Ryan S. De Voe, DVM, MSpVM, DACZM, DABVP
No matter the patients size, making their life easier is better for all involved.
Amphibians are solidly represented as captives in both private and institutional collections. Many amphibian species are in precarious situations in their natural habitats due to environmental changes and disease. As a result, many captive populations are extremely valuable from a conservation standpoint.
Providing veterinary care to small avian patients can be a tremendous challenge. Basic procedures we take for granted in larger patients can be all but impossible to accomplish in these diminutive, and sometimes quite fragile, animals.
This lecture will focus primarily on terrestrial arthropods such as arachnids, myriapods and insects. There is a significant amount of literature available to bring the veterinary clinician up to speed regarding captive management of various invertebrate species. One of the best books the author has run across is "Breeding food animals: live food for vivarium animals".
In this lecture we will discuss the basics of insectivorous reptile nutrition, paying particular attention to the role vitamin A and Vitamin D play in a healthy diet. Captive animals that receive diets that contain deficient or excessive amounts of both these vitamins are frequently seen by veterinarians. Therefore, it is important that the reptile veterinarian be able to recognize signs of malnutrition and provide treatment as well as correct the diet.
Reptilian hearts differ significantly from those of mammals. Most reptiles possess three chambered hearts, with the exception of crocodilians. The anatomy of the great vessels is quite different from that of mammals and can be confusing to uninitiated. Adequate knowledge of normal anatomy and function is paramount in assessing health and performing certain clinical procedures. Reptile cardiovascular physiology is also significantly different from that of mammals.