There is little empirical information available on cardiopulmonary resuscitation in most exotic animals. Fortunately, the basic principles of CPR are the same for all species, however there are important species-specific considerations. This review article explores techniques for establishing airway control, ventilation and cardiac compression recommendations as well as considerations for emergency drug selection.
The basic principles of cardiopulmonary-cerebral resuscitation may be applied to birds. The prognosis for respiratory arrest, especially when caused by isoflurane anesthesia overdose, is good. Cardiac arrest in birds carries a poor prognosis, because direct compression of the heart is not possible due to the overlying sternum. Also, because birds lack a diaphragm, closed-chest compressions cannot utilize the thoracic pump mechanism to increase overall negative intrathoracic pressure. Therefore early recognition of cardiovascular instability is particularly important in avian species.