Fluid therapy remains an essential treatment for ill reptiles, although best practices for fluid administration have not been established and controversy remains regarding the most appropriate electrolyte solution for dehydrated reptiles.1 Current recommendations include the administration of isotonic crystalloid solutions with a sodium concentration and pH similar to reptile plasma values.1 However, some authors recommend a nonlactated RRS, which is a 1:1 mixture of isotonic crystalloid solution and 5% dextrose solution, as the ideal rehydration fluid for reptiles.2 These recommendations have been made on the basis of the assumption that most fluid loss in reptiles is free water loss that should be replaced with a low-osmolarity electrolyte solution.2
Although the current reptile literature3 indicates that RRSs continue to be used as recommended, little research has been reported on whether those types of solutions are more appropriate for the treatment of dehydration than are other electrolyte solutions.4 In stranded juvenile loggerhead sea turtles (Caretta caretta), intracoelomic administration of a 1:1 mixture of 5% dextrose solution and saline (0.9% NaCl) solution (20 mL/kg, q 24 h for 3 doses) versus other evaluated electrolyte solutions resulted in hyperglycemia and an increased incidence of metabolic derangements in blood gas values.5
Historically, administration of LRS has not been recommended for reptiles because of concern that this would lead to hyperlactatemia2 owing to the presumed inability of the liver to process the influx of lactate. However, no published evidence exists to support this claim, and in stranded juvenile loggerhead sea turtles, intracoelomic administration of LRS at a dosage of 20 mL/kg every 24 hours for 3 doses caused no increase in blood lactate concentration.5 Sea turtles are unique reptiles that live in a marine environment; therefore, that finding5 may not be generalizable to other groups of reptiles, particularly reptiles that are adapted to arid environments, such as commonly kept inland bearded dragons (Pogona vitticeps).
The purpose of the study reported here was to evaluate the effects of a single SC injection of LRS, PLA, and RRS on commonly measured plasma biochemical values, plasma osmolarity, and blood lactate concentration when administered to bearded dragons experimentally dehydrated by furosemide administration. We hypothesized that LRS administration would not result in an increase in blood lactate concentration and that RRS administration would result in an increase in plasma glucose concentration.
Funded by the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Veterinary Medicine Companion Animal Fund, the Association of Reptile and Amphibian Veterinarians, Kevin Wright Memorial research grant, and Abaxis Global Diagnostics.
The authors declare that there were no conflicts of interest.
Lactated Ringer solution
Reptile Ringer solution
Research Randomizer, version 4.0, Urbaniak GC, Plous S. Available at: randomizer.org. Accessed Feb 15, 2017.
Salix, Merck Animal Health, Kenilworth, NJ.
Pro-Vent, Smiths Medical, Keene, NH.
Hospira Inc, Lake Forest, Ill.
VetScan Avian/Reptile Profile Plus, Abaxis, Union City, Calif.
Advanced micro-osmometer model 3300, Advanced Instruments Inc, Norwood, Mass.
iSTAT CG4+, Abbott Laboratories, Chicago, Ill.
SigmaPlot, version 13, Systat Software, San Jose, Calif.
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