Exotis ISSN 2398-2985

Reptiles

Retained spectacle

Contributor(s): Vetstream Ltd, Livia Benato

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Introduction

  • Cause: secondary to many underlying causes, eg suboptimal husbandry, nutrition, dehydration, low humidity, dysecdysis, mite infestation, skin infection, eye infection.
  • Signs: raised plaque of retained tissue (often opaque) in the ocular area.
  • Diagnosis: medical history and clinical examination. the underlying causes need to be investigated and addressed as well.
  • Treatment: make and keep the spectacles soft and moist with water-solutble gels and increase humidity; bathe the reptile in warm water; if underlying causes are not addressed, it is likely to recur. Increased humidity at next ecdysis may promote a full shed with removal of the retained spectacles.
  • Prognosis: depends on severity of presentation and if underlying cuase has been addressed. Generally good if treated at early stage.
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Pathogenesis

Etiology

  • Spectacle retention is often seen as part of a more generalized dysecdysis where skin shedding is not complete [Ecdysis/dysecdysis]:
    • The separation of newly regenerated and old epithelium in the skin scales, and the spectacle, relies on the generation of a fluid-filled delineation between the two layers.
    • Dysecdysis and attendant spectacle retention may be associated with generalized poor health but more often than not the underlying problem is a husbandry deficit and particularly too low a humidity Chelonia husbandry Lizard husbandry Snake husbandry.
  • Snake mite (Ophionyssus natricis) infestation [Acariasis]:
    • This parasite itself undergoes several moults as it reaches adulthood.
    • Between each of these it takes a blood meal to increase its body size and the easiest place to take such a meal is the space between the spectacle and the first periocular skin scale.
    • Multiple punctures here cause inflammation, wound and scar tissue, and lead to spectacle retention.

Predisposing factors

General

  • Suboptimal husbandry.
  • Poor nutrition.
  • Dehydration.
  • Trauma.
  • Infection.
  • Systemic disease.

Specific

  • Lack of proper substrate (nothing to rub on to remove skin).
  • Improper handling or handling close to the time of shedding.
  • Malnutrition.
  • Infection of the eye or of the skin.
  • Trauma.
  • Systemic disease.

Pathophysiology

  • Dysecdysis of the spectacles leads to build-up of skin layers which can lead to secondary infection and temporary reduced vision.

Timecourse

  • Depends on how often the reptile sheds the skin; more frequent in younger animals than older animals.

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.
  • Da Silva M O, Bertelsen M F, Heegaard S et al (2015) Ophidian spectaculitis and spectacular dysecdysis: A histologic description. Vet Pathol 52 (6), 1220-1226 PubMed.
  • Harkewicz K A (2002) Dermatologic problems of reptiles. Semin Avian Exotic Pet Med 11 (3), 151-161 SciDirect.

Other sources of information

  • Doneley B, Johnson R, Monks D & Carmel B (2018) Diseases of the Organs of Special Senses. In: Reptile Medicine and Surgery in Clinical Practice. Wiley-blackwell. pp 357-368.
  • Ward D (2013) Reptile and Amphibian Ophthalmology. In: Proc American Board of Veterinary Practitioners Conference.
  • Williams D (2012) The Reptile Eye. In: Ophthalmology of Exotic Pets. Wiley-Blackwell, UK. pp 175-178.
  • Finch N (2010) Basic Snake Medicine. In: Proc Western Veterinary Conference

Reproduced with permission from David L Williams: Ophthalmology of Exotic Pets © 2012, published by John Wiley & Sons.


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