ISSN 2398-2985      

Hypothermia

Jreptile

Synonym(s): Cold stunning


Introduction

  • Cause: low environmental temperature.
  • 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.
  • Reptiles are ectothermic and their internal temperature depends on the environmental temperature.
  • In reptiles, severe hypothermia causes necrosis of the nervous tissue.

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 celiotomy, are more prone to cause hypothermia.

Pathophysiology

  • Most anesthetics depress thermoregulatory function.
  • Hypothermia depresses cardiopulmonary function.

Timecourse

  • It may be chronic and of long duration in reptiles.

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.
  • Spielvogel C F et al (2017) Use of positive pressure ventilation in cold-stunned sea turtles: 29 cases (2008-2014). J Herpetol Med Surg 27 (1-2), 48-57 JHerpMedSurg.
  • Anderson E T et al (2011) Evaluation of hematology and serum biochemistry of cold-stunned green sea turtles (Chelonia mydas) in North Carolina, USA. J Zoo Wildlife Med 42 (2), 247-255 PubMed.

Other sources of information

  • Weber III E S & Merigo C (2006) Medical Management of Cold-Stunned Sea Turtles. In: Reptile Medicine and Surgery. Ed: Mader D R. 2nd edn. Saunders Elsevier, USA. pp 1001-1004.
  • Girling S J & Raiti P (2004) Eds BSAVA Manual of Reptiles. 2nd edn. BSAVA, UK. pp 383.
  • Gerle E, DiGiovanni R & Pisciotta R P (2000) A Fifteen-Year Review of Cold-Stunned Sea Turtles in New York Waters. In: Proc 18th International Symposium on Sea Turtle Biology and Conservation. NOAA Technical Memorandum NMFS-SEFSC-436. pp 222-224.

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