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Abstract

CASE DESCRIPTION

A 7-year-old female blue crane (Anthropoides paradiseus) was initially evaluated after it had suddenly developed signs of respiratory distress following aspiration of a rock. Emergency tracheotomy had been performed, and the rock had been removed from the proximal cervical portion of the trachea. Fifty-one days later, the clinical signs had returned and the crane was reevaluated.

CLINICAL FINDINGS

On reevaluation, no obvious external abnormalities were appreciated at the previous surgical site and no discharge was observed from the glottis. Computed tomography and tracheoscopy revealed marked tracheal stenosis and architectural collapse of the trachea at the previous surgery site.

TREATMENT AND OUTCOME

Tracheal resection and anastomosis was performed to remove the stenotic tracheal segment. Histologic examination of the resected tracheal segment revealed pyogranulomas with intralesional coccobacilli, fungal hyphae consistent with Aspergillus spp, possible parasitic ova, and features suggestive of mild to moderate heterophilic and lymphoplasmacytic tracheitis. The crane was treated with piroxicam, ceftiofur crystalline free acid, terbinafine, and itraconazole. At a follow-up examination 12 weeks later, no abnormalities were appreciated, and the surgical site had completely healed.

CLINICAL RELEVANCE

To the authors’ knowledge, this is the first reported case of successful tracheal resection and anastomosis in a bird of the order Gruiformes. The surgical approach used for the blue crane may be useful for removal of tracheal foreign bodies in this and other long-necked avian species.

Full access
in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association

Abstract

OBJECTIVE

To evaluate the outcome of surgical fixation of shell fractures in rehabilitated wild freshwater turtles.

ANIMALS

51 freshwater turtles with 86 shell fractures.

PROCEDURES

The medical record database of a wildlife rehabilitation center in Wisconsin was searched from 2014 through 2019 for records of freshwater turtles with shell fractures repaired with a plate technique, screws and wire technique, or both. Signalment, fracture location, therapeutic approach (including the type of hardware used for repair), dry-docking duration, time to hardware removal, postremoval care, and outcome were evaluated.

RESULTS

36 of 51 (71%) turtles with shell fractures experienced successful fracture healing following surgical hardware fixation, and 33 (65%) were released. Shells of 38 (75%) turtles were repaired with plates only, 5 (10%) turtles with wire only, and 8 (16%) turtles with a combination of plates and screws and wires. Of the 51 turtles, 13 (25%) did not survive > 4 weeks following hardware repair, leaving 38 animals available to assess fracture healing. Median time to start staged removal was 42 days (range, 35 to 49 days) and to complete removal of the applied hardware was 56 days (range, 26 to 77 days). Complications associated with placement of the hardware occurred in 6 of 38 (16%) turtles. Complications included screw hole infection (4/38 [11%]), fracture necrosis (1/38 [3%]), and deep screw hole penetration (1/38 [3%]).

CLINICAL RELEVANCE

Results indicated that shell fractures in freshwater turtles treated with surgical fixation techniques had a successful outcome. Most complications were minor, and fractures improved with time, resulting in acceptable fracture healing for release.

Full access
in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association

Abstract

OBJECTIVE

To evaluate SC administration of alfaxalone-midazolam and dexmedetomidine-midazolam for sedation of ball pythons (Python regius).

ANIMALS

12 healthy juvenile ball pythons.

PROCEDURES

In a randomized crossover study, each snake was administered a combination of alfaxalone (5 mg/kg [2.3 mg/lb]) and midazolam (0.5 mg/kg [0.23 mg/lb]) and a combination of dexmedetomidine (0.05 mg/kg [0.023 mg/lb]) and midazolam (0.5 mg/kg), SC, with a washout period of at least 7 days between protocols. Respiratory and heart rates and various reflexes and behaviors were assessed and compared between protocols. Forty-five minutes after protocol administration, sedation was reversed by SC administration of flumazenil (0.05 mg/kg) alone or in combination with atipamezole (0.5 mg/kg; dexmedetomidine-midazolam protocol only). Because of difficulties with visual assessment of respiratory effort after sedative administration, the experiment was repeated for a subset of 3 ball pythons, with plethysmography used to assess respiration.

RESULTS

Both protocols induced a similar level of moderate sedation with no adverse effects aside from transient apnea. Cardiopulmonary depression was more profound, but time to recovery after reversal was significantly shorter, for the dexmedetomidine-midazolam protocol than for the alfaxalone-midazolam protocol. Plethysmographic findings were consistent with visual observations and suggested that snakes compensated for a decrease in respiratory rate by increasing tidal volume amplitude.

CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL RELEVANCE

Results indicated that both protocols induced clinically relevant sedation in ball pythons and should be useful for minor procedures such as venipuncture and diagnostic imaging. However, caution should be used when sedating snakes with compromised cardiopulmonary function. (J Am Vet Med Assoc 2020;256:573-579

Full access
in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association

Abstract

CASE DESCRIPTION A 14-year-old 4.1-kg (9.02-lb) male harpy eagle (Harpia harpyja) was evaluated because of vomiting, anorexia, lethargy, and weight loss (decrease of 0.35 kg [0.77 lb]) of 4 weeks' duration. The bird had previously been treated orally with fenbendazole after the initial onset of clinical signs.

CLINICAL FINDINGS An initial CBC revealed marked heteropenia and anemia, but whole-body contrast-enhanced CT images and other diagnostic test findings were unremarkable. Clinical signs persisted, and additional diagnostic testing failed to reveal the cause. During celiotomy, a biopsy specimen of the duodenum was obtained for histologic examination, which revealed lymphoplasmacytic inflammation, consistent with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).

TREATMENT AND OUTCOME Prior to histopathologic diagnosis of IBD, barium sulfate administered via gavage resulted in a temporary improvement of clinical signs. Following diagnosis of IBD, corticosteroid administration was initiated in conjunction with antifungal prophylaxis. Cessation of vomiting and a return to normal appetite occurred within 3 days. Fifteen months after cessation of corticosteroid treatment, the eagle continued to do well.

CLINICAL RELEVANCE To our knowledge, this was the first report of diagnosis and management of IBD in an avian species. For the eagle of the present report, results of several diagnostic tests increased clinical suspicion of IBD, but histologic examination of an intestinal biopsy specimen was required for definitive diagnosis. Although successful in this case, steroid administration in avian species must be carefully considered. Conclusive evidence of fenbendazole toxicosis was not obtained, although it was highly suspected in this bird.

Full access
in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association

Abstract

OBJECTIVE

To retrospectively evaluate the prevalence and clinical progression of wobbly hedgehog syndrome (WHS) and concurrent incidence of neoplasia in a cohort of African pygmy hedgehogs (Atelerix albiventris).

ANIMALS

49 hedgehogs.

CLINICAL PRESENTATION AND PROCEDURES

Medical records of hedgehogs from 7 institutions across the US over a 20-year period (2000 to 2020) were retrospectively reviewed. Inclusion criteria were hedgehogs of any sex or age with postmortem CNS histopathology consistent with WHS. Collected data included sex, age at onset and euthanasia, major histopathologic findings, reported neurologic clinical signs, and treatments administered.

RESULTS

24 males and 25 females were included. Fifteen of 49 (31%) individuals had subclinical WHS with no reported antemortem neurologic clinical signs. In neurologically affected (clinical) hedgehogs (n = 34), the mean ± SD age at onset was 3.3 ± 1.5 years with a median (range) time from onset to euthanasia of 51 days (1 to 319 days). In neurologically affected hedgehogs, the most commonly reported clinical signs were ataxia (n = 21) and pelvic limb paresis (16) and the most commonly administered treatment was meloxicam (13). Overall, 31 of 49 (63%) hedgehogs had a concurrent histopathologic diagnosis of neoplasia outside of the CNS.

CLINICAL RELEVANCE

The prognosis for hedgehogs with WHS is poor. No treatment had a significant effect on survival time, and neoplasia was a common comorbidity in the current cohort. A small but clinically relevant subset of neurologically normal hedgehogs had a histopathologic diagnosis of WHS.

Full access
in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association