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Objective—To determine the effect of various UVB radiation sources on plasma 25-hydroxyvitamin D3 concentrations in Hermann's tortoises (Testudo hermanni).
Animals—18 healthy Hermann's tortoises.
Procedures—Tortoises were exposed to sunlight in an outdoor enclosure located in the natural geographic range of Hermann's tortoises (n = 6 tortoises) or a self-ballasted mercury-vapor lamp (6) or fluorescent UVB-emitting lamp (6) in an indoor enclosure for 35 days. Plasma samples were obtained from each tortoise on the first (day 0) and last (day 35) days of the study, and concentrations of 25-hydroxyvitamin D3 were determined. Amount of UVB radiation in enclosures was measured.
Results—Mean ± SD plasma 25-hydroxyvitamin D3 concentrations for tortoises exposed to the mercury-vapor and fluorescent lamps were significantly lower on day 35 (155.69 ± 80.71 nmol/L and 134.42 ± 51.42 nmol/L, respectively) than they were on day 0 (368.02 ± 119.34 nmol/L and 313.69 ± 109.54 nmol/L, respectively). Mean ± SD plasma 25-hydroxyvitamin D3 concentration for tortoises exposed to sunlight did not differ significantly between days 0 (387.74 ± 114.56 nmol/L) and 35 (411.51 ± 189.75 nmol/L). Mean day 35 plasma 25-hydroxyvitamin D3 concentration was significantly higher for tortoises exposed to sunlight versus those exposed to mercury-vapor or fluorescent lamps. Sunlight provided significantly more UVB radiation than did the mercury-vapor or fluorescent lamps.
Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Plasma 25-hydroxyvitamin D3 concentrations differed between tortoises exposed to sunlight and those exposed to artificial UVB sources. Exposure to sunlight at a latitude similar to that of the natural geographic range is recommended for healthy and calcium-deficient tortoises.
Objective—To determine whether face mask fit during anesthesia affects the occurrence of fire episodes during laser surgery in nonintubated cadaveric rodents under volatile anesthesia.
Design—Adaptive single-center randomized controlled trial with an interim analysis.
Sample—100 dead rats intended for animal consumption.
Procedures—Rat carcasses were randomly allocated to undergo simulated anesthetic procedures with 2 face masks: open mask versus tight-fitting mask. Under volatile anesthesia, 4 cutaneous surgeries were performed (skin biopsies at 3 different sites and resection of a pinna) by means of a diode laser on each carcass. A single interim analysis of 50 rats was planned a priori to drop an arm of the study in the case of a highly significant difference in the incidence of fire events. Surgeries would have continued with the other face mask until completion of the study. Univariate and multivariate analyses were performed.
Results—Overall, 25 surgeries were performed with open face masks and 75 with tight-fitting masks. During 400 surgical procedures on 100 rat carcasses, 11 (11%; 95% confidence interval, 5.62% to 18.83%) fire events occurred. Ten fire events occurred with the open masks, and 1 fire event occurred with the tight-fitting masks (relative risk, 30.0; 95% confidence interval, 4.0 to 222.8). All of the fire events occurred on different carcasses when cheek skin biopsy was performed. Procedure time, body weight, and surgeon did not significantly concur in the prediction of fire events.
Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Modification of open masks by the addition of a latex diaphragm significantly reduced the occurrence of fire ignition during laser surgery. Results suggested that open masks should not be used for laser surgery of nonintubated rodents during volatile anesthesia. Additionally, results indicated that surgical lasers should be avoided for facial surgery of nonintubated anesthetized rodents, even if tight-fitting masks are used. (J Am Vet Med Assoc 2015;246:639–644)
OBJECTIVE To determine whether rectal temperature at hospital admission, independently or in conjunction with other parameters, was associated with all-cause mortality in client-owned rabbits.
DESIGN Prospective cohort study.
ANIMALS 316 client-owned rabbits consecutively hospitalized in an exotics-only animal hospital.
PROCEDURES Rectal temperature of each hospitalized rabbit was measured at admission. Individual variables, including survival up to 1 week after hospital discharge, were recorded. Univariate, multivariate, and sensitivity analyses were performed.
RESULTS Rabbits with hypothermia at admission had a risk of death before or within 1 week after hospital discharge 3 times that of rabbits without hypothermia (relative risk, 3.09; 95% confidence interval, 2.17 to 4.39). For each 1°C (1.8°F) decrease in admission rectal temperature, the odds of death were doubled (OR, 2.11; 95% confidence interval, 1.69 to 2.64). Sensitivity analyses confirmed the robustness of the finding. Older age, suspected presence of a systemic disease, and presence of gastrointestinal stasis were also significantly associated with an increased risk of death.
CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL RELEVANCE Rectal temperature was easily measured in rabbits and was a major predictor of death in the present patient cohort. Because of its association with death in both healthy and diseased rabbits in this study, rectal temperature should always be measured during physical examination of rabbits. Treatment of hypothermia in client-owned rabbits requires further research.
Objective—To evaluate performance of a human portable blood glucose meter (PBGM), a veterinary PBGM, and a veterinary benchtop analyzer for measuring blood glucose concentration in rabbits and to evaluate the effect of sample characteristics on their performance.
Design—Observational prospective cross-sectional study.
Sample—Blood samples from 89 pet rabbits.
Procedures—Blood glucose concentration was measured with a human PBGM (n = 89 rabbits), a veterinary PBGM (89), and a benchtop analyzer (32) and compared with results obtained with plasma in a laboratory analyzer (hexokinase method).
Results—The human PBGM underestimated blood glucose concentration, had decreased accuracy at high Hcts, and had the lowest total error observed (11.4%). The veterinary PBGM overestimated blood glucose concentration, had decreased accuracy at low Hcts and at high blood glucose concentrations, and had the highest total error (15.5% and 29.8% for canine and feline settings, respectively). The benchtop analyzer had good accuracy and was not influenced by Hct or glucose concentrations. Clinical errors would have occurred in 0% of cases with the human PBGM and with the benchtop analyzer and in 9% (canine setting) to 6.7% (feline setting) of cases with the veterinary PBGM.
Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Results suggested that use of the human PBGM evaluated in this study would be acceptable for point-of-care testing of blood glucose concentration in rabbits when benchtop analyzers are not available. The use of the veterinary PBGM evaluated in this study may alter both treatment and diagnostic decisions because of the overestimation of glucose concentrations in some rabbits.
Objective—To describe a noninvasive technique for sex identification of posthatchling chelonians and to assess its safety in Hermann's tortoises (Testudo hermanni).
Design—Validation study and clinical trial.
Animals—15 recently dead posthachling chelonians and 25 healthy posthatchling Hermann's tortoises.
Procedures—Cystoscopy was performed on both dead and anesthetized live chelonians. Dead chelonians ranged in body weight from 32.4 to 75.1 g (0.07 to 0.17 lb; median, 45.7 g [0.10 lb]). Dead chelonians were dissected immediately after cystoscopy, and gonads were collected for histologic examination. Urinary bladder was macroscopically evaluated in situ to assess its integrity after retrograde injection of saline (0.9% NaCl) solution. Hermann's tortoises ranged in body weight from 27.3 to 57.8 g (0.06 to 0.13 lb; median, 37.0 g [0.08 lb]). Cystoscopic examination of live tortoises was performed following induction of general anesthesia with a mixture of morphine, dexmedetomidine, and ketamine administered IM. The Pearson coefficient was used to assess the consistency between procedure time and body weight; κ statistic was used to evaluate agreement between sex identified by cystoscopy and histologic examination beyond that expected by mere chance.
Results—Visualization of gonads was feasible through the thin, transparent urinary bladder wall in all the animals evaluated in this study. Blinded histologic examination confirmed the results of cystoscopic gonad identification in all dead chelonians (κ = 1.0). The urinary bladder did not have evidence of macroscopic leakage or microscopic alterations of normal tissue architecture within the representative sections chosen for histologic examination. In live tortoises, median procedure time (range) was 90 (39 to 345) seconds. No significant correlations were found between procedure time and body weight.
Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Cystoscopy performed by means of rigid endoscopy with fluid instillation was found to be an effective method for sex identification of immature chelonians. Furthermore, no complications were observed when this procedure was performed in vivo.
Objective—To determine intraocular pressure (IOP) in healthy Hermann's tortoises (Testudo hermanni).
Animals—26 outdoor-housed Hermann's tortoises (13 males and 13 females); body weight ranged from 255 to 2,310 g, and age ranged from 4 to > 50 years.
Procedures—After a preliminary ophthalmic evaluation was performed, IOP was measured by means of a rebound tonometer in both eyes of each tortoise. Three measurements were obtained for each eye; successive measurements were obtained from alternate eyes. Each measurement was based on the mean of 6 values automatically provided by the rebound tonometer. Statistical analysis was used to evaluate correlations between variables and to identify sex- or size-related IOP variations, and changes in IOP over multiple measurements.
Results—Mean ± SEM IOP of the 52 eyes was 15.74 ± 0.20 mm Hg (range, 9 to 22 mm Hg). Results for t tests did not reveal significant differences in IOP between the right and left eyes or between males and females. A significant moderate negative correlation (r = −0.41; r 2 = 0.169) between IOP and body weight was detected. Results of repeated-measures ANOVA revealed a significant increase in IOP over multiple measurements.
Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Rebound tonometry was a practical and rapid means of determining IOP in small- to medium-sized tortoises that required minimal manual restraint of the animals. Establishing IOP values in healthy Hermann's tortoises will provide a reference frame for use during complete ophthalmic examinations, thus allowing clinicians to diagnose a broader spectrum of ocular pathological conditions in tortoises.
OBJECTIVE To explore sources of serum aldosterone concentration variability in a population of healthy and diseased ferrets, determine a preliminary 1 -sided reference interval for serum aldosterone concentration in healthy ferrets, and identify a decision limit to differentiate healthy from diseased ferrets on the basis of serum aldosterone concentration.
DESIGN Prospective threshold definition and diagnostic accuracy study.
ANIMALS 78 healthy (n = 56) and diseased (22) ferrets.
PROCEDURES Serum aldosterone concentrations were measured on consecutively admitted ferrets, and an upper reference limit for aldosterone concentrations was established. Sensitivity and specificity of aldosterone concentration cutoffs to differentiate healthy from diseased ferrets were estimated with receiver operating characteristic curve analysis.
RESULTS Measurements of serum aldosterone concentrations in the ferrets showed wide variability, with a median concentration of 4.75 pg/mL (interquartile range, 0.55 to 17.9 pg/mL; range, 0.02 to 283.9 pg/mL) and 76% (59/78) of samples having concentrations < 18 pg/mL. Ferrets that were healthy, older, or sexually inactive had significantly lower aldosterone concentrations. The upper limit of the reference interval for healthy ferrets was 13.3 pg/mL (90% confidence interval, 9.9 to 16.9 pg/mL). Analysis of receiver operating characteristic curves indicated that an aldosterone concentration cutoff value of 7.6 pg/mL differentiated healthy ferrets from diseased ferrets with a sensitivity of 72.7% and specificity of 73.2% (area under the curve, 0.79; 95% confidence interval, 0.67 to 0.91).
CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL RELEVANCE Results suggested that high aldosterone concentrations should not be considered diagnostic of primary hyperaldosteronism in ferrets. A need exists to develop better tests to identify primary hyperaldosteronism.
Objective—To assess dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry (DXA) for evaluating effects of diet and environment on bone mineral density in Hermann's tortoises (Testudo hermanni).
Animals—26 Hermann's tortoises within 1 month after hatching.
Procedures—Group 1 was housed in an artificial setting and fed naturally growing vegetation. Group 2 was housed in an artificial setting and fed vegetables grown for human consumption. Group 3 was maintained in an outside enclosure and fed naturally growing vegetation. After 10 months, pyramidal growth, body weight, and adverse conditions were assessed. Bone mineral density (BMD) of the axial and appendicular skeleton, shell, vertebral column, and pelvis was measured via DXA.
Results—Group 2 had the highest mean ± SD body weight (65.42 ± 30.85 g), followed by group 1 (51.08 ± 22.92 g) and group 3 (35.74 ± 7.13 g). Mean BMD of the shell varied significantly among groups (group 1, 0.05 ± 0.03 g/cm2•m; group 2, 0.09 ± 0.15 g/cm2•m; and group 3, undetectable). The BMD of the axial and appendicular skeleton, vertebral column, and pelvis did not differ significantly among groups. Pyramidal growth was highest in group 1 and not evident in group 3.
Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Tortoises raised in artificial conditions did not have deficits in BMD, compared with results for outdoor-housed hibernating tortoises. Supplemental calcium was apparently not necessary when an adequate photothermal habitat and plant-based diet were provided. Higher BMD of captive-raised tortoises was morphologically associated with a higher incidence of pyramidal growth in captive-raised groups.
CASE DESCRIPTION AS-year-old male Dwarf rabbit and 4-year-old female Mini-Rex rabbit were evaluated because of anorexia and urine scalding of the perineum.
CLINICAL FINDINGS Abdominal radiography revealed a diffuse increase in the opacity of the urinary bladder attributable to urinary sludge. In 1 rabbit, abdominal ultrasonography revealed several mass-like lesions protruding from the mucosal surface into the lumen of the urinary bladder. Rabbits were anesthetized, and cystoscopy was performed with a rigid 2.7-mm, 30° endoscope. Histologic analysis of tissue samples obtained through the cystoscope operating channel revealed findings consistent with polypoid cystitis.
TREATMENT AND OUTCOME To remove the urinary sludge from each rabbit, the urinary bladder was filled with sterile saline (0.9% NaCl) solution and emptied with a gentle massage several times until the ejected fluid was transparent. Rabbits were treated with NSAIDs, antimicrobials (chosen following microbial culture of urine and antimicrobial susceptibility testing), bathing of the perineum, and a low-calcium diet. The male rabbit died of unrelated causes 18 months later; postmortem examination findings confirmed the polypoid cystitis. The female rabbit remained disease free through to last follow-up (12 months after initial evaluation).
CLINICAL RELEVANCE This was the first report of polypoid cystitis in pet rabbits. Although ultrasonographic findings supported this diagnosis, a definitive diagnosis was achieved through cystoscopy and lesion biopsy. Treatments administered were intended to reduce the potential sources of irritation. Research is needed to investigate the effectiveness of the applied interventions and the association between excessive urinary calcium excretion and polyploid cystitis in rabbits.