Lapis ISSN 2398-2969

Hypothermia

Contributor(s): Sarah Pellett, Vicki Baldrey

Introduction

  • Cause: hypothermia occurs when the core body temperature is below normal (38.5-40°C), eg during anesthesia.
  • Signs: rabbits will become lethargic, extremities such as limbs and ears will feel cool to touch and look pale.
  • Diagnosis:
    • Assess rabbit depending on clinical signs and regular monitoring of temperature. In conscious rabbits, a rectal thermometer provides an estimation of core temperature.
    • As hypothermia progresses respiration will become shallow.
    • Heart beat will become weak.
    • In advanced stages rabbit will appear as if in a stupor; this can progress to coma and death.
  • Treatment: re-warming; treat underlying cause.
  • Prognosis: depends on underlying cause.

Print-off the Owner factsheet onHypothermia - low body temperature  Hypothermia - low body temperature  to give to your clients.

Cause

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Effects of hypothermia

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Prevention of hypothermia during surgery

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Re-warming

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Monitoring

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Further Reading

Publications

Refereed papers

  • Recent references from PubMed and VetMedResource.
  • Albanese C T, Nour B M & Rowe M I (1994) Anaesthesia blocks non-shivering thermogenesis in the neonatal rabbit. J Paediatric Surg 29 (8), 983-986 PubMed.

Other sources of information

  • Fisher PG (2013) Renal Disorders. In: Clinical Veterinary Advisor. Birds and Exotics Pets. Eds: Mayer J & Donnelly T M.  Elsevier, Missouri.
  • Varga M (2013) Textbook of Rabbit Medicine. 2nd edn. Butterworth Heinemann Elsevier, Edinburgh.
  • Oglesbee B (2011) Diarrhoea - Acute. In: Blackwells Five-Minute Veterinary Consult: Small Mammal. Wiley Blackwell, Iowa.
  • Flecknell P (2006) Anaesthesia and Perioperative Care. In: BSAVA Manual of Rabbit Medicine and Surgery. 2nd edn. Eds: Meredith A & Flecknell P.  BSAVA, Gloucester.
  • Randall D, Burggren W & French K (1997) Using Energy: Meeting Environmental Challenges. In: Animal Physiology Mechanisms and Adaptations. 4th edn. W H Freeman & Co, New York.


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