Exotis ISSN 2398-2985

Reptiles

Clinical examination

Contributor(s): Sonya Miles, Joanna Hedley

Introduction

  • A clinical examination in a reptile is essentially the same as a clinical examination in any other species.
  • It should be performed in a systematic way to be as efficient and accurate as possible.
  • The clinical examination should be performed in such a way that it is as stress free for the reptile as possible.
  • Establishing your own method and becoming familiar with it will allow you to be proficient and thorough.
  • A nose to tail examination is most commonly under taken.
  • Latex gloves or similar should be used when handling due to the potentially presence of Salmonella.
  • Additional equipment to what is normally used will be required such as, oral gags/speculums and a Doppler.
  • Care should be taken with certain species that pose a risk to either human health (large reptiles with a powerful bites /shell hinges) or life (venomous reptiles Venomous species).

Pre-restraint assessment

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Weight

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Head and oral examination

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Heart and respiratory assessment

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Coelomic palpation

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Shell assessment

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Limb assessment

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Sex determination

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Fecal assessment

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Further Reading

Publications

Refereed papers

  • Recent references from PubMed and VetMedResource.
  • Sladky K K (2012) Clinical anaesthesia in reptiles. J Exotic Pet Med 21 (1), 17-31 VetMedResource.
  • Long S Y (2016) Approach to reptile emergency medicine. J Exotic Pet Med 19 (2), 567-590 VetMedResource.

Other sources of information

  • O’Malley B (2005) General Anatomy and Physiology of Reptiles. In: Clinical Anatomy and Physiology of Exotic Species: Structure and Function of Mammals, Birds, Reptiles and Amphibians. Ed: O’Malley B. Elsevier, UK. pp 17-39.


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