Treatment Summary

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.
  • T. gallinae is a parasite of the upper digestive tract of many avian species causing accumulation of necrotic material in the mouth and esophagus. It is principally a disease of young birds and is often fatal. Nearly all pigeons and doves harbor the organism and can be a source of infection (in one case, 80–90% of adult pigeons were infected, but exhibited no clinical signs).
  • Birds are depressed, salivate excessively, are emaciated, appear listless, ruffled and dull, have difficulty closing their mouth, display repeated swallowing movements, exhibit open mouth and noisy breathing, have watery eyes, have difficulty eating and drinking, have difficulty standing or maintaining their balance, have diarrhea, may have a puffy appearance of the neck, exhibit a sunken and empty crop and have a fetid odor. Birds will usually die from starvation due to the blockage of the esophagus or from suffocation caused by blockage of the trachea by the caseous (cheese-like) necrotic masses in the mouth commonly seen with this disease.
  • The first (acute) lesions appear in the mouth, pharynx, esophagus, and crop and consist of inflammation and development of creamy-white, wet, and sticky exudate on the mucosal surface (lining). The lesions progress to small, well-defined raised yellow-white ulcers. As the disease progresses further (chronic), the mucosal lesions become yellow in color, larger in size, hard, caseous coalesced masses that may invade the sinuses of the skull, extend externally to the beak and eyes, penetrate through the base of the skull into the brain and penetrate the viscera causing necrotic areas in the liver, spleen, pancreas, heart, lungs and air sacs. In raptors, liver and abdominal lesions are the main pathological changes that occur.
  • Antiprotozoal medications that have been used are Dimetridazole, Metronidazole (Flagyl), Copper sulfate, Quaternary Ammonia, Carnidazole, Enheptin (curing carrier birds), Emtryl (1,2-dimethyl-5-nitroimidazole), and Aminonitrothiazole.
  • excerpts from the Michigan Department of Natural Resources

    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 ( 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 ( 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." (

    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: 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.

  • Cataracts may result from injuries to the eye, inflammation within the eye (uveitis), internal diseases that have an effect on the eye such as diabetes mellitus, metabolic conditions or certain foods, chemicals and drugs.
  • a luxated (detached - usually due to trauma in wildlife) lens from a previous injury becomes cataractous, obstructing the view of the retina and optic nerve.
  • Surgery to remove a cataractous lens is the only known treatment and may provide a return of vision.

    Corneal Ulceration
  • Ulcers may occur from a variety of conditions such as scratches by other pets, foreign material such as pieces of grass, sand or dirt getting into the eye, from a lack of tear production and from a failure of the eyelids to remain completely closed during sleep. Uncomplicated ulcers, although painful, should heal in 3 to 10 days (depending on the size) when appropriate treatment is used.
  • Ulcers may fail to heal due to external causes including continuing trauma, unresolved infection or foreign substance embedded in the eyelid or in the cornea itself.
  • If the ulcer becomes deep, a perforation of the cornea may be the result. These ulcers require aggressive surgical intervention and medical treatment.
  • The cornea can become opaque when a luxated (detached) lens falls forward and rubs against the cornea, causing ulcers.
  • Corticosteroids prevent healing of the ulcer. Terramycin Opthalmic Ointment is preferred.

    Detached Lens
  • the lens can either become partially loose (subluxated) or completely loose (luxated). When the lens is luxated to the rear (into the vitreous body), it is known as being posteriorly luxated. If the lens is completely loose and falls forward (into the anterior chamber) it is known as being anteriorly luxated.
  • This can occur if there has been serious trauma or inflammation within the eye
  • A luxated lens can be visibly observed because it relects light differently than the unaffected eye
  • If a light is shined into the eye with a luxated lens and the pupil of the other eye responds, there is a chance of vision.

    Eye Infections
  • may have causes within the eye (such as cataract or changes in the lens), on the surface of the eye (such as corneal ulcer) and trauma.
  • may cause vague clinical signs that may include blinking, squinting, watery discharge from the eye, and/or fear of light (photophobia) without any obvious changes to the eye itself. The normally clear cornea may appear dull or hazy blue due to uveitis. In other cases, the cornea becomes cloudy due to white blood cells accumulating on the inside of the cornea. The conjunctiva (white of the eye) becomes red and swollen.
  • Terramycin Opthalmic Ointment is preferred.

    Raccoon Roundworm (Baylisascaris procyonis)
  • The raccoon roundworm (Baylisascaris procyonis) is the common large roundworm or ascarid found in the small intestinal tract of raccoons. Adult worms measure 15 to 20 cm in length and 1 cm in width. They are tan-white in color, cylindrical and taper at both ends.
  • Effective drugs are piperazine, fenbendazole, pyrantel pamoate, levamisole and organophosphates such as dichlorvos.
  • B. procyonis is of public health significance because it can infect humans, causing skin irritations and eye and brain damage due to the random migration of the larvae. There have been 2 human fatalities, but both occurred in young children and were the result of a child being exposed to open fireplaces in the home that had been contaminated by a pet raccoon and a child chewing on contaminated firewood brought into the home, respectively.
  • Initially the animal should be wormed 3 times at 2-week intervals and then every 6 months thereafter.
  • Fatal or severe central nervous system disorders have been documented for mice, gray and fox squirrels, ground squirrels, woodchucks, nutria, beavers, domestic quail, partridges, pigeons, exotic turkeys, emus, captive cockatiels, captive prairie dogs, foxes, armadillos and porcupines. In abnormal hosts unusual behavior is generally observed. The affected animal will initially exhibit a head tilt and an inability to walk and/or climb properly. As the clinical illness progresses the animal may lose its fear of humans, circle, roll on the ground, fall over, lay on its side and paddle its feet, become totally recumbent, comatose, and finally die.
  • excerpts from the Michigan Department of Natural Resources

  • Mange is a skin disease of mammals caused by a tissue-burrowing arthropod, the mange mite.
  • Skin changes around the eyes, ears and mouth may cause blindness, impaired hearing and difficulty in eating. The disease is often fatal to red foxes. Notoedric mange is a serious disease of squirrels, especially during the winter. Large areas of the body or the entire body becomes denuded of hair and the animal may die from exposure because of the loss of their insulating layer of fur. Spontaneous recovery with full restoration of the hair coat is frequently observed in squirrels.
  • Sarcoptic mange is characterized by thinning and loss of hair, thickening and wrinkling of the skin, and scab and crust formation. Red foxes are the most severely affected, exhibiting a thinning of hair accompanied by accumulations of foul-smelling, wet, crusted exudate about the head, and in severe cases, over much of the trunk and legs. In advanced cases, animals are emaciated and weak. Notoedric mange results in hair loss, first over the chest and shoulders (see illustration), but progressing over the entire body. In extreme cases nearly the entire body is bare and the exposed skin becomes thickened and dark. There is no crust formation on the skin of the squirrels.
  • Sarcoptic and notoedric mange is effectively controlled through application of any one of a variety of acaricidal compounds.
  • excerpts from the Michigan Department of Natural Resources

  • A disease of rabbits and rodents caused by the bacterium Francisella tularensis.
  • It has been diagnosed in muskrats, beaver, cottontail rabbits, snowshoe hares and a great horned owl.
  • Tularemic hares and cottontails have been observed to behave oddly, to run slowly, and to be captured easily. Infected rabbits appear to be tame or in a stupor; they do not raise their heads or carry their front feet well; they rub their noses and forefeet into the ground. They have recurrent muscle spasms, and stagger for a few yards between spasms. Clinical signs in experimentally infected red foxes were loss of appetite, diarrhea, and noisy labored breathing.
  • Although broad-spectrum antibiotics such as tetracycline or chloramphenicol are effective, streptomycin is the most satisfactory drug for treatment of tularemia.
  • excerpts from the Michigan Department of Natural Resources

  • Salmonellosis is a bacterial disease caused by members of the genus Salmonella. S. typhimurium is the most common species isolated in wild birds.
  • Signs range from sudden death to gradual onset of depression over 1 to 3 days, accompanied by huddling of the birds, fluffed-up feathers, unsteadiness, shivering, loss of appetite, markedly increased or absence of thirst, rapid loss of weight, accelerated respiration and watery yellow, green or blood-tinged droppings. The vent feathers become matted with excreta, the eyes begin to close and, immediately before death, some birds show apparent blindness, incoordination, staggering, tremors, convulsions or other nervous signs. However, most people calling about die-offs report finding dead sparrows around their feeder and an occasional "sick-acting" bird.
  • No drugs or antibiotics have proven to be entirely effective for treating salmonellosis in any wild birds. Sulfamerizine, nitrofurane and broad-spectrum antibiotics in the feed of water may reduce losses in domestic species.
  • excerpts from the Michigan Department of Natural Resources

  • Leptospirosis is a bacterial disease. In wildlife species, pathological changes due to naturally occurring infections result infrequently. Gross lesions consistent with an infection are not evident in white-tailed deer, striped skunks, raccoons, opossums, red fox, gray fox, rats and mice. The significance of leptospirosis in wildlife species that appear to be susceptible to Leptospira infections (white-tailed deer, raccoon, striped skunk, red fox, gray fox, opossums, rats and mice) is that they serve as reservoir hosts only.
  • In humans, a number of antibiotics (streptomycin, penicillin and tetracycline) have been administered to treat acute leptospirosis. A single dose of 25 mg/kg of dihydrostreptomycin has proven to be an effective procedure.
  • excerpts from the Michigan Department of Natural Resources

  • Mycoplasmosis is a highly transmissible disease and is transmitted in house finches and other passerine birds via ocular discharge. The disease is most commonly spread at bird feeders and at roost sites. M. gallisepticum does not survive outside the body for any length of time.
  • Eye lesions develop within 12 weeks of exposure.
  • red, swollen eyelids and conjunctival tissue (mucous membrane covering the anterior surface of the eyeball) with a clear ocular discharge. The condition can become more severe resulting in extreme swelling of the eyelid and conjunctiva, crust formation along the eyelid margins resulting in ulcerations on the cornea and purulent discharge and loss of sight. Inflammation of the sinuses may occur resulting in discharge flowing from the nares. The birds may also display wet, matted feathers on the face (especially around the eyes), fluffed body feathers, inactivity (sitting on the ground and remaining at feeders after other birds have left), weight loss, loss of appetite and death due to starvation, exposure or predation.
  • If treatment is given, 3 antibiotics must be administered simultaneously: Terramycin Oxytetracycline hydrochloride with polymyxin B sulfate eye ointment daily in both eyes. Tetracycline systemic antibiotic given orally twice daily for 14 days. Tylosin tartrate in the drinking water until release.
  • (excerpts from the Michigan Department of Natural Resources

    (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."

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