Respiratory system

image of Respiratory system
Online Access: £ 25.00 + VAT
BSAVA Library Pass Buy a pass


Respiratory disease is common in reptiles, especially snakes and chelonians. A large part of this is due to inappropriate husbandry and certain anatomical features of the reptile respiratory system. This chapter covers anatomy and physiology, clinical evaluation, diagnosis, upper and lower respiratory tract disease, and summarizes management and therapeutics of respiratory disease.

Preview this chapter:
Loading full text...

Full text loading...



Image of 18.2
18.2 The paired choanae and glottis can be seen caudal to the gular fold in a young American alligator.
Image of 18.3
18.3 Endoscopic view of normal lung in a spur-thighed tortoise.
Image of 18.4
18.4 Normal lungs in tortoises: (a) craniocaudal radiograph of a leopard tortoise; (b) lateral radiograph of a leopard tortoise; (c) craniocaudal radiograph of a spur-thighed tortoise; note the normal asymmetry.
Image of 18.5
18.5 Extent of normal lungs and air sacs in lizards: (a) dorsoventral (DV) view of a bearded dragon showing the lungs and air sacs; (b) DV view of Bosc monitor showing the lungs and air sacs; (c) horizontal beam lateral view of a chameleon showing the air sacs.
Image of 18.6
18.6 Red-eared terrapin with a right-lung pneumonia, showing altered buoyancy.
Image of 18.7
18.7 Common boa showing head-raised position with lower respiratory tract disease (LRTD).
Image of 18.10
18.10 Radiographic changes seen in extra-respiratory disease of tortoises. (a) Lateral and (b) dorsoventral radiographs of a Turkish tortoise with gastric stasis. The initial presentation suggested lower respiratory tract disease (LRTD) but clinical signs resulted from compression of lung fields. (c) Lung compression in a case of egg-related peritonitis. The tortoise presented with dyspnoea: open-mouth breathing and gasping. (d) After abdominal drainage; respiratory signs improved markedly.
Image of 18.12
18.12 Marginated tortoise that presented severely dyspnoeic with respiratory noise. Tracheoscopy indicated an abscess at the bifurcation of the trachea, possibly associated with inhalation of tomato seed. (a) Tracheotomy was performed to remove the abscess. (b) Tracheotomy tube (modified catheter) placed into one bronchus and maintained during treatment and healing.
Image of 18.13
18.13 Upper respiratory tract disease in a leopard tortoise. Note the nasal discharge.
Image of 18.16
18.16 Chelonian herpesvirus (ChHV) associated stomatitis.
Image of 18.17
18.17 Chronic granulomatous stomatitis in a python. Deeper infections may progress to osteomyelitis and upper respiratory infection.
Image of 18.18
18.18 Lateral radiograph of a Hermann’s tortoise. ‘Collapse’ of the spine and shell due to nutritional secondary hyperparathyroidism results in compression of lung fields and predisposes to lower respiratory tract disease (LRTD).
Image of 18.19
18.19 Lung tumour in a spur-thighed tortoise. (a) Lateral (horizontal-beam) radiography showed a mass in the left lung; note the lucency of the dorsal shell. (b) Biopsy via a transcarapacial approach revealed the mass to be a squamous cell carcinoma. Clinical signs related to hindlimb paresis, presumably due to involvement of the spinal column. (c) Cavitating lung lesion (abscess) in a spur-thighed tortoise.
Image of 18.21
18.21 Radiographs of pneumonia in tortoises. (a) Diffuse pneumonia in a Hermann’s tortoise. (b) Severe fibrotic diffuse pneumonia in a tortoise. Systemic ceftazidime and F10 nebulization were used for 4 weeks. (c) Post-therapy radiograph.
Image of 18.22
18.22 Radiographs of pneumonia in tortoises. (a) Craniocaudal view indicating a left-sided only pneumonia; (b) lateral view of the same animal shows an abscess in the cranial lung field.
Image of 18.23
18.23 Endoscopic view of pneumonic lung in a Hermann’s tortoise. (a) The normal bronchus is seen on the left. There is congestion of lung tissues and a purulent discharge. (b) Diffuse pneumonia with pockets of inspissated pus.
Image of 18.24
18.24 Transcarapacial endoscopy in a Hermann’s tortoise.
Image of 18.26
18.26 Horizontal beam lateral view of a diffuse pneumonia in a bearded dragon. Note the lack of air-sac inflation and the presence of air in the stomach (aerophagia).
Image of 18.27
18.27 As in other species, respiratory signs may be induced by extra-respiratory causes. In this bearded dragon, gut ileus impinges on the air sacs and lungs, causing dyspnoea: (a) dorsoventral view; (b) horizontal beam lateral view.
Image of 18.29
18.29 Hospitalization of a common boa diagnosed with a bacterial pneumonia. Use of an ‘Aquabrooder’ enables provision of a warm humid atmosphere.
This is a required field
Please enter a valid email address
Approval was a Success
Invalid data
An Error Occurred
Approval was partially successful, following selected items could not be processed due to error