|Please Note: This information is an aid to general treatment following initial exam. This is a condensed listing and does not include all possible treatment methods, nor does it replace proper veterinary care.||
EXTERNAL PARASITES using a soft bristle toothbrush, gently stroke kitten flea powder into fur/feathers. For heavy flea or mite infestation, wrap animal in a towel for 5 minutes after applying powder-leaving head exposed. May also need to provide treatment for anemia (supportive care/B complex vitamins). A fecal should be obtained for all mammals with heavy flea infestation. Do not use aerosols or foams, which increase the risk of inhalation or ingestion. When selecting a flea powder, it is safest to look for products that are not long lasting (avoid products with statements like "8 hours of protection"). Most external parasites can be killed within 10 minutes; exposing the bird or mammal to the chemical longer than this is unnecessary.
INTERNAL PARASITES obtain a fecal if possible and dose with appropriate wormer. If an increase in weight is not noticed within two days, a fecal is a necessity. GAPEWORM-otherwise healthy bird sneezes and continually shakes head; may regurgitate large reddish brown worm; may be blood-tinged mucous in or around the glottis. STRONGYLES-bird passes whitish threadlike worms.
BITE/SCRATCH WOUNDS wounds should be cleansed with sterile water and bleeding stopped. Avoid using any cleanser that can irritate or damage the tissue. Large lacerations should be closed with super glue, except for a small opening for drainage. Keep deep wounds dressed with k-y jelly until the wound is closed. A broad-spectrum antibiotic should be administered for up to 5 days. There is usually an underlying reason that the animal was weak enough to be caught. Check for parasites.
Cat related injuries produce deadly septicemia within 12-48 hours (pasteurella multocida-gram negative). Begin antibiotics (at maximum dosage) immediately and treat for trauma/shock. In addition to being painful, these injuries also sting. A topical anesthetic is extremely beneficial. For birds, punctures/lacerations under wings, on back, and missing flight/tail feathers are typical signs of cat-related injuries. On mammals, minute punctures/lacerations are tell-tale of cat caught. Extensive ripping is common in rabbits.
TURTLE ATTACK (common in ducks, herons and other waders) biggest problem is open tissue exposure. Attempt to close as much of the wound as possible and keep dressed with K-Y jelly for up to two weeks. Have a veterinarian suture any "pockets" in muscle. Recovery rate is extremely good.
Dog related injuries Excluding fractures, the nature of these injuries usually results in extensive internal trauma that may not be apparent externally. Management of inflamation/swelling and treatment for shock is critical.
PUNCTURED/RUPTURED AIR SACS Almost always cat related - less frequently trauma related. Provide antibiotic therapy. Some manuals suggest wrapping body to prevent further puffing, but I have never found this necessary. If the trapped air is in the shoulder area and interfering with breathing or are so large that they interfere with movement, use a heated large guage needle to cauterize a hole through the skin to allow the trapped air to escape.
SCALY MITES (primarily songbirds) rule out pox first. Legs should just have scaly appearance with no oozing or odd nodules. Dip entire leg in mineral oil X 3.
BUMBLEFOOT (all avian species) encapsulated infections. Prevent further swelling with antibiotics and rest. I prefer to support wrap the entire leg. Up to two weeks before initial improvement is evident. Possible permanent damage in long-term cases, and highly susceptible to future reoccurrence. For birds over one pound, directly injecting penicillin into the encapsulated infection greatly speeds up recovery time.
INTERNAL INJURY possible symptoms include: bleeding from eyes, ears, nose, rectum, or bloody or dark feces. Obvious internal bleeding, bruising or pain. Poor prognosis. Follow trauma and shock procedures to stabilize and seek veterinary help.
SHOCK provide supplemental warmth and keep in quiet area. Provide warmed fluids sub-cutaneously 5cc-20/lb. Administer dexamethasone to unresponsive animal every 4 hours.
MAGGOTS remove all visible maggots. Clean wounds with sterile water to draw out burrowing maggots. An over-the-counter topical oinment containing lidocaine can (and should) be used to reduce sensitivity prior to removing maggots. Continuously check wounds every 20 minutes for emerging maggots. The sterile water will not drown the maggots, as it takes up to 35 minutes before one will drown in water. The water is a mild irritant, but it disturbs them and they will move around seeking better protection - making them easier to see and remove. Using products other than sterile water will cause further tissue damage; any topical product that is harmful to maggots is also potentially harmful to your patient. Maggots will also hide in the feather shafts of birds and ears/mouth of neonates. Maggot removal is a long, tedious process but can be successfully acomplished with patience. Administer broad spectrum antibiotics. If animal is listless, also apply treatment for shock and infection. Treat wounds.
TRAUMA Provide supplemental heat, except for a head trauma. Administer fluids sub-cutaneously 5-20cc/lb. Provide dexamethasone to keep and maintain animal stable and reduce swelling (every 4-12 hours). Once animal becomes alert offer dextrose orally. Tube feed and introduce solids gradually.
Head Trauma CANKER (TRICHOMONIASIS) White or cream plaques appear in mouth in advanced stages. In most species, these plaques develop at the back of the mouth. They will continue to grow until they block the bird's ability to eat. Sometimes the growths occur near the glottis, interferring with breathing. Most birds die of emaciation. Do not attempt to remove, and be careful about disturbing plaques. The plaques are hypervascular and if disturbed could literally cause the patient to drown in blood. Treat with flagyl/metronidiazole at 60mg/kg. Possible respiratory difficulties due to floating plaques, seek veterinary help to discuss options.
POX (avian species) yellowish nodules or lesions on skin, legs, in mouth or around eyes. can also have scaly skin. Highly contagious to other birds. Can attempt to dress lesions and treat with antibiotics until virus has run its course. If respiratory difficulties appear, seek veterinary help. See Squirrel Fibroma for more information on squirrel pox.
RESPIRATORY INFECTION administer high-level, broad-spectrum antibiotics, preferably IM for birds over 1 lb. Keep animal warm and quiet.
POISONING If type of poison is known, contact veterinarian or poison control center for instructions. Administer Toxiban (activated charcoal) orally with water. Use calcium EDTA for possible lead poisoning, atropine for organophosphate poisoning, Vitamin K1 for mouse/rat bait. Seek veterinary help.
Pigeons: Usually Avitrol is the poisoned used. The active ingredient is 4-aminopyridine (4-AP) which is a potassium channel blocking drug. It promotes seizures by over-stimulating the nervous system (http://www.mt.net/~russa/ab4.htm). Use acepromazine immediately to reduce the effects on the nervous system at 3 mg/kg; do not wait until the bird is seizing. Remove all corn kernels from crop to prevent further absorption of the chemical and tube 6 ml Toxiban charcoal mix (mix 18ml water + 1 ml charcoal) every 2-4 hours until bird is stabilized. Whole kernels of corn are sometimes used to poison pigeons and can be felt by manipulating the crop. Although the chemical is not in the body very long, it's effects can persist up to 48 hours (http://www.mt.net/~russa/ab4.htm). Reduce all exposure to stimulants (noise, lights, etc) until the bird is stable. The symptoms resemble strycnine poisoning. This course of treatment has been successfully used on approximately 50 pigeons.
"4-aminopyridine produces intense behavioral convulsions and EEG seizures in both the infused and the contralateral cortex. This convulsant action is accompanied by a remarkable increase of extracellular dopamine (about 15-fold), norepinephrine (2.4-fold) and vanillylmandelic acid (1.8-fold) concentration in the infused cortex. Delayed increases of these amines were observed also in the contralateral cortex. The results suggest that 4-AP induces the release of catecholamines either through a direct effect on nerve endings or as a consequence of seizures." (http://www.medscape.com/server-java/MedLineApp?/member-search/getdoc.cgi?ord=10&searchid=1&have_local_holdings_file=0&local_journals_only=0)
BOTULISM (usually waterfowl) immediately institute treatment for respiratory infection. Provide support for head with rolled towels and fluid therapy every two hours. Duck MUST receive a solution containing electrolytes, amino acids, sodium and dextrose. Survival rate is greatly increased if a minimum of five 30 cc stomach (Not Crop!) tubings spaced 1 hour apart are consecutively administered. This unfortunately means a late night if the bird is received in the evening, but it also means the bird will be alive when you wake up. Usually 1-7 days for recovery, longer for larger species.
ASPERGILLOSIS usually sea birds; signs could include drooping wing, emaciation, lameness, overall weakness, neurological symptoms, respiratory difficulty, pasty-lime droppings, or simply a refusal to eat. Some even appear healthy but make no attempt to fly. Rule out everything else first (parasites, trauma, infections, etc.) Take to the vet once respiratory signs develop.
EMACIATION must treat original cause as well as current condition ( sometimes parasites). Follow dehydration and using required daily k/cal (visit the kCal Calculator), tube liquid diet for a minimum of three days. On first day start with an electrolyte/amino acid/dextrose mix. Can provide vitamin supplement. watch K/cal. Then gradually increase consistency of diet until on solids.
DEHYDRATION inject warmed fluids sub-cutaneously every 20 minutes until rehydrated. All the necessary ingredients must be provided to correct dehydration. Begin treatment as in SHOCK and EMACIATION. You will kill a dehydrated bird/mammal by feeding it solids. A good rule of thumb is to not provide solids until there is urine output.
NUTRITION the main cause of nutritional problems is due to poor diet. Newly hatched ducklings not immediately placed on a proper diet can appear weak or seizing. This could be caused by hypoglycemia and an attempt to correct it by placing a high calorie paste or dextrose drops on the ducklings tongue may save it's life. Lameness in mockingbirds and opossums can be attributed to a deficient amount of calcium/phosphorus/D3 ratios in the diet. These are the most common occurrences, but hundreds of physical abnormalities can be linked to improper diet.
CONGENITAL Muscovy ducks tend to be susceptible to "flip wing", which leaves them incapable of flight. They are also prone to hock disorders, which eventually causes lameness.
FRACTURES Repair should not be undertaken unless you are experienced. Unfortunately, the animal (not you) ultimately suffers from an improper fracture repair. Also see Friendly Plastic for more fracture repair information.
CROP STASIS (most common in doves/pigeons) when the crop stops functioning properly, suspect either infection, injury, impaction, or toxin. Crop may be slow to empty, or bird may vomit. Frequently seen when bird was improperly tube-fed by a rehabber. Begin by flushing crop and starting appropriate antibiotic or antifungal treatment. Continue to feed, water down the mix and provide 1/2 the normal amount and feed twice as often. For waterfowl, suspect possible botulism or lead poisoning; using EDTA to correct lead poisoning.
BLOAT This is a life-threatening condition. There is a difference between true bloat and an animal that is "gassy". With bloat, the stomach becomes tight as a drum as it rapidly fills with gas that is unable to escape. It can be the result of failure to gradually introduce a new diet, feeding a cold baby, overfeeding or feeding too quickly. You must immediately alleviate the situation by inserting a long rubber stomach tube/catheter into the animal's stomach. Air will rush from the tube, relieving the distension. The stomach tube may remove the need for surgical intervention by your veterinarian. This mode of treatment is not possible with rabbits/hares. If you catch the beginning stages of bloat, it is possible to administer Simethicone (infant drops). However, immediate action must be taken if this fails. Although previous documents have suggested it, please do not place the animal on a heating pad or it's abdomen under warm running water. This will only cause extreme discomfort and may cause gas in the stomach to expand (have you ever had gas? Did you want someone massaging your stomach?). Prevention is the best cure.
Urine Retention This infrequently occurs with trauma (back), most commonly occurs in failure to properly stimulate neonate mammals. It can be misdiagnosed as bloat or coccidia related. Due to the size of the mammal, passing a catheter is usually not possible. Manually expressing the bladder is dangerous; it is usually filled beyond capacity, has lost its elasticity, and may rupture with excess force. Secondary infection is also very common, leading to septicemia and shock. Your veterinarian may elect to empty the bladder by passing a small gauge needle through the abdominal wall.
Warbles The important rodent bot flies (family Cuterebridae) are Cuterebra cuniculi, which infects rabbits, and C. emasculator, which attacks the scrotum of squirrels, sometimes emasculating them. Source: Brittanica.com The larvae are fairly easy to remove once the scab over the opening has been cleaned. Insert thin tweezers or hemostats into the opening to remove the larvae.
Life Cycle: The adult female lays her eggs near the entrance of a rodent burrow. The eggs hatch and the first instar larvae wait for a host. When a host passes by they attach to the hair and move to the skin. Once on the skin they move to natural body openings such as the nares. Inside the nose they penetrate the mucosa and migrate to a subcutaneous position. The larva then cuts a hole in the skin in order to breath. The larva grows and molts until it has become a third instar and about 25 mm long, this takes 3 to 4 weeks. The larva will then emerge through its breathing hole and drop to the ground where it will pupate under the soil. The fly may overwinter as a pupa. In the spring the fly will emerge from the pupal case. Adult flies do not feed and will live for about 2 weeks. Source: University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine
The larvae are fairly easy to remove once the scab over the opening has been cleaned. Insert thin tweezers or hemostats into the opening to remove the larvae. It has been suggested that toxins are released if the larvae is damaged or only partially removed, however we have been unable to find documentation to support this. Some species of bot fly larvae do migrate to the brain causing neurological symptoms, which is where this theory may have evolved.
Raccoon Roundworm (Baylisascaris procyonis)
(Excerpts from an article by Dr. J. S. Tuli B.V.Sc., M.V.Sc., Ph.D)
"Hypothermia is a lowering of the body's temperature. When the skin or blood is cooled enough to lower the body temperature in non-hibernating animals, the metabolic and physiological processes slow down. In the hypothermic state, the oxygen need of cells, particularly neurons is greatly reduced, and the circulation can be stopped for relatively long periods. At a rectal temperature of less than 28 C (82 F), the ability to regain normal temperature is lost, but animal will continue to survive if external heat is applied and the temperature returns to normal. Hypothermia is a condition of general body cooling in contrast to frostbite, which is localized.
Severe hypothermia: Animal in severe hypothermic state, can erroneously thought to be dead as no pulse, no heart rate, and no respiration is apparent. It is wise to follow the same criteria as in human medicine which suggests " the hypothermic patient is not dead until the patient is warm and dead." Animals with severe hypothermia should be treated by putting heat directly into the core areas (see active rewarming methods). If the heart beat and respiration is not detectable after checking for up to 1 minute then commence CPR: Mouth to mouth or mouth to mask breathing during CPR is best because this provides warm, humidified air or oxygen. One can also use an apparatus to ventilate the animal with 100% heated, humidified air or oxygen.
Treatment that stimulates peripheral circulation (i.e. wrapping in a blanket, massaging extremities etc.) must be avoided in cases of severe hypothermia. These activities will likely increase flow of cold blood from the periphery (muscle pumping) which can cause after drop, increasing the depth of hypothermia in critical core tissues, especially the heart. Stimulating the peripheral circulation also reduces the blood volume in the body core, causing rewarming shock, which increases the workload on the heart. The blood returning from the periphery can also include metabolic waste products that can cause a fatal heart arrhythmia.
Precautions while treating hypothermic animals
1. Be cautious about assuming that animal can not be resuscitated. As in resuscitation, a positive attitude is important. The hypothermic animal may appear to be beyond help because of, skin and membrane colors, pupil dilatation and depressed vital signs.
2. Avoid direct application of hot objects or excessive pressure (e.g. uninsulated hot water bottles, tourniquets etc.). Ensure that items such as oxygen and fluids coming into contact with the animal are warmed.
3. Do not put severely hypothermic animal in a shower or bath.
4. Drug treatments are not useful in treating severe hypothermic animals since the cold heart will not respond as expected. If administered, drugs will not be metabolized normally by the liver and kidneys; instead these will accumulate in the body and become active as it warms.
5. Do not use Lactated Ringers because the hypothermic liver may not be able to metabolize the lactate normally.
6. Do not administer cold fluids."
To view the full article, visit http://www.hypothermia.org/animalhypo.htm