Exotis ISSN 2398-2985

Reptiles

Burn injuries

Contributor(s): Sonya Miles, Joanna Hedley

Introduction

  • Cause: burns from inappropriate heat source in the reptile housing.
  • Signs: lesions visible on potentially multiple areas of the body.
  • Diagnosis: history and clinical signs.
  • Treatment: debridement, antibiotics.
  • Prognosis: variable depending on the chronicity and severity of the burn.
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Pathogenesis

Etiology

  • A reptile coming into contact with a non-thermostatically controlled heat source, a heat source that is inappropriate for the reptile, or in an enclosure where there is no guard protecting the reptile from the heat source Lizard husbandry Snake husbandry Chelonia husbandry.
  • A reptile that has accidently escaped and got trapped behind something hot.

Predisposing factors

General

  • Lack of understanding of the safe and appropriate heating of reptiles.
  • Accidental.

Specific

  • Non-thermostatically controlled heat source.
  • Heat source that is inappropriate for the species of reptile.
  • No guard protecting the reptile from the heat source.
  • A reptile has escaped and got trapped behind something that is hot.

Pathophysiology

  • Reptiles appear poor at perceiving thermal pain, especially if the rest of their body is not warm, so will not move away from a burning heat. Burns can therefore be deep and extensive.
  • Burns are graded as follows:
    • 1st degree: a mild burn resulting in a reddening of the epidermis only.
    • 2nd degree: a partial thickness burn affecting the epidermis and the dermis; redness, swelling and blistering often noted.
    • 3rd degree: a full thickness burn where the entire epidermis and dermis are destroyed and the deeper tissues are affected; charred skin may be present.

Timecourse

  • Hours to weeks.

Epidemiology

  • Snakes and lizards over represented in comparison to chelonia.

Diagnosis

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Treatment

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Prevention

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Outcomes

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Further Reading

Publications

Refereed papers

  • Recent references from PubMed and VetMedResource.
  • White S D, Bourdeau P, Bruet V, Kass P H, Tell L & Hawkins M G (2011) Reptiles with dermatological lesions: a retrospective study of 301 cases at two university veterinary teaching hospitals (1992–2008). Vet Derm 22 (2), 150-161 PubMed.
  • Hoppmann E (2007) Dermatology in reptiles. J Exotic Pet Med 16 (4), 210-224 VetMedResource.
  • Chitty J (2011) Hospitalisation of birds and reptiles. J Exotic Pet Med 20 (2), 98-106 VetMedResource.
  • Scagnelii A M (2016) Therapeutic review: manuka honey. J Exotic Pet Med 25 (2), 168-171 VetMedResource.


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