Exotic small mammals can be challenging to safely induce, maintain and recover from general anesthesia. View the recording of this RACE-approved webinar, which explores clinical anesthesia in exotic companion mammals from patient assessment and anesthetic induction to monitoring and recovery. This recording discusses the importance of proper physical examinations, the pharmacology of common anesthetic drugs or fluids, including the use of constant rate infusions and locoregional anesthesia techniques, intravenous and intraosseous catheterization, intubation techniques, and how to choose monitoring equipment in common companion exotic small mammal species.
View this RACE-approved webinar recording presented by Joanne Sheen BVM&S CertZooMed DABVP (Exotic Companion Mammal Practice): “To Cut or Not to Cut… Decision Making in Rabbit Gastrointestinal Syndrome”. This seminar reviews rabbit gastrointestinal anatomy and physiology as well as the baseline diagnostic workup in RGIS. Treatment is dependent on the underlying etiology. Fluid therapy and analgesia are considered cornerstones in the management of gastrointestinal disease in rabbits, but other specific treatments such as active warming, intestinal promotility agents, antimicrobials, and nutritional support may also be warranted. Surgery may be indicated for some conditions, such as intestinal obstruction, liver lobe torsion, and appendicitis…
Kara M. Burns, MS, MEd, LVT,VTS (Nutrition) presented this distance-learning event for the veterinary medical students at the University of Minnesota College of Veterinary Medicine as part of the Lafeber Company Student Program. View the RACE-approved webinar recording, then take the brief post-test to earn 1 hour of continuing education credit.
The California Veterinary Emergency Team (CVET) Shelter Entrance Avian Examination Form, shared by Dr. Michelle Hawkins, includes entrance exam considerations helpful in a triage situation. This form is divided into four sections: animal and owner information, physical findings, problem list/medication and plan, as well notes.
The 2019/2020 wildfires put the plight of Australian wildlife and the realities of climate change on the international stage. This RACE-approved webinar recording consists of two, 1-hour seminars that explore the impact of Australian bushfires on wildlife. Part 1, presented by Dr Talbot, explores the basics of patient assessment and triage as well as management of pain, smoke inhalation, and burns for the unique species found in Australia. Part 2 summarizes Dr. Campbell-Ward’s research evaluating the key rescue/rehabilitation-related wild animal welfare outcomes and ethical dilemmas encountered during the Australian bushfires.
View the RACE-approved webinar recording, presented by Douglas Whiteside, DVM, DVSc, DACZM, DECZM (Zoo Health Management). Topics covered include clinically relevant anatomy and physiology, obtaining a detailed history, triage and emergency therapies, clinical examination, diagnostic testing, analgesia, nutritional support, hospitalization, and euthanasia.
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Dr. Lorenzo Crosta present this live webinar on the clinical perspectives of avian anesthesia. View the RACE-approved webinar recording, then take a brief quiz to earn 1 hour of continuing education credit. After briefly reviewing clinically relevant avian anatomy and physiology, Dr. Crosta touches upon injectable anesthesia, then discusses in detail preanesthesia and inhalation anesthesia in clinical practice. The discussion then moves onto monitoring the avian patient, from vital parameters to capnography, doppler, electrocardiography, and pulse oximetry. Dr. Crosta also discusses analgesia, intra-operative fluid therapy, as well as specific concerns related to avian anesthesia, such as positioning the patient, hypocalcemia, air sac cannulation, as well as management of diving birds. This seminar concludes with practical tips for safe and uneventful patient recovery.
Unfortunately, emergency medicine and critical care don’t stop for the holiday season, so we are just sending a little reminder to make sure that your cupboard contains enough EmerAid for any crisis over the holidays.
Dr. Heather Barron presented this webinar on avian critical care. View a recording of the live, interactive event, then take the brief post-test to earn 1 hour of continuing education credit. The goal of wildlife medicine is always eventual release and therefore triage of avian wildlife may vary based on case load, regulations, and the presenting situation. Dr. Barron examines the guidelines used to set triage policy and the reasons a bird may not be releasable or have a good quality of life in captivity. She then discusses practical measures intended to alleviate suffering and improve the odds of patient survival, such as fluid support, analgesia, evaluation of blood volume, and transfusion. This presentation concludes with a brief discussion on assessing life and euthanasia.
Lafeber Company was proud to sponsor the Association of Exotic Mammal Veterinarians Student Case Report Contest. Veterinary students from all over the world were encouraged to write a 2-page case report about an exotic companion mammal seen at their college of veterinary medicine or during a clinical experience. Submissions closed March 22 and judges from the Research Committee evaluated the 14 case reports received. Judges were blinded to the students, mentors, co-authors, and institutions at which the cases were seen. See the brief summaries of each winning case report. Each student has been encouraged to submit their paper for publishing and for a presentation at ExoticsCon 2020.
View the recording of this live webinar event, then take the brief quiz. With a passing grade of 70% or higher, you will receive a continuing education certificate for 1 hour of continuing education credit in jurisdictions that recognize American Association of Veterinary State Boards Registry of Approved Continuing Education approval.
View the recording of this interactive, case-based presentation, which aims to cover the basics while also offering helpful tips, tricks, and insights for the experienced rehabilitator or veterinarian. Topics covered include wildlife rehabilitation fundamentals, emergency triage as it applies to wildlife care, and guidelines used to assess patient condition and determine the most humane treatment plan.
Reptile reproduction can be a confusing topic due to the variety of normal reproductive strategies found throughout different reptile species. Nevertheless it important to understand normal reproductive processes to correctly approach some commonly seen problems. The recording of this RACE-approved, webinar discusses normal reproductive strategies of reptiles, including important reproductive anatomy and physiology. Three clinically important conditions, pre-ovulatory or follicular stasis, post-ovulatory dystocia, and cloacal prolapse, are also explored in detail.
Long-term vascular access is difficult to obtain and maintain in chelonians. Fortunately, central venous catheters provide flexibility and length to avoid catheter dislodgement. Central lines are an effective tool that allow serial blood measurements and can be used for anesthesia administration, intravenous drug delivery, blood product transfusions, and continuous fluid therapy or continuous rate infusions.This photo tutorial article describes this simple technique step-by-step.
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.
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Capnometry measures the maximum value of carbon dioxide (CO2) obtained at the end of expiration or end-tidal carbon dioxide (ETCO2). There is good correlation between ETCO2 and arterial CO2 in birds and mammals and capnography can be used as a reliable tool to evaluate the adequacy of ventilation in these species. Capnography can only be used to identify trends in reptiles because of cardiac shunting of blood past the reptilian lungs.
Even the most steadfast and seasoned veterinary anesthetist can find themselves intimidated by exotic animal patients. Standard veterinary anesthesia monitors are not designed to read the extremely high (or extremely low) heart rates and respiratory rates of some exotic animal patients. Despite these challenges, valuable information can be gathered from monitoring tools as well as hands-on techniques. Essential vital signs, such as heart rate and rhythm, respiratory rate and depth, body temperature, and mucous membrane color should all be evaluated.
Arterial blood pressure is a function of heart rate, blood volume, stroke volume, and arterial compliance. Indirect arterial blood pressure is most commonly measured by Doppler ultrasound or non-invasive oscillometric monitors. What are the limitations of indirect blood pressure measurements in exotic animal patients? How is this technique unique in exotic companion mammals when compared to dogs and cats? How is this technique performed in birds and can this procedure be used in reptiles?
Electrocardiography can be used to detect and diagnose arrhythmias and conduction abnormalities, particularly during long-term anesthesia. How are leads attached to exotic animal patients? And what is the normal appearance of normal electrocardiogram tracings in birds or reptiles?
Heart rate and oxygenation should ideally be monitored during every anesthetic event. Patient size can limit the accuracy of pulse oximetry readings in exotic companion mammals and this technique has not been validated in birds or reptiles, however trends during the course of anesthesia can still provide useful clues to patient clinical status.
This learning aid is designed to assist the participant in meeting the needs of VECCS-certified facility. The basics of emergency medicine and critical care universal, however veterinarians face a unique set of challenges when caring for birds, exotic companion mammals, and reptiles. Level 1 of this teaching module reviews the basics of exotic animal critical care. To learn more in Level 2, review the key points on critical care or supportive care for each taxonomic group: birds, exotic companion mammals, and reptiles. Each summary page includes a brief quiz that tests your knowledge and reinforces fundamental principles. Delve deeper into critical care of exotic animal patients in Level 3 by browsing pertinent exotic animal content on LafeberVet.
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.
Reptiles lack an epiglottis and the glottis is ready visualized, making intubation readily accomplished in most species. If the glottal folds are closed, apply topical lidocaine to facilitate intubation. The tracheal rings are complete in reptiles. Use of an inflated, cuffed endotracheal tube can lead to pressure necrosis because there is no elastic ligament to accommodate tracheal expansion. Always select an uncuffed endotracheal tube in small reptiles and never inflate a cuff in large reptiles …
Although the principles of emergency medicine critical care are universal for all species, this approach must be balanced with an understanding of the unique aspects of small mammal medicine. Use this summary page to review the basic approach to the exotic companion mammal patient and select additional links to supplement your knowledge base.
Although the principles of emergency medicine critical care are universal for all species, this approach must be balanced with an understanding of the unique aspects of avian medicine. Use this summary page to review the basic approach to the avian patient and select additional links to supplement your knowledge base.
The approach to analgesia and sedation in exotic companion mammals faces special challenges, including small patient size and unique features of the prey species mentality. Recognition of pain is more difficult in rabbits and rodents because many small mammals are very good at hiding the signs of pain commonly observed in predator species. Instead pain in a rabbit or rodent is often inferred from the patient’s clinical condition as well as the absence of normal behaviors. The diagnostic and therapeutic plan frequently requires some form of chemical restraint in exotic mammal medicine. When compared to general anesthesia, sedation is a safer option for the debilitated or critically ill small mammal.
Test your knowledge after completing the reptile portion of the LafeberVet Emergency and Critical Care teaching module.
Test your knowledge after completing the exotic companion mammal portion of the LafeberVet Emergency and Critical Care teaching module.
Signs of illness in birds are often quite subtle until disease is advanced. Fortunately, quite a bit of information can be gleaned from a detailed history and careful observation. View this brief slideshow for tips on the visual examination.
This live webinar event was presented by James Morrisey, DVM, DABVP (AvianPractice). View a recording of this AAVSB R.A.C.E.-approved web-based seminar, then take the brief post-test to earn 1 hour of continuing education credit. The avian respiratory system has several unique and fascinating adaptations for flight that are important to clinicians. This webinar overviews the anatomy and physiology of the avian respiratory tract. Clinical correlates are pointed out as the presenter goes through anatomy and physiology. Clinical signs of respiratory disease in birds are then discussed along with how the clinician can use these signs to anatomically locate the origin of the problem to the upper respiratory tract, the major airways, the pulmonary parenchyma, and/or the coelomic cavity.
This presenting problem article reviews the basic approach to the dyspneic ferret beginning with clinical signs of the dyspneic ferret, key points of urgent care, as well as case management. This latter section reviews tips on taking the history, performing the physical exam, important differential diagnoses, as well as the diagnostic/therapeutic approach.
The Five Common Reptile Emergencies webinar was reviewed and approved by the American Association of Veterinary State Boards (AAVSB) Registry of Approved Continuing Education (R.A.C.E.) program for 1 hour of continuing education, in jurisdictions which recognize AAVSB R.A.C.E. approval…
View a recording of this AAVSB R.A.C.E.-approved web-based seminar presented by Eric Klaphake, DVM, DACZM, DABVP (Avian Practice), DABVP (Reptile & Amphibian), then take the brief post-test to earn 1 hour of continuing education credit. This webinar explores five common reptile clinical presentations in detail: trauma, gastrointestinal foreign body, neurological deficits, respiratory difficulty, and reproductive problems.
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…
Many people have been curious about the way we at International Bird Rescue were able to clean the birds affected by the San Francisco Bay Mystery Goo Spill in January 2015.
Traumatic orthopedic injuries are relatively common in the avian patient. Although bird bones are strong when intact, they tend to shatter on impact as the cortices are thin and brittle. A lack of abundant soft tissue coverage often leads to open fractures…
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 approach to a prey species like the rabbit often calls for a profound paradigm shift for clinicians used to dealing only with cats and dogs. Rabbits can stress very easily in a clinical setting and the challenge of managing a small mammal like the rabbit increases exponentially when they are presented for illness or injury.
In 2023, Ms. Nugent-Deal shared an updated video recording on this topic: Exotic Small Mammal Anesthesia. View this new, RACE-approved webinar recording.
The Vets Now Surgical Safety Checklist includes a list of safety issues that should be read aloud, with both the veterinarian and veterinary nurse or veterinary technician present. This checklist is divided into three categories: induction of anesthesia, before the skin incision, and before the patient leaves the operating room…
View the recording of this free, interactive webinar, presented by Neil Forbes, BVetMed DECZM (Avian) FRCVS. Many sick or injured exotic animals are presented in critical condition. More of these patients can be saved by appropriate fluids and nutritional support, than by any single medical or surgical procedure. In practical terms, providing this support is often easier said than done. Dr. Forbes’ presentation serves to demystify some of the challenges encountered; practical solutions for all exotic patients are described and discussed.
Red leg syndrome, also known as “pink belly disease” or bacterial dermatosepticemia, is one of the most common clinical conditions of captive frogs. Associated with peracute to acute bacterial septicemia, red leg is generally a disease of captive animals although the condition has also been implicated in rare mass mortalities of wild amphibians. This presenting problem article reviews clinical findings in red leg syndrome, pathogenesis of disease, as well as key points of urgent care and prognosis. The basics of case management are then reviewed: differential diagnoses, diagnostics, treatment, prevention and control.
Gastric dilatation or “bloat” and gastrointestinal obstruction is an acute and life-threatening condition of pet rabbits commonly caused by an obstruction with pellets of compressed hair. The discussion portion of this Case Challenge reviews onset, clinical signs, and diagnostic test results of obstructive and non-obstructive gastrointestinal disease. This condition is considered a surgical emergency and key points of urgent care strive to stabilize the patient through analgesia, decompression when indicated, and supportive care. Surgery is discussed as well as recommendations for patients that cannot go to surgery due to clinical or financial constraints. Follow-up care as well as homecare recommendations, disease prevention, and prognosis are also explored.
Gastrointestinal obstruction and a stomach distended with gas and fluid or “bloat” is a serious health problem of pet rabbits. Use this client educational handout to answer owner questions: What causes bloat and obstruction? Why is bloat a serious condition? What does bloat look like in the rabbit? This handout also explains the basics of a diagnostic workup, treatment, follow-up care, and prevention for this critical condition.
A 5-year old female spayed lop rabbit presents with a history of acute anorexia (<24 hours) and lethargy. Use history, physical examination findings, laboratory results and survey radiographs to solve this case challenge.
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.
Released for National Veterinary Technician Week 2014, Nursing Care for Exotic Companion Mammals is part of an Exotic ICU series providing advice on the management of small exotic companion mammals in a critical care setting. Specific recommendations on caging, medicating, feeding, and monitoring the critical small mammal are explored as well as important potential sequelae to the stress of hospitalization.
It is 10 p.m. in your veterinary emergency hospital and a dreaded call comes in. A panicked owner is in tears because their beloved pet is in crisis. In most cases, your team will quickly gather supplies and move swiftly to prepare for the emergent patient. This patient may strike fear in many veterinary professionals, however, because it is the dreaded avian patient presenting to a general veterinary practice.
Released for National Veterinary Technician Week 2014, Tips and Tricks for the Avian Patient is part of an Exotic ICU series that provides advice on the management of birds in a critical care setting.
Wing injuries may present as a wing droop or an inability to fly. The figure-of-eight bandage, or wing wrap, is the standard method for stabilizing the wing short-term. See the NEW and improved version of LafeberVet’s wing wrap placement video clip.
Because of a lack of identified blood groups in companion bird species, compatibility for transfusion is based on the use of major and minor cross matches. A major cross match is performed by mixing donor red cells with recipient plasma and a minor cross match uses recipient cells and donor plasma. The appearance of agglutination or cell lysis indicates incompatibility.
Unlike mammals, a single transfusion between different bird species can be safe and efficacious. Transfusions will be most effective if the donor is…
Reproductive emergencies are most commonly seen in small psittacine birds like the cockatiel, lovebird and budgerigar parakeet. This article reviews conditions commonly seen on an emergency basis such as dystocia, egg yolk peritonitis, cloacal or oviductal prolapse, and/or chronic egg laying. Pertinent anatomy and physiology as well as case management, including the reproductive history, physical examination, diagnostic imaging, and behavioral modification techniques are also discussed.
Although the overall incidence of urethral obstruction is probably low, this condition is an important reason for emergency presentation of the male ferret. n the United States, urethral obstruction is most frequently caused by…
If the gut works, use it. The preferred route for providing nutrition is enteral feeding since this preserves intestinal structure and function. Parenteral nutrition is indicated to prevent malnutrition when patients cannot consume adequate nutrients by oral feeding or tube feeding or when the respiratory tract cannot be protected. Parenteral nutrition is 100% bioavailable since nutrients reach tissue without the variations associated with gastrointestinal digestion.
One of the most valuable items in avian practice is a reliable formulary. Although pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic data is slowly growing, the vast majority of drug doses in companion parrot medicine rely on extrapolation and/or clinical experience. It is crucial that the clinician have access to this wide range of information and experience.
Feeding excessively hot formula (>110°F) causes crop burns. This problem is particularly common when formula is heated in a microwave without thorough mixing. Early signs of crop burn include…
Looking for an emergency equipment checklist? Review general recommendations for preparing yourself, your staff, and your practice to special species.
Guinea pigs tend to be shy, sweet-natured creatures. Guinea pigs are prey species. Their survival depends on the ability to be alert and respond quickly, and they possess acute senses of smell and hearing. Approach guinea pigs in a calm, quiet manner…
Rabbits are prey species. Their survival depends on the ability to be alert and respond quickly, and they possess acute senses of smell and hearing. Approach rabbits in a calm, quiet manner. Stressed or critically ill rabbits may not tolerate prolonged handling. Evaluation and treatment may need to proceed slowly in stages.
Lethargy, total or partial anorexia, a reduction in fecal output, or scant fecal size can all indicate critical illness in rabbits. Problems that slow the gut are often uncomfortable, however rabbits tend to mask pain and discomfort, especially when frightened. Signs of fear and pain in the rabbit can include…
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.
A collection of online resources related to emergency medicine and critical care. This list of links come from a variety of academic institutions and professional organizations.
In September 2017, LafeberVet sent out a brief poll soliciting recommendations for use in emergency and critical care settings. The results are listed here. A collection of textbooks and periodical journals for further study of veterinary emergency medicine and critical care are also listed.
This brief article was created to serve as a synopsis of LafeberVet’s longer, more detailed “Avian Analgesia” authored by avian veterinarian, Dr. Michelle Hawkins.
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.
Pancreatic beta cell tumor or insulinoma is commonly seen in middle-aged to older pet ferrets in some nations, including the United States. This article reviews the common clinical picture as well as expected laboratory results. While there is no cure for beta cell tumors, surgical debulkment of the tumor with possible partial pancreatectomy is the treatment of choice. This treatment modality is discussed as well as medical management, which centers around corticosteroid and/or diazoxide administration.
Many exotic animals seen in clinical practice are prey species. In the wild, individuals that appear sick or injured are easy prey for predators, and they may even be segregated or attacked by group members. When faced with the stress of a strange examination room, most prey species will attempt to appear alert and strong as an instinctive survival adaptation.
Air sac cannulas are routinely used to ventilate birds by a route other than endotracheal intubation. Air sac tubes are used for oxygenation and anesthesia, especially during surgery of the head or trachea where tracheal intubation would be cumbersome. In addition, air sac cannulas provide a means to medicate air sacs directly, and they are also used to aid dyspneic birds with tracheosyringeal obstruction from foreign bodies, granulomas, or tumors.
Head trauma may occur when a bird flies into an object such as a window or ceiling fan, or when falls occur secondary to an improper wing trim, neurologic disease, or severe weakness. Evaluate the bird for evidence of head trauma such as blood in the choanal slit, ears, or nares. Gently palpate the skull. A fracture of pneumatic skull bone can allow air to escape creating emphysema. The pupillary light response (PLR) should also be evaluated, although PLR may be absent in birds with a normal reflex path due to avian anatomic differences. Perform a fundic exam, particularly in…
The principles of fluid therapy are basically the same in exotic companion mammals as in other species. The biggest difference is that changes can occur very rapidly in these tiny patients. For instance, fluids should almost always be warmed or your patient will cool down quickly. Intraosseous or intravenous fluids can be heated with…
Respiratory tract disease is common in captive snakes. Pneumonia and/or tracheitis are typically caused by opportunistic Gram-negative bacterial infections that are allowed to take hold due to poor husbandry practices. Disease is often unapparent to the owner until the problem is quite advanced and open-mouth breathing is observed. This presenting problem article explores key points of urgent care as well as general principles of case management.
Is your patient strong enough to handle manual restraint and a complete physical examination? In the debilitated or dyspneic patient, initially it may be prudent to place the patient in an incubator or oxygen cage in a dark, quiet room before evaluation. Even after the bird has had time to gather its strength and calm down after the stress of transport, it may only be strong enough to handle diagnostic testing, including physical examination, and treatment in stages.
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.
Abdominocentesis or coelomocentesis may be indicated for the accumulation of fluid within one or more of the peritoneal cavities. Peritoneal fluid can accumulate with a variety of diseases, including chronic liver disease, amyloidosis in waterfowl, iron storage disease in mynah birds and toucans, coelomic tumors in budgerigar parakeets, viral infections like Marek’s disease (resulting in cardiac tumors), peritonitis, congestive heart failure, ovarian cysts, and trauma. This article reviews the potential complications of this clinical technique, the equipment needed, sample handling, and cytodiagnosis.
Beak trauma is a common problem in the companion parrot. Beak injury most often occurs secondary to bird bites and other forms of aggression. Other potential causes include damage from inappropriate caging or toys and iatrogenic damage during…
Unfortunately respiratory disease is common in pet rats. Although most cases of respiratory disease in the rat are multifactorial, the most significant and serious bacterial pathogen is Mycoplasma pulmonis. Institute medical therapy as soon as possible in rats with respiratory disease since this improves…
This brief article was created to serve as a synopsis of LafeberVet’s longer, more detailed “Analgesia in Small Mammals” authored by veterinary anesthesiologist, Dr. Paul Flecknell.
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…
Detecting a shelled egg on physical examination is not necessarily a problem—birds lay eggs everyday! However palpation of a shelled egg is an important clinical finding that can be associated with dystocia. The egg is shelled in a distal part of the oviduct called the uterus or shell gland. Therefore a shelled egg would normally be palpable in either the…
Gastrointestinal problems are common in the pet rabbit. A thorough history, including a detailed dietary history, can provide invaluable clues to the problem at hand. Signs of gastrointestinal discomfort in the rabbit may include bruxism, reluctance to move, and anorexia. If there is a history of anorexia, it is imperative to differentiate whether the rabbit is not eating because it has no interest in food, or if it is showing an interest in food but unable to eat. A complete lack of appetite is most commonly seen with physiological problems such as renal failure, whereas a reluctance to eat is a classic presentation in rabbits with dental disease.
Exotic animal practice is challenging! To approach any exotic animal patient requires a balancing act between the principles of “One Medicine-One Health” and species-specific information. The basic principles of avian medicine are the same as for a human being or a horse or a cat or a dog, and in many instances, veterinary care of birds may be extrapolated from basic medical principles. However this approach can only take one so far and these basic principles must be weighed against species-specific information.
Thermal burns are a common injury in snakes and lizards. Companion snakes and lizards may come in contact with poorly protected heat sources or old “hot rocks” that short circuit. Even free-ranging reptiles may be at risk for thermal injuries during grass or forest fires. This presenting problem article “Burns in Snakes and Lizards”, explores a basic understanding of burns in reptiles, then moves onto key points of urgent care as well as general aspects of case management, including patient history, physical examination, differential diagnoses, diagnostics, therapy, and finally prognosis.
Anorexia may be the only indication of poor health in the critically ill bird and by the time other clinical signs are apparent disease may be quite advanced. This means that all reports of poor appetite in the avian patient must be taken very seriously.
Disseminated idiopathic myofasciitis (DIM) is a severe inflammatory disease that primarily affects skeletal, smooth, and cardiac muscles as well as surrounding connective tissues. This recently identified disease typically affects young ferrets, less than 18 months of age. The cause of DIM is unknown, but this condition is suspected to be an acquired immune-mediated disease. The onset of DIM is usually acute to subacute, followed by a rapid decline over 12-36 hours. The most prominent clinical signs include a high fever ranging from…
It is critical to approach the dyspneic rabbit quietly, carefully, and gently. Many rabbits with respiratory disease are unstable upon presentation, given the stress of their condition compounded by the stress of transport and the strange smells, sights and sounds of the veterinary clinic. In many cases, it is prudent to delay handling the patient. Transfer the rabbit to…
The basic principles of fluid therapy are the same in the reptile as seen in birds and mammals, however reptile anatomy and physiology make some features of this crucial supportive care procedure unique. This article reviews fluid resuscitation with the use of crystalloid fluids and colloids, indications for replacement fluids including signs of dehydration and osmolarity values reported in reptiles. Routes of fluid administration in reptiles are described include subcutaneous, oral, soaking, intracoelomic, intraosseous, and intravenous via the cephalic vein, jugular vein, and in rare instances intracardiac catheter placement. Patient monitoring, including blood pressure measurement and signs of overhydration, are also explored.
Pet ferrets are routinely vaccinated against canine distemper virus and rabies virus. Anecdotally, hypersensitivity reactions to vaccines are common in the ferret, and can potentially be fatal.
Unfortunately, neurologic disease is a common presenting problem in the ferret. Neurologic deficits may include an altered level of consciousness, paresis, ataxia, or even pelvic limb paralysis or collapse.
When planning to accept avian patients, prepare yourself and your staff, prepare your hospital including hospital caging and exam rooms, and consider the equipment necessary for proper care…