Ostriches, emus and rheas

image of Ostriches, emus and rheas
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This chapter provides the need-to-know information on ostriches, emus and rheas:

  • Biology
  • Husbandry
  • Handling and restraint
  • Diagnostic approach
  • Common conditions
  • Supportive care
  • Anaesthesia and analgesia
  • Common surgical procedures
  • Euthanasia
  • Drug formulary.

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12.1 The three ratites most likely to be seen by the veterinary surgeon: ostrich; emu; and greater rhea.
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12.3 The tissue prominence in female emus is found in the same location as the male phallus – on the ventral floor of the cloaca.
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12.4 Young ratites, like these emus, need plenty of room to run and exercise to maintain normal skeletal growth in their legs and prevent excessive weight gain.
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12.5 It is important to build strong fencing around ostrich holding pens to prevent birds from breaking out if startled.
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12.6 Shelters protect birds from environmental stresses such as weather.
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12.8 Artificial incubation. This large, well built incubator has been specifically designed to incubate ratite eggs, thereby increasing hatch success. Setting up an incubator room allows for better biosecurity and external environmental control.
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12.10 Young ostriches that have been removed from the incubator and placed in a hatcher.
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12.11 Handling young ostriches. Sitting behind the bird, with its legs folded underneath its body, is an effective way to restrain a bird of this size. Care must be taken not to sit on the body or compress the body cavity. Restraint for physical examination.
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12.12 Hooded adult ostrich being examined in a chute.
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12.13 Palpating a restrained large juvenile ostrich.
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12.14 A nerve block is being placed in the hock of this ostrich to try and localize the site of lameness.
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12.15 To examine a bird for gastric impaction or an ingested foreign body, the patient can be placed on the radiographic cassette, under mild sedation, to obtain a dorsoventral view of the coelomic cavity.
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12.16 The right jugular vein is commonly used for blood collection from ratite species.
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12.18 Avian pox lesions on a young ostrich.
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12.19 granulomas on the liver of an emu.
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12.20 granulomas in the lung of a young emu.
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12.21 A young ratite suffering from skeletal leg abnormalities.
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12.22 An indwelling intravenous catheter placed in the basilic vein of an ostrich.
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