Article 

Venipuncture in Birds

Blood work is considered a basic diagnostic test in every species, including birds. Venipuncture may be indicated for wellness screening, sample collection for DNA sexing, evaluation of the ill or injured bird, as well as collection of blood for transfusion. The value of testing must always be weighed against the stress of venipuncture since the critically ill bird may not be stable enough for restraint. This article reviews equipment needed, the volume of the blood sample, general tips for blood collection, common venipuncture sites in the bird, and sample handling.

Article 

Blood Collection in Sugar Gliders

Blood collection is challenging in sugar gliders. Heavy sedation or general anesthesia, using isoflurane or sevoflurane, is almost always required in clinical practice. The most common sites for blood collection in the glider are the jugular vein and the…

Article 

Blood Collection in Rats and Mice

Blood collection is challenging in rats and mice, and heavy sedation or general anesthesia is almost always required in clinical practice. Increasing patient body temperature to promote vasodilation can also be helpful. Gently warm the rodent by placing its cage on a heating pad set on low or by placing the cage in an incubator set at 39°C (102°F) for 5 to 10 minutes. Monitor the patient carefully…

Article 

Blood Collection in Chelonians

The left or right jugular vein is the vessel of choice in most chelonians less than 4 kg body weight. The risk of lymph dilution is low with this site. The phlebotomist holds the head and extends the head and neck, while an assistant supports the turtle’s body and holds off the jugular vein at the base of the neck. (With a small chelonian, it may easier to…

Article 

Blood Collection in Lizards

With even the most scrupulous sanitation, lizards frequently sit in or walk through their own droppings. To minimize the risk of needle site contamination with bacteria or uric acid, aseptically prepare the venipuncture site with an antiseptic like alcohol.

Article 

Blood Collection in Snakes

Cardiocentesis is used in snakes of all sizes, although the patient should ideally be greater than 200 grams. Lymph contamination is also less likely with cardiocentesis when compared to caudal tail venipuncture. Based on a study in ball pythons…

Article  Video 

Blood Collection in Ferrets

All but the weakest ferrets can be challenging to restrain for blood collection. Consider sedation or general anesthesia, particularly if the handler or phlebotomist is relatively inexperienced; however remember that anesthesia can affect ferret hematology.

Use this video clip or article with still images to review equipment needed, and potential venipuncture sites including the jugular vein, cranial vena cava, lateral saphenous vein, and cephalic vein.

Article 

Venipuncture in Small Mammals

Hematological and serum chemistry tests are considered part of the minimum database, yet collecting blood samples from small mammals can be extremely challenging. This review article reviews the recommended venipuncture site in popular exotic companion mammals including many rodents, rabbits, ferrets, hedgehogs, and sugar gliders. Sample collection from peripheral vessels including the cephalic, saphenous, tail, jugular, ear, and submandibular vein is discussed.
Blind venipuncture sites such as the cranial vena cava and femoral vessels are also described. Veterinary health professionals are also acquainted with the potential risks associated with blood collection from these small species, especially those presenting in advanced diseased states. Tips for clinical success are also shared.