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The majority of bats presented as wildlife casualties are common pipistrelle bats, soprano pipistrelle bats and brown long-eared bats. The last 50 years has seen dramatic declines in the British bat population: habitat and agricultural intensification are the likely major causes. Trauma and infectious diseases are two of the main reasons a bat may be presented to a veterinary clinic. This chapter covers: ecology and biology; anatomy and physiology; capture, handling and transportation; clinical assessment; first aid and hospitalization; anaesthesia and analgesia; specific conditions; therapeutics; husbandry; rearing of bat pups; rehabilitation and release; and legal considerations.

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15.2 Common pipistrelle bat. Note rounded shape of a healthy bat. (© RSPCA, David Couper)
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15.3 Ventral view of stylized microchopteran bat illustrating major anatomical features. (Redrawn after )
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15.4 Lucent finger joints (arrowed) visible in the wing of a juvenile bat. (© RSPCA, David Couper)
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15.5 Thin juvenile bat with ectoparasites and blowfly eggs, showing ‘tucked-in’ abdomen.
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15.6 (a) For examination the bat is held dorsoventrally across the thorax using the thumb and fingers in apposition. Whilst supporting the body, each wing is extended and examined in turn. Note: photograph is of dead specimen. (b) Restraint of a noctule bat, one of the larger bat species in the UK. Note the large canines and location of the buccal glands (arrowed). (a, © Steve Bexton; b, © Maggie and Bryan Brown)
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15.7 Radiograph of brown long-eared bat, revealing fractures around the left shoulder joint. (© RSPCA, David Couper)
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15.8 Brown long-eared bat showing massive trauma as a result of a cat attack: fracture of left forearm; holes in left wing membrane; phalanges exposed by large tear in right wing membrane; tear to uropatagium exposing right calcar. Note: photograph is of a dead specimen. (© RSPCA, David Couper)
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15.9 (a) Small hole in the patagium, which will heal rapidly without intervention. (b) Large tear in the patagium with a more guarded prognosis. (a, © RSPCA, David Couper; b, © Maggie and Bryan Brown)
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15.10 Juvenile common pipistrelle bat covered in cobwebs and debris. (© RSPCA, David Couper)
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15.11 Hibernating little brown bats () in North America exhibiting white-nose syndrome. (Courtesy of Nancy Heaslip, New York Department of Environmental Conservation)
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15.12 species bat bug. (Courtesy of C Dietz)
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15.13 Common pipistrelle bat showing extensive fur loss. (© RSPCA, David Couper)
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15.15 Clip-top plastic tank suitable for short-term accommodation. Paper towel hung over edges of container provides bat with somewhere to hide and hang from. Mealworms presented in a shallow, smooth-sided container, to allow easy access for bat, but to prevent mealworms from escaping. A heat mat is positioned behind the tank. (© RSPCA, David Couper)
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15.16 Pipistrelle bat being hand-fed a mealworm. (© Maggie and Bryan Brown)
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15.17 Metabolic bone disease in a juvenile common pipistrelle bat. The finger bones are deformed and there is a folding fracture of the forearm. Note: photograph is of a dead specimen. (© RSPCA, David Couper)
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