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…
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 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.
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.
When Kara Burns, veterinary technician specialist in nutrition, visited Tuskegee University School of Veterinary Medicine during the fall of 2014, her lecture on critical care nutrition made a big impression on the veterinary medical students. This 48-minute presentation explores the basics of nutritional supportive care appropriate for all species before concluding with information on nutritional support of special species like birds, reptiles and exotic companion mammals.
Turtles and tortoises display a variety of dietary strategies ranging from the complete herbivory seen in many tortoises to the strict carnivory displayed in aquatic species like the snapping turtle. There are also many chelonians, such as the Eastern box turtle, that may be considered opportunistic omnivores. This review article, critiqued by reptile nutritionist, Susan Donoghue, discusses clinical concerns related to feeding the hospitalized turtle or tortoise. Topics covered range from recognizing true anorexia to food items to avoid. Practical technical concerns related to nutritional support such as tube feeding and daily caloric requirements are also discussed.
Fasting may be expected in lizards during certain times of the year. Many gravid females eat less or go off feed entirely due to the large number of eggs filling the coelom. Some species also fast for weeks or months as an adaptation to excess heat or cold, drought, or lack of food. This dormancy in reptiles is called…
Why syringe fed? A cornerstone of treatment is delivery of food containing high dietary fiber. Proper syringe-feeding technique is essential..
Esophagostomy tube placement is an excellent choice for nutritional support of the debilitated small mammal patient requiring long-term feeding or for individuals that have suffered major orofacial trauma. Use this video clip or text with still images to review this important technique in the ferret.
Nasogastric tube placement in the rabbit is an excellent choice for the weak, dehydrated patient that requires enteral nutritional support. Use of a nasogastric tube can be less stressful and more successful than syringe feeding. Nasogastric intubation is also indicated in rabbits that will undergo surgery involving the oral cavity, esophagus, stomach, or biliary tract. Use this video clip or text with still images to review contraindications and potential complications, equipment needed as well as the technique involved.
Loss of appetite is a common finding in the sick ferret and nutritional support is often required. Ferrets with insulinoma may also require regular assist feedings to help maintain normal blood glucose levels. Fortunately syringe feeding the ferrets is a relatively straightforward process. The short, simple gut of the ferret has only a limited ability to absorb nutrients. So even healthy ferrets require a highly digestible diet. Use this video or article to review the equipment needed and the technique involved.
Mild to moderately ill exotic companion mammals are often syringe fed, and proper syringe-feeding technique is an essential skill for critical care nutrition of ferrets, rabbits, and rodents. Gastrointestinal stasis is one of the most common medical problems seen in small herbivores. A cornerstone of treatment is delivery of food containing high dietary fiber. Aggressive fluid therapy, often in the form of oral and subcutaneous fluids, is also crucial for successful management. Always address dehydration before beginning nutritional support. Get specific tips to improve your clinical success with this video clip or read the article with still images.
Tube feeding, also known as gavage feeding, is an essential part of avian supportive care. Sick birds are often presented with a history of anorexia and glycogen stores may be depleted within hours in small species with relatively high metabolic rates. Another important indication for gavage feeding is a documented drop in body weight of 5% to 10%.
Emeraid Omnivore can be hand fed or gavage fed to companion birds like parrots and songbirds and to omnivorous rodents like rats and mice. Emeraid Omnivore may be fed in combination with Emeraid Herbivore, to species like gerbils, hamsters, and the African pygmy hedgehog (Atelerix albiventris). Combinations of Emeraid Omnivore with Emeraid Carnivore can be used to meet the dietary requirements of these species…
Nutritional support is indicated in reptiles with a 10% drop in body weight, and force-feeding is sometimes indicated with a history of anorexia. Interpretation of anorexia can be difficult in some reptiles, particularly snakes and chelonians. Never rush to feed a reptile. The patient must first be warm, housed at its preferred optimal temperature zone, and must be adequately hydrated.