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.
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.