ISSN 2398-2985      

Hypothermia

4ferrets

Synonym(s): Cold stunning


Introduction

  • Cause: anesthesia and/or surgery in small mammals. 
  • Signs: lethargy, decreased cardiac function, prolonged anesthetic recovery, death.
  • Diagnosis: decreased body temperature.
  • Treatment: gradual raise in body temperature.
  • Prognosis: depends on severity of hypothermia.

Pathogenesis

Etiology

  • Most companion animals have a large body surface area/volume ratio, predisposing to the development of hypothermia.
  • Hypothermia is of particular concern during anesthesia and surgery.

Predisposing factors

General

  • Small size (leading to increased body surface/volume ratio).
  • Anesthesia and surgery.
  • Keeping animals in colder climates than their place of origin.

Specific

  • Surgeries where cavities are opened, eg abdominal surgery, are more prone to cause hypothermia.

Pathophysiology

  • The temperature of small mammals may drop 5-10°C/41-50°F after just 20 min of anesthesia.
  • Most anesthetics depress thermoregulatory function.
  • Hypothermia depresses cardiopulmonary function.

Timecourse

  • Acute in small mammals; usually associated with anesthesia.

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

Other sources of information

  • Quesenberry K E, Orcutt C J, Mans C & Carpenter J W (2021) Eds Ferrets, Rabbits and Rodents: Clinical Medicine and Surgery. 4th edn. Elsevier, USA. pp 646.
  • Fox J G & Marini R P (2014) Eds Biology and Diseases of the Ferret. 3rd edn. Wiley Blackwell, USA. pp 835.

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