Monitoring Vital Signs in Exotic Animal Species

[…] buteo)325.2 +/- 52.9 22 HR: Heart rate RR: Respiratory rate Temperature An important priority for every anesthetist is to maintain normothermia.31 A fall in body temperature, or hypothermia, is extremely common during anesthesia, but is of particular concern in young, growing animals, patients in poor body condition, and in small patients with a high […]


Physical Examination of the Chick

[…] 2a). Some species, such as Eclectus parrots, normally have pigmented skin. Dry, hyperemic, tacky skin indicates dehydration (Fig 2b), and pale skin may indicate anemia, shock, or hypothermia (Fig 2c).   Figure 2a. In most chicks, normal skin is beige-pink in color, warm, and soft although some species normally have pigmented skin. Photo credit: […]


Exotic ICU: Nursing Care for Exotic Companion Mammals

[…] animal studies show poor agreement between rectal temperature and noncontact infrared values (Chen 2006, Devalle 2005, Saegusa 2003). Most small mammals that present in hypovolemic shock demonstrate hypothermia or a temperature less than 36.6°C (98°F). These patients must be actively warmed using methods that warm not only the external surface of the patient but […]


Exotic ICU: Nursing Care for Reptiles

[…] move, then heat must be provided more cautiously as the animal will not be able to thermoregulate. A focal heat source can lead to either overheating or hypothermia if the patient is moribund. Therefore provide an even heat source such as an incubator or brooder. A temperature setting of 28-29.4°C (82-85°F) is suitable for […]


Understanding Shock: Ten Important Facts

Rewarming is an important part of the resuscitation plan for small patients. As body temperature falls, adrenergic receptors are theorized to become refractory to catecholamine release. Therefore active rewarming is indicated for patients with moderate to severe hypothermia. Use forced warm air blankets, incubators, circulating warm water blankets, and/or…


Fluid Administration in Exotic Companion Mammals

[…] and/or severe acid-base disturbances. Clinical signs of hypovolemic/hemorrhagic/septic shock Altered mentation Prolonged capillary refill time Pale mucous membrane color Weakness Weak or thready pulse Tachycardia or bradycardia Hypothermia (appendages cool to the touch) Blood volume in small mammals like the ferret (Mustela putorius furo) and rabbit (Oryctolagus cuniculus) is approximately 50-60 ml/kg. Therefore the […]


Supplemental Heat for the Avian Patient

Small birds face an enormous task in maintaining their body temperature, especially in a cold environment, but fortunately plumage provides an effective barrier to heat loss. Down feathers trap air and allow little convective movement of heat to occur. Fluffing feathers increases insulation and…

Article  Presenting Problem 

Presenting problem: Burns in Snakes and Lizards

[…] has occurred within hours, cold water lavage can help to release heat from skin and limit the depth of injury. Obviously it is important to prevent iatrogenic hypothermia in the reptile. Minimize the risk of hypothermia by submerging only the affected area in a cold-water bath, by wrapping the area in cool towels, or […]

Article  Presenting Problem 

Heatstroke in Exotic Companion Mammals

[…] gradually, while closely monitoring rectal or esophageal temperature. Discontinue cooling methods as body temperature approaches 103°F (39.4°C).   DO NOT… Cool the patient to the point of hypothermia as this will worsen prognosis. Immerse your patient in cold water or ice baths since this will cause severe peripheral vasoconstriction, thereby inhibiting the patient’s ability […]


Reptile Emergency & Critical Care Summary Page

[…] patient with subcutaneous or intracoelomic fluids and cool, but not cold, water. If signs of coma or cerebral edema are observed, then steroids are indicated (Antinoff 2016). Hypothermia Hypothermia can develop with power failures or when a reptile escapes. The hypothermic reptile is extremely lethargic and evidence of gastrointestinal stasis or bloating may be […]


Avian Nutrition Glossary

[…] among avian species but normally includes duodenal reflux in those species studied (i.e. parrots, fowl, ostrich, petrels, raptors). Reflux appears to improve intestinal digestion of nutrients. Controlled hypothermia Small birds in cool climates may decrease their energy needs overnight by reducing body temperature between 25 to 35°C. See torpor. Copper Trace element absorbed by […]


Behavior Essentials: Clinical Approach to the Rabbit

[…] for clinicians used to dealing only with cats and dogs (Fig 1). Rabbits can stress very easily in a clinical setting. Stress-related catecholamine release causes tachycardia, tachypnea, hypothermia, and renal ischemia (Bays 2006). As a result, excessive stress can prevent a positive response to medical and surgical therapy and interfere with normal anesthesia and […]

Article  Presenting Problem  Quiz 

Presenting problem: Cardiac Dysrhythmia in the Ferret

[…] hypoxia, uremia, acid-base disturbances or end-stage systemic disease. Sinus bradycardia is sometimes associated with hypoglycemia. Severe bradycardia can also result from systemic disease, drug therapy, anesthesia or hypothermia. Ventricular arrhythmias have also been documented in the dog with insulinoma or hypoglycemia, and some episodes of syncope were determined to be due to ventricular tachycardia […]


Fluid Administration in Amphibians

[…] associated with fluid retention and loss of electrolytes. Transdermal fluid delivery should always be the first step in supportive care of the amphibian. Pre-warm fluids to prevent hypothermia. Signs of dehydration in amphibians can include: dry ropy mucus in the mouth, sunken eyes, weight loss, oliguria or anuria, and wrinkled, tacky or discolored skin […]


Sea Turtle Physical Examination: Part 2

[…] in the conscious turtle at 24ºC (75ºF) ranges from 30 to 60 beats per minute. Bradycardia is common in partially or fully submerged sea turtles, those with hypothermia, after administration of injectable anesthetics, and in a variety of disease states including neurologic loggerhead syndrome. The left and right cervicobrachial acoustic windows can also be […]


Fluid Administration in Reptiles

[…] blood loss, septic shock, and/or severe acid-base disturbances. Box 1. Clinical signs of hypovolemic/hemorrhagic/septic shock Prolonged capillary refill time Pale mucous membrane color Weakness Tachycardia or bradycardia Hypothermia (appendages cool to the touch) Evaluation of pallor can be problematic in reptiles, because mucous membranes may normally be pale or variably colored in many reptiles. […]


Wound Management in Exotic Animals

Traumatic wounds are frequently seen in exotic animals, and are particularly common in wildlife patients. Appropriate wound management of wounds has significant impact on healing time and success.

Article  Presenting Problem 

Presenting problem: Bite Wounds

[…] for life threatening internal trauma such as penetration of the coelom, shock, anemia, and/or sepsis. Screen the patient for serious concurrent conditions such as severe malnutrition, hypoglycemia, hypothermia, or dehydration. Control hemorrhage:  In most instances, applying direct pressure followed by a temporary pressure bandage can control active hemorrhage. Placing a blood pressure cuff proximal […]

Article  Presenting Problem 

Presenting problem: Trauma in Ferrets

[…] ongoing or preexisting physiologic disturbances (Ford 2006). Clinical signs of decompensation: Weak peripheral pulse Cool peripheral extremities Cyanosis, gray, or pale mucous membranes Prolonged capillary refill time Hypothermia (hyperthermia) Confused or inappropriate mentation, depression Tachycardia, bradycardia, arrhythmia* Declining hematocrit Distended, painful abdomen Increased respiratory effort, dyspnea Hematochezia, hematemesis *Remember that a prominent sinus arrhythmia […]

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Quality Exotic Small Mammal Anesthesia

[…] Was the patient on inhalant gas? If the patient was severely hypothermic, that reduces MAC. We can also potentially overdose patients, which can be made worse by hypothermia. Finally both ketamine & dexmedetomidine can cause a decent level of unresponsiveness. What I would do in this situation if I was worried about the patient […]


Zoonotic concern: Rabies in Terrestrial Small Mammals

[…] period of 4-5 days. Common clinical signs included ascending paralysis, anorexia, cachexia, bladder atony, tremors, and paresis. Symptoms that varied somewhat by virus strain included pyrexia versus hypothermia, and lethargy versus hyperactivity. Cases of naturally occurring rabies in pet ferrets are rare (Table 1), probably due to a combination of lack of opportunities for […]

Article  Quiz 

Basic Aviculture Vocabulary & Concepts: Images and Facts to Help You ‘Talk the Talk’

[…] first 5 days of life, then is gradually lowered further over several days. The chick is closely monitored for signs of heat stress (panting, red skin) or hypothermia (huddled, sluggish, pale skin).   Assisted hatch Assisted hatch is indicated when the chick shows signs of distress such as a change or lack of vocalization, […]

Article  Information sheet 

Basic Information Sheet: Virginia Opossum

[…] July 5, 2018). Older, furred joeys covered in hair may survive but still present a substantial time commitment. Initiate hand-rearing once immediate supportive care for dehydration and hypothermia has been provided. Marsupials cannot thermoregulate and are not immunocompetent until about. halfway through pouch life and the neonatal marsupial is at a higher risk for […]


Pulse Oximetry in Exotic Animal Species

[…] A fall or loss of the oxygen saturation signal can be caused by a decrease in tissue perfusion due to cardiovascular failure, a fall in blood pressure, hypothermia, vasoconstriction caused by anesthetic agents, particularly alpha-2 agonists, as well as shock.8,12 Table 2. Causes of false SpO2 readings 7 Falsely low Falsely normal Falsely high […]


Blood Pressure Monitoring in Exotic Animal Species

Introduction Blood pressure is an important determinant of the heart’s work and is commonly measured to assess cardiovascular performance. Arterial blood pressure is a function of heart rate, blood volume, stroke volume, and arterial compliance.23 Blood pressure alone is not the best indicator of tissue perfusion, but low pressure can lead to a reduction in […]


Exotic Companion Mammal Emergency & Critical Care Summary Page

[…] painful conditions in small mammals. Go to the review article Analgesia and Sedation in Exotic Companion Mammals for additional information.   Nutritional support Always address dehydration and hypothermia before beginning nutritional support. Monitor body weight and eliminations closely, and offer familiar food items ad libitum. Ferrets are relatively easy to syringe feed. An esophagostomy […]


Avian Emergency & Critical Care Summary Page

[…] a treatment cage door. Dim light levels as needed to calm the nervous patient. A rapid metabolic rate means that small birds have a greater susceptibility to hypothermia. Debilitated birds should be kept warm. Target incubator temperatures range between 80-90°F (26-32°C) for most avian patients. Carefully observe the patient for signs of overheating, such […]


Feeding the Hospitalized Bird of Prey

[…] often continued for 3–5 days after feeding is initiated. Blood transfusion is also an option for the select critical patient with severe anemia and hypoproteinemia. Supplemental heat Hypothermia is very common in debilitated, emaciated raptors. Provide supplemental heat to prevent the bird from expending energy on thermoregulation. Warmed intraosseous or intravenous fluids and a […]