Save the Date for a live, interactive, continuing education webinar presented by Douglas Whiteside, DVM, DVSc, DACZM, DECZM (Zoo Health Management). Topics covered will 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.
As part of the Lafeber Company Student Program, Dr. David Scott of the Carolina Raptor Center presented this distance-learning event for the Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine Zoo & Wildlife Society. View this 61-minute presentation, RACE-approved for 1 hour of continuing education. Dr. Scott explores proper triage, prognosis, and repair options for various fractures as well as post-operative care and protocols, including physical therapy.
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.
Wildlife often present to veterinarians and wildlife rehabilitators with conditions that warrant euthanasia. It can be difficult, however, to apply mammalian methods of euthanasia to species with unique physiology such as birds. This fall 2020 Dr. Renée Schott will share a non-interactive webinar recording about this important topic. The content for this recording has already been approved by American Association of Veterinary State Boards Registry of Continuing Education.
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.
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.
“The question is not, can they reason? Nor, can they talk? But, can they suffer?” –Jeremy Bentham, philosopher, 1780
Dr. Renée Schott presented a live, interactive webinar on reptile wildlife euthanasia techniques. View the webinar recording today. Wildlife often present to veterinarians and wildlife rehabilitators with conditions that warrant euthanasia. It can be difficult, however, to apply mammalian methods of euthanasia to species with unique physiology such as reptiles. This interactive presentation will use cases to discuss practical euthanasia methods for reptiles and the physiology behind these methods. Emphasis will be placed on freshwater turtles as these represent some physiological extremes.
Dr. Todd E. Driggers presented this live webinar event on Flight Mechanics, Parrot Welfare, and Ethical Concerns. View the video recording, then take the brief post-test to earn 1 hour of continuing education credit. Feather trimming birds in captivity has been a common practice performed for many reasons, including fear of loss, safety, and the ability to control and tame. If the gold standard for animal welfare is freedom and feather destructive behavior is a reliable indicator of scientifically studied animal welfare, feather trimming impacts how the animal feels, functions, and prohibits natural responses to positive or aversive stimuli. Perhaps it is time to reflect on the benefits and risks of feather trims through the lens of animal welfare. At a minimum, the degrees of severity of the current techniques need redressing when we consider the experience of the bird.
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 […]
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Dr. Lorenzo Crosta will present this live, interactive, webinar on the clinical perspectives of avian anesthesia. After briefly reviewing clinically relevant avian anatomy and physiology, Dr. Crosta will touch upon injectable anesthesia, then discuss in detail preanesthesia and inhalation anesthesia in clinical practice. The discussion will then move onto monitoring the avian patient, from vital parameters to capnography, doppler, electrocardiography, and pulse oximetry. Dr. Crosta will also discuss analgesia, intra-operative fluid therapy, as well as specific concerns related to avian anesthesia, such as positioning the patient, hypocalcemia, air sac cannulation, as well as management of diving birds. This seminar will conclude with practical tips for safe and uneventful patient recovery.
Dr. Heather Barron presented this webinar on avian critical care. View a recording of the live, interactive event, then take the brief post-test to earn 1 hour of continuing education credit. The goal of wildlife medicine is always eventual release and therefore triage of avian wildlife may vary based on case load, regulations, and the presenting situation. Dr. Barron examines the guidelines used to set triage policy and the reasons a bird may not be releasable or have a good quality of life in captivity. She then discusses practical measures intended to alleviate suffering and improve the odds of patient survival, such as fluid support, analgesia, evaluation of blood volume, and transfusion. This presentation concludes with a brief discussion on assessing life and euthanasia.
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.
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 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.
Reptile reproduction can be a confusing topic due to the variety of normal reproductive strategies found throughout different reptile species. Nevertheless it important to understand normal reproductive processes to correctly approach some commonly seen problems. The recording of this R.A.C.E.-approved, web-based seminar discusses normal reproductive strategies of reptiles, including important reproductive anatomy and physiology. Three clinically important conditions, pre-ovulatory or follicular stasis, post-ovulatory dystocia, and cloacal prolapse, are also explored in detail.
Long-term vascular access is difficult to obtain and maintain in chelonians. Fortunately, central venous catheters provide flexibility and length to avoid catheter dislodgement. Central lines are an effective tool that allow serial blood measurements and can be used for anesthesia administration, intravenous drug delivery, blood product transfusions, and continuous fluid therapy or continuous rate infusions.This photo tutorial article describes this simple technique step-by-step.
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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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…
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…
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.
Poisonings are relatively uncommon in companion bird emergency medicine, but these conditions do occur and can involve a wide assortment of toxins. In principal, treatment in birds is the same as for other animals. First, stabilize the patient presented with abnormal clinical signs. Establish an airway, initiate respiration, and address cardiovascular needs.
Reptiles lack an epiglottis and the glottis is ready visualized, making intubation readily accomplished in most species. If the glottal folds are closed, apply topical lidocaine to facilitate intubation. The tracheal rings are complete in reptiles. Use of an inflated, cuffed endotracheal tube can lead to pressure necrosis because there is no elastic ligament to accommodate tracheal expansion. Always select an uncuffed endotracheal tube in small reptiles and never inflate a cuff in large reptiles …
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 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 avian medicine. Use this summary page to review the basic approach to the avian patient and select additional links to supplement your knowledge base.
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.
Inland bearded dragons are native to Australia and are a popular companion animal. Private breeders often select for desirable temperaments and various color morphologies in an effort to provide an ever-increasing variety to the pet trade. They are also bred commercially and sold by large pet retailers making them a widely available pet reptile…
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.
The Five Common Reptile Emergencies webinar was reviewed and approved by the American Association of Veterinary State Boards (AAVSB) Registry of Approved Continuing Education (R.A.C.E.) program for 1 hour of continuing education, in jurisdictions which recognize AAVSB R.A.C.E. approval…
View a recording of this AAVSB R.A.C.E.-approved web-based seminar presented by Eric Klaphake, DVM, DACZM, DABVP (Avian Practice), DABVP (Reptile & Amphibian), then take the brief post-test to earn 1 hour of continuing education credit. This webinar explores five common reptile clinical presentations in detail: trauma, gastrointestinal foreign body, neurological deficits, respiratory difficulty, and reproductive problems.
Placement of an enteral feeding tube is a recognized method of supportive care, and the esophagostomy tube is an accepted route that is generally well tolerated by avian patients and relatively easy to place. In clinical patients, esophagostomy tube placement has been described in psittacine birds, raptors, and ostriches.
Esophagostomy tube placement is indicated in cases of severe beak trauma or disease, as well as diseases of the oral cavity or proximal esophagus, such as abscesses and neoplasia. Esophagostomy tubes may also be used to…
This live webinar event was presented by Javier Nevarez, DVM, PhD, DACZM, DECZM (Herpetology). View a recording of Dr. Nevarez’s web-based seminar and earn 1 hour of R.A.C.E.-approved continuing education credit. Lecture objectives include a review of the principles and concepts of reptile analgesia, recommended analgesics, signs of pain and pain recognition, and a review of analgesic protocols. The presentation also reviews principles and concepts of reptile anesthesia, popular anesthetic agents and anesthetic protocols, monitoring, as well as keys to success.
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.
Many people have been curious about the way we at International Bird Rescue were able to clean the birds affected by the San Francisco Bay Mystery Goo Spill in January 2015.
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…
All raptors consume a meat-based diet ranging from the specialist diet of the fish-eating osprey (Pandion haliaetus) to a generalist diet that can include insects, mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, and even carrion. Other than poultry, the exact nutritional requirements of birds are unknown, however the natural raptor diet is always relatively high in protein and fat and low in carbohydrates. Whole prey diets have a calcium/phosphorus ratio of 1.5:1 as the bird actually consumes the bones as well as the meat…
The Vets Now Surgical Safety Checklist includes a list of safety issues that should be read aloud, with both the veterinarian and veterinary nurse or veterinary technician present. This checklist is divided into three categories: induction of anesthesia, before the skin incision, and before the patient leaves the operating room…
Did you attend the Lafeber Symposium at the 2015 International Conference on Avian heRpetological and Exotic mammal medicine in Paris? View a recording of this encore, web-based seminar: “Medical Management of Psittacines with Bornavirus Ganglioneuritis (PDD)” by Susan Orosz, DVM, DABVP (Avian Practice), DECZM (Avian). This presentation on avian borna virus contains medium to advanced level content. The novice is encouraged to view the first hour of Dr. Orosz’s presentation “Anatomy & Physiology of the Avian Gastrointestinal Tract: Clinical Applications”, which includes a helpful review of avian gastrointestinal anatomy and physiology.
View the recording of this free, interactive webinar, presented by Neil Forbes, BVetMed DECZM (Avian) FRCVS. Many sick or injured exotic animals are presented in critical condition. More of these patients can be saved by appropriate fluids and nutritional support, than by any single medical or surgical procedure. In practical terms, providing this support is often easier said than done. Dr. Forbes’ presentation serves to demystify some of the challenges encountered; practical solutions for all exotic patients are described and discussed.
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.
The non-hyphal, zoosporic, chytrid fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd) has caused widespread and dramatic population declines in both wild and captive amphibians worldwide. Use this table to review the basics of the infectious disease chytridiomycosis
Did you hear about the Palawan turtle crisis? In June 2015, Philippine authorities confiscated over 4,000 turtles, many of them critically endangered Philippine forest turtles (Siebenrockiella leytensis), intended for the illegal pet trade. Enjoy LafeberVet’s brief, fun slideshow that explores our Emeraid donation for the Palawan turtle crisis as well as care of many, many, many turtles. Although medical supplies are not currently required, financial contributions are still needed for this important conservation effort.
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.
The use of esophagostomy tubes (E-tubes) allows administration of oral medications and critical care nutrition to turtles and tortoises while minimizing stress and the risk of esophageal trauma associated with repeated rigid gavage tube feeding. Esophagostomy tubes are very well tolerated in chelonians and the patient can even eat normally with the tube in place. Patients can be medicated and fed on an outpatient basis, and once fully recovered, the E-tube is easily removed in the veterinary clinic.
A variety of agents may be used in small mammals with ectoparasites. Download this easy-to-use table for a list of agents used to manage lice, flea infestation, mange or acariasis.
Released for National Veterinary Technician Week 2014, Nursing Care for Exotic Companion Mammals is part of an Exotic ICU series providing advice on the management of small exotic companion mammals in a critical care setting. Specific recommendations on caging, medicating, feeding, and monitoring the critical small mammal are explored as well as important potential sequelae to the stress of hospitalization.
Should I have my pet rabbit “fixed”? In most cases, the answer is an unqualified YES. In this client education handout, the benefits to spay or neuter of the house rabbit are explored. Recommendations for pre-surgical preparation for companion animal castration as well as aftercare are also discussed.
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.
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.
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…
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…
Reproductive emergencies are most commonly seen in small psittacine birds like the cockatiel, lovebird and budgerigar parakeet. This article reviews conditions commonly seen on an emergency basis such as dystocia, egg yolk peritonitis, cloacal or oviductal prolapse, and/or chronic egg laying. Pertinent anatomy and physiology as well as case management, including the reproductive history, physical examination, diagnostic imaging, and behavioral modification techniques are also discussed.
Although the overall incidence of urethral obstruction is probably low, this condition is an important reason for emergency presentation of the male ferret. n the United States, urethral obstruction is most frequently caused by…
Urolithiasis is characterized by single or multiple calculi throughout the urinary tract or by the presence of sandy material within the bladder and urethra. Uroliths are fortunately more of a historical disease in the ferret, while calculi are still an important problem in rabbits and rodents.
Antibiotic therapy is a challenge in rabbits. The rabbit digestive system depends upon a healthy population of microbes to function properly. In normal circumstances, normal commensal bacteria completely overwhelm the small numbers of opportunistic pathogenic bacteria present and keep them safely in check. Certain antibiotics, particularly when given by the oral route, however, have the potential to disturb this crucial balance by killing off the commensal bacteria…
If the gut works, use it. The preferred route for providing nutrition is enteral feeding since this preserves intestinal structure and function. Parenteral nutrition is indicated to prevent malnutrition when patients cannot consume adequate nutrients by oral feeding or tube feeding or when the respiratory tract cannot be protected. Parenteral nutrition is 100% bioavailable since nutrients reach tissue without the variations associated with gastrointestinal digestion.
Omega-3 fatty acids are polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) that comprise a small percentage of dietary lipids ingested by humans and animals. The name “omega-3” refers to the location of the double bond closest to the methyl end of the hydrocarbon chain, and may be alternatively referred to as “n-3” in the literature. Chief among the omega-3 fatty acids is…
One of the most valuable items in avian practice is a reliable formulary. Although pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic data is slowly growing, the vast majority of drug doses in companion parrot medicine rely on extrapolation and/or clinical experience. It is crucial that the clinician have access to this wide range of information and experience.
The gastrointestinal tract acquires and digests food, absorbs nutrients and water, and expels unabsorbed ingesta as feces. Nutritional support of the avian patient with gastrointestinal (GI) disease is challenging. In cats and dogs, it is easy to “rest” the gut, however with their relatively high metabolic rate, this is difficult, if not impossible, to achieve in many avian patients. Specific disease conditions increase the difficulty regulating gastrointestinal motility including ingluvitis (crop stasis). …
The avian patient poses special challenges for delivery of injectable medications. Although the techniques involved are not unique to birds, special knowledge of avian anatomy as well as delicate, proficient technical skills are required. Depending on the species, the individual, and the clinical situation, injections can be delivered by intramuscular, intravenous, intraosseous, subcutaneous, intratracheal, or intracoelomic routes. Parenteral drug administration provides the advantage of delivering a precise dose when a rapid therapeutic response is necessary. Disadvantages include stress as well as the potential irritation or pathology that can occur at the injection site.
There are various approaches to provide food for the companion parrot. Each nutritional strategy has its own advantages and disadvantages including seed-only diets, pelleted diets, extruded diets, and/or foraging diets.
There are a number of potential nutritional problems that can promote renal disease. Excess dietary protein, excess dietary calcium, hypovitaminosis A, or hypervitaminosis D may lead to nephritis or other degenerative renal changes…
In mammals, chronic liver disease is often associated with decreased intake of food, mainly due to anorexia, nausea, and vomiting, as well as taste abnormalities, and the same appears to be true for the avian patient. Chronic liver disease may also lead to maldigestion and malabsorption, as well as metabolic abnormalities such as increased protein and lipid catabolism, glucose intolerance, depletion of hepatic glycogen stores, and decreased glucose oxidation. Therefore chronic liver disease may lead to significant malnutrition and weight loss, particularly in patients with severe hepatic dysfunction…
Diarrhea is a common clinical presentation in avian medicine. Diarrhea may be caused by a variety of conditions, however it is particularly important for the practitioner to understand the anatomy and diseases of the avian gastrointestinal tract and associated organs.
A clinical trial was conducted with cockatiels to compare a whole-seed balanced diet (Nutri-Berries) with that of a pelleted diet. Blood values, body weight, and other parameters were measured to assess the alternative diet’s clinical effects on birds.
Psittacosis or ornithosis is caused by Chlamydophila psittaci, an obligate intracellular bacterial infection of birds. Chlamydophila psittaci may be excreted in feces and oculonasal discharge. Chlamydophila is environmentally labile but remains infectious for months in organic debris. Latently infected birds appear healthy but shed the organism intermittently for months to years. Stressors such as breeding, shipping, crowding, or climatic extremes may activate shedding.
Feeding excessively hot formula (>110°F) causes crop burns. This problem is particularly common when formula is heated in a microwave without thorough mixing. Early signs of crop burn include…
Hemochromatosis, “iron overload”, or “iron storage disease” is the excess accumulation of iron within parenchyma, especially in the liver and eventually in the heart and spleen. Elevated iron stores eventually lead to hepatocyte damage and fibrosis.
Oropharyngeal lesions tend to be asymptomatic until lesions are quite advanced. Clinical signs associated with oropharyngeal disease vary, but may include anorexia, dysphagia, drooling, halitosis, head or food flicking and rubbing the beak. Diffuse disease or large focal lesions or diffuse disease can obstruct the choanal slit and/or glottis leading to wheezing, open-mouth breathing, dyspnea or in extreme cases suffocation…
As in other species, to manage pain successfully, one must know when pain might occur. Several common medical disorders can result in acute pain such as otitis, conjunctivitis, and acute gastrointestinal disease. Chronic pain can arise from conditions such as arthritis, which commonly develops in older…
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Foraging for food is a basic behavioral repertoire for birds in the wild. The lack of opportunities for companion birds to engage in this behavior may play an important role in the development of abnormal behaviors. For example, Snyder et al documented that Puerto Rican Amazon parrots spend approximately 4–6 hour per day foraging and that they routinely travel several miles between sites. In contrast, companion birds in our homes like the orange-winged Amazon parrot spend approximately 30–72 minutes per day eating a pelleted diet without traveling, manipulating food items, and not attempting to balance their own diet. It has been suggested…
Diarrhea is the most common clinical sign in ferrets with gastrointestinal disease, with the exception of gastrointestinal foreign bodies where anorexia and weight loss are the primary presenting complaints. Important causes of diarrhea in young ferrets include coccidiosis and rotavirus. Ferrets of all ages may be afflicted with Helicobacter gastritis, ferret enteric coronavirus, and stress-induced diarrhea while middle-aged to older ferrets may suffer from inflammatory bowel disease and intestinal lymphoma. Although signalment, history, and physical exam findings may be sufficient to reach a tentative diagnosis, additional diagnostics may include cytology such as fecal parasite testing, and imaging. Treatment will vary with the specific condition identified but frequently includes…
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…
Providing nutrition to the hospitalized small mammal is a fairly straightforward process. Encourage owners to bring their pet’s “regular” diet to minimize the risk of food refusal or gastrointestinal upset. Also consider keeping the following food items available…
Depending on their age and size, snakes may be fed multiple times in one week or every 2 to 4 weeks. If nutritional support is truly needed, then assisted feeding is indicated in the hospitalized snake. Tube feeding is commonly performed in critically ill snakes after fluid therapy and supplemental heat is provided.
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…