Exotis ISSN 2398-2985

Reptiles

Lower respiratory tract disease

Synonym(s): RI, Pneumonia, Lower respiratory infections

Contributor(s): Tariq Abou-Zahr, Yvette Rowntree

Introduction

  • Cause: infectious (eg bacterial, viral, fungal or parasitic), and non-infectious (eg trauma, foreign bodies, neoplasia) causes.
  • Signs: depend on cause.
  • Diagnosis: hematology and biochemistry, diagnostic imaging, endoscopy, virology, bacterial and fungal cultures, parasitology, cytology and histopathology.
  • Treatment: systemic antibiotic and antifungal medications, nebulization, mucolytics, coupage, correction of underlying predisposing causes (particularly husbandry issues), maintenance at the upper end of the preferred optimum temperature zone.
  • Prognosis: fair to guarded depending on cause. In the case of viral and neoplastic disease, prognosis is often extremely guarded.
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Pathogenesis

Predisposing factors

General

  • Repties have a poor mucociliary clearance capability and are unable to truly cough due to the lack of a diaphragm.
  • Immunosuppression due to husbandry deficiencies, malnutrition, concurrent disease processes or treatment with corticosteroids.
  • The breeding season is often a time of stress for snakes, particularly when being cooled dramatically, or bred very frequently.
  • Poor hygiene within the vivarium.
  • Excessive humidity within the vivarium.
  • Inadequate ventilation within the vivarium.
  • Poor biosecurity/quarantine practices Quarantine.
  • Failure to carry out routine parasitic or viral screening.
  • Maintaining an open collection.
  • Snake mites: these may act as vectors for the spread of viral diseases.
  • Wild caught animals are predisposed to endoparisitism, including pentastomids and lung worms Chelonia parasitology overview Lizard parasitology overview Snake parasitology overview.
  • Animals kept at high stocking densities, eg farmed chelonia.
  • Respiratory irritants, eg the use of cedar or pine substrates.
  • Smoke inhalation.

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.
  • Hoon-Hanks L L, Layton M L, Ossiboff R J et al (2018) Respiratory disease in ball pythons experimentally infected with ball python nidovirus. Virology 517, 77-87 PubMed.
  • Ebani V V (2017) Domestic reptiles as source of zoonotic bacteria: a mini review. Asian Pac J Tropical Med 10 (8), 723-728 PubMed.
  • Stenglein M D, Jacobson E R, Wozniac E J et al (2014) Ball python Nidovirus: a candidate etiologic agent for severe respiratory disease in python regius. Mbio 5 (5), e01484-14 PubMed.
  • Origgi F (2012) Testudinid herpesviruses: a review. J Herpetol Med Surg 22 (1-2), 42-54 VetMedResource.
  • Schumacher J (2011) Respiratory medicine of reptiles. Vet Clin North Am 14 (2), 207-224 VetMedResource.
  • Myers D A, Wellehan J F Jr & Isaza R (2009) Saccular lung cannulation in a ball python (Python regius) to treat a tracheal obstruction. J Zoo Wildl Med 40 (1), 214-216 PubMed.
  • Drew M L, Phalen D N, Berridge B R et al (1999) Partial tracheal obstruction due to chondromas in ball pythons (Python regius). J Zoo Wildl Med 30 (1), 151-157 PubMed.
  • Diethelm G, Stauber E, Tillson M et al (1996) Tracheal resection and anastomosis for an intratracheal chondroma in a ball python. J Am Vet Med Assoc 209 (4), 786-788 PubMed.

Other sources of information

  • Beaufr√®re H, Summa N & Le K (2016) Respiratory System. In: Current Therapy in Exotic Pet Practice. Eds: Mitchell M A & Tully T N Jr. Elsevier Saunders, USA. pp 76-151.
  • Carpenter J, Klaphake E & Gibbons P (2013) Reptile formulary and laboratory normals. In: Current Therapy in Reptile Medicine and Surgery. Eds: Mader D & Divers S. Elsevier Saunders, USA. pp 382-410.
  • Pare J (2013) Update on Fungal Infections in Reptiles. In: Current Therapy in Reptile Medicine and Surgery. Eds: Mader D & Divers S. Elsevier Saunders, USA. pp 53-56.
  • Schneller P & Pantchev N (2008) Specific Parasitology in Snakes, Lizards and Chelonians. In: Parasitology in Snakes, Lizards and Chelonians a Husbandry Guide. Eds: Schneller P & Pantchev N. Edition Chimaira. pp 38-66.
  • Boyer T (2006) Hypovitaminosis A and Hypervitaminosis A. In: Reptile Medicine and Surgery. 2nd edn. Ed: Mader D. Elsevier Saunders, USA. pp 831-835.
  • Mader D (2006) Gout. In: Reptile Medicine and Surgery. 2nd edn. Elsevier Saunders, USA. pp 793-800.
  • Murray M J (2006) Cardiopulmonary Anatomy and Physiology. In: Reptile Medicine and Surgery. 2nd edn. Ed: Mader D. Elsevier Saunders, USA. pp 124-134.
  • Hernandez-Divers S (2005) Diagnostic Techniques. In: Reptile Medicine and Surgery. 2nd edn. Ed: Mader D. Elsevier Saunders, USA. pp 490-532.

Organisation(s)

  • British Veterinary Zoological Society (BVZS). Website: www.bvzs.org.
  • Association of Reptilian and Amphibian Veterinarians (ARAV). Website: https://arav.org.


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