Infectious diseases

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The clinical approach to infectious disease in reptiles requires a full appreciation of the animal’s husbandry in addition to identification of infectious agents. This chapter covers the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of a range of infectious diseases caused by viruses, bacteria and fungi.

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25.1 A clinical approach to infectious diseases in reptiles.
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25.8 Electron micrograph of herpesvirus nucleocapsids. This herpesvirus was isolated from the tongue and oesophagus of a Horsfield’s tortoise. (Negative staining of cell culture supernatant with phosphotungstic acid)
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25.9 Post-mortem sections of a herpesvirus-infected Horsfield’s tortoise with (a) stomatitis, (b) glossitis and (c) oesophagitis. (Courtesy of Udo Hetzel)
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25.10 Histopathology of the tongue of a leopard tortoise infected with herpesvirus, showing ballooning degeneration of epithelial cells. Eosinophilic intranuclear inclusions and margination of chromatin are visible in numerous epithelial cells. (Haematoxylin and eosin; original magnification X20) (Courtesy of Horst Posthaus)
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25.11 Oral swabs can be used to diagnose herpesvirus infections in tortoises.
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25.12 The tongue of a Hermann’s tortoise with stomatitis and pharyngitis. This animal was infected with a ranavirus. (Courtesy of Lucca Bacciarini)
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25.13 Skin alterations observed in green anoles infected with a ranavirus. (a) Beige–grey discoloration of the skin on the lateral abdomen. (b) Multiple ulcers on the ventral abdominal surface. (c) Grey lesions on the skin of the tail. (Reproduced from )
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25.14 Skin lesions on an Australian frilled lizard. A virus that was similar to invertebrate iridoviruses was isolated from this animal. (Courtesy of Silvia Blahak)
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25.15 Typical ranavirus cytopathic effect in cells of the TH-1 cell line. Cell lysis and round cell formation are visible. (Original magnification X100)
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25.16 Electron micrograph of paramyxovirus particles and filamentous nucleocapsid material with a herringbone structure. This virus was isolated from an oral swab from a timber rattlesnake. (Negative staining of cell culture supernatant with phosphotungstic acid)
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25.17 Inclusion body disease in a common boa, showing typical CNS signs.
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25.18 Inclusion body disease in a common boa. Eosinophilic intracytoplasmic inclusions (arrowed) of variable size are visible in several cells in this liver section. (Haematoxylin and eosin; original magnification X40) (Courtesy of Udo Hetzel)
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25.20 Cutaneous signs of septicaemia in a tortoise. Note the reddening of the shell.
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25.21 Ulcerative necrotic dermatitis in a turtle. The turtle was also septicaemic. Treatment involved antibiosis (based on culture and sensitivity test results from deep-tissue samples), supportive care (fluid therapy) and environmental correction (temperature, water quality).
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25.22 Granulomatous dermatitis in a green iguana. Bacterial infection was confirmed by biopsy. Culture revealed the presence of . Environmental evaluation revealed a low temperature and some vivarium materials that may have traumatized the skin. Treatment involved antibiosis, topical cleaning (with povidone iodine solution and silver sulfadiazine cream) and correction of environmental temperature.
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25.23 Hard subcutaneous swelling in the neck of a male sulcata (African spurred tortoise). Mycobacteriosis was confirmed by biopsy. The animal was subsequently euthanased. Post-mortem examination revealed a typical granulomatous appearance on the cut surfaces of the lesion.
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25.24 Cheilitis caused by infection in a spiny-tailed lizard.
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25.25 CANV infection in (a–b) two iguanas and (c) a bearded dragon. The diagnosis was confirmed via culture and histopathology. (b) Note the deep ulceration extending into the subcutaneous tissues on the limb of the iguana. (c) Note the typical yellow crusts on the head of the bearded dragon. The iguana recovered following 3 months’ treatment with itraconazole (at 10 mg/kg orally q24h) and cleaning with topical povidone iodine solution. The bearded dragon was euthanased after showing no response to treatment.
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