has had time to gather its strength and calm down after the stress of transport, it may only be strong enough to handle diagnostic testing, including physical examination, and treatment in stages.
Snake behavior will vary with the species, however the normal snake tends to be alert, responsive, and curious. Frequent tongue flicking is a sensory gathering behavior used to deliver scents to the vomeronasal organ. The normal snake is generally active, often coiling or twining its body. This is particularly true for smaller species. Signs of aggression in the snake may include…
Download LafeberVet’s Rabbit Dental Chart for use during clinical procedures ranging from standard dental examination to major orofacial surgery.
Although fungal disease is uncommon in small mammals, dermatophytosis is the most common mycosis seen in clinical practice. Despite the low incidence of clinical disease, rodents are common asymptomatic carriers of dermatophytes. Fungal pathogens are generally more important for their zoonotic potential. Rodents are frequently asymptomatic carriers of ringworm, and transmission of disease to human caretakers is not uncommon.
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.
Can’t quite recall the dental formula of the African pygmy hedgehog–or perhaps you never knew? Use LafeberVet’s “Small Mammal Dental Formulas: Cheat Sheet” as a quick and easy clinical resource.
Acquired dental disease is an important problem in pet rabbits and rodents. Clinical management of dental disease is complex, frequently involving invasive technical procedures, therefore it is preferable to promote dental health, rather than treating dental disease. What are five things you can do to promote dental health in small herbivores?
Have you ausculted an arrhythmia in a ferret. Now what? Cardiac dysrhythmias can encompass a wide range of clinical syndromes that vary in significance and signs.
Do you consider ferret arrhythmias a cinch? Take our quiz to confirm you’re ready to auscult in a pinch!
Unfortunately respiratory disease is common in pet rats. Although most cases of respiratory disease in the rat are multifactorial, the most significant and serious bacterial pathogen is Mycoplasma pulmonis. Institute medical therapy as soon as possible in rats with respiratory disease since this improves…
Urethral obstruction is an important reason for emergency presentation of the male ferret. If not corrected, obstruction can result in severe metabolic disturbances, coma, and death.
Signs of complete urethral obstruction are usually not very subtle. Ferrets may strain violently or cry when attempting to urinate. Owners may misinterpret the straining observed as “constipation”, and tenesmus may even lead to diarrhea in some cases. Occasionally, a ferret with blockage will present for lethargy, weakness, anorexia, and even collapse without obvious signs of dysuria although the urinary bladder will be…
This brief article was created to serve as a synopsis of LafeberVet’s longer, more detailed “Analgesia in Small Mammals” authored by veterinary anesthesiologist, Dr. Paul Flecknell.
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…
Detecting a shelled egg on physical examination is not necessarily a problem—birds lay eggs everyday! However palpation of a shelled egg is an important clinical finding that can be associated with dystocia. The egg is shelled in a distal part of the oviduct called the uterus or shell gland. Therefore a shelled egg would normally be palpable in either the…
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.
Thermal burns are a common injury in snakes and lizards. Companion snakes and lizards may come in contact with poorly protected heat sources or old “hot rocks” that short circuit. Even free-ranging reptiles may be at risk for thermal injuries during grass or forest fires. This presenting problem article “Burns in Snakes and Lizards”, explores a basic understanding of burns in reptiles, then moves onto key points of urgent care as well as general aspects of case management, including patient history, physical examination, differential diagnoses, diagnostics, therapy, and finally prognosis.
Anorexia may be the only indication of poor health in the critically ill bird and by the time other clinical signs are apparent disease may be quite advanced. This means that all reports of poor appetite in the avian patient must be taken very seriously.
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…
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…
It is critical to approach the dyspneic rabbit quietly, carefully, and gently. Many rabbits with respiratory disease are unstable upon presentation, given the stress of their condition compounded by the stress of transport and the strange smells, sights and sounds of the veterinary clinic. In many cases, it is prudent to delay handling the patient. Transfer the rabbit to…