Emergency care

image of Emergency care
Online Access: GBP25.00 + VAT
BSAVA Library Pass Buy a pass


The aim of this chapter is to provide a brief review of first aid techniques in reptiles and to outline the most important physiological conditions that need to be considered when presented with a reptile emergency. The essential points for the work-up of typical emergency situations are also considered.

Preview this chapter:
Loading full text...

Full text loading...



Image of 7.2
7.2 Intermittent positive pressure ventilation (IPPV) using a small animal ventilator in a bearded dragon. These devices can also be used in combination with 100% oxygen, as they provide forced ventilation of the lung.
Image of 7.3
7.3 Infusion pumps can be used to slowly administer volumes up to 60 ml. Besides the intravenous or the intraosseous route, they can also be used with a needle placed subcutaneously in debilitated patients.
Image of 7.4
7.4 Emaciated mountain-horned dragon. Although the underlying disease is a chronic process, these patients are often presented in an emergency situation.
Image of 7.5
7.5 Oedema in a Chinese pond turtle, caused by renal insufficiency.
Image of 7.6
7.6 Septicaemia in a Russian tortoise.
Image of 7.7
7.7 Russian tortoise hit by a car. The clinical signs are evident; however, some anamnestic information is still necessary to evaluate the reptile’s individual situation.
Image of 7.8
7.8 Severe stomatitis in a Burmese python. This condition is often seen with pneumonia or intestinal disease.
Image of 7.9
7.9 Positioning of the Doppler flowmeter in a bearded dragon. The device can be used easily to assess the heartbeat frequency in reptiles.
Image of 7.10
7.10 Tracheal wash being performed in a Burmese python. The material removed can be examined for the presence of infectious agents and inflammatory cells (see Figure 7.15 ).
Image of 7.11
7.11 Subcutaneous fluid administration in a Burmese python. In debilitated reptiles, the subcutaneous route can also be used for constant infusions, e.g. using an infusion pump.
Image of 7.12
7.12 Fluid administration into the coelomic cavity in a tortoise. The tortoise needs to be held in an upside-down position to avoid puncture of the inner organs. Although this method provides rapid fluid resorption via the coelomic membranes, it is only suitable as long as there are no palpable masses in the femoral area.
Image of 7.13
7.13 (a) Placement of an intraosseous catheter into the tibia of a bearded dragon. (b) A radiographic image to ensure correct placement.
Image of 7.14
7.14 Ultrasound-guided puncture of the heart in a boa constrictor. Cardiac injection can deliver fluids and drugs into the circulatory system, but fluid accumulation in the pericardium can occur. There is acoustic reflexion due to the needle position (arrowed).
Image of 7.15
7.15 Tracheal wash sample from a Burmese python suffering from pneumonia, demonstrating bacteria as well as inflammatory cells. (Courtesy of Dr. V Schmidt, Leipzig)
Image of 7.16
7.16 Ultrasonogram of a tortoise, demonstrating a massively filled urinary bladder. A needle can be used to quickly remove fluid if this is impacting on respiration as a fluid-filled viscus.
Image of 7.17
7.17 Computed tomography (CT) 3D-recontruction of a shell fracture in a turtle. CT is extremely helpful when planning surgical intervention in these cases.
Image of 7.18
7.18 Gastric feeding tube in a Hermann’s tortoise.

More like this

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