Melissa Kaplan's
Herp Care Collection
Last updated January 1, 2014

Journal Abstracts: Reptile and Amphibian Pain and Analgesia

Compiled by Melissa Kaplan


Analgesia and Analgesic Techniques
Vet Clin North Am Exotic Anim Pract 4[1]:1-18 Jan'01 Review Article 62 Refs. Sheilah A. Robertson, BVMS, PhD. Dept of Large Animal Clinical Sciences, University of Florida, PO Box 100136, Gainsville, FL 32610-0136 USA
In recent years, there has been a great increase in our understanding of pain mechanisms and our awareness of pain in small animals. Despite increased knowledge, many animals still go undertreated or untreated. Small exotic animals are a unique group of patients, and can prove challenging for the practitioner concerned with their welfare. This article reviews the process of nociception and how one can intervene in the pain pathway. Newer analgesic drugs are discussed, along with some novel administration techniques that can be adapted for small mammals. Ketamine has been regarded primarily as a chemical restraining agent, but new information reveals that it may have an important place in pain management.


Recognizing Pain in Exotic Animals
Exotic DVM 3[3]:21-26 Jul'01 Proceedings 9 Refs. Teresa Bradley, DVM. Belton Animal Clinic, 511 Main Street, Belton, MO 64012
Managing pain in animals of all species has become an integral part of providing optimal medical and surgical care. Veterinarians who care for exotic animals must be aware of the need for pain management in those animals, especially for prey species. There are many reasons why analgesia is often not provided or thought of as primary treatment for exotic species and this paper is presented to shed some light on some of those concerns.


Fish, Amphibian and Reptile Analgesia
Vet Clin North Am Exotic Anim Pract 4[1]:19-33 Jan'01 Review Article 100 Refs. Karen L. Machin, DVM, MSc. Dept of Veterinary Biomedical Sciences, Western College of Veterinary Medicine, 52 Campus Dr., University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, S7N 5B4, Canada
Ability to detect a painful stimulus and take appropriate action is important for the survival of any species. Fish, amphibians, and reptiles have appropriate neurologic components and display the appropriate behavioral responses to a painful stimulus. The presence of an endogenous opioid system in lower vertebrates suggests evolution of antinociception throughout vertebrate phylogeny. Analgesics should be provided to lower pain in vertebrates undergoing a procedure. Evidence of analgesia, some clinical indices of pain, and dosages of analgesics supported by experimental studies and anecdotal dosages are given.


Postoperative management of the exotic animal patient.
Vet Clin North Am Exot Anim Pract 5[1]:183-212 2002 Jan 101 Refs. Pollock C
Careful postoperative management is crucial for the success of any orthopedic surgical repair. The special needs of the exotic animal must be met during the immediate postoperative period and during hospitalization. Many exotic animals require a quiet, stress-free environment and careful attention to housing parameters, such as perching, temperature, and visual security. To provide adequate pain relief in these patients, analgesia should be given before, during, and after surgery. The drugs most often used for pain relief are NSAIDs and opioid analgesics. After surgery, monitor the healing process carefully with regular examinations and radiographs while remaining vigilant for potential problems such as osteomyelitis or nonunion. Physical therapy prevents the development of fracture disease, which includes joint or ligament contracture and bone or muscle mass loss. Because physical therapy affords the patient full use of the affected limb, it is considered a helpful practice in all patients. Physical therapy, however, is critical for free-ranging exotic animals that will be released back into the wild, such as birds of prey.


Evaluation of Medetomidine, Clove Oil and Propofol for Anesthesia of Leopard Frogs, Rana pipiens
J Herpe Med Surg 11[4]:13-18 Winter'01 Clinical Trial 37 Refs. *Maud Lafortune, DMV, MSc, Mark A. Mitchell, DVM, MS, PhD, Julie A. Smith, DVM, DACVA. *Zoological Medicine Resident, Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital, College of Veterinary Medicine, PO Box 100126, Gainesville, FL 32610-0126, USA
The clinical effects of medetomidine, clove oil and propofol were evaluated in 36 clinically healthy leopard frogs, Rana pipiens. Under controlled laboratory conditions, heart and respiratory rates were measured at defined intervals during each trial. Corneal, superficial and deep pain withdrawal and righting reflexes were evaluated over time following a single drug administration. Medetomidine (150 pg/kg) failed to produce clinically apparent sedation in any of the frogs (n = 12) despite a reduction in respiratory rate. Immersion in a clove oil (eugenol) bath (310 - 318 mg/L for 15 min) induced surgical anesthesia in all frogs (n = 12). However, the duration of anesthesia was variable, ranging from less than 5 min to 65 min. Gastric prolapse was a common side effect of clove oil anesthesia (50%, 6/12) but the significance of this effect is unclear. Propofol (10 mg/kg) injected perivascularly in the sublingual plexus area induced sedation in all frogs (n = 12) and light anesthesia in 58% (7/12). Propofol at this dose and by this route failed to induce surgical anesthesia in any of the frogs. These findings suggest that medetomidine is unsuitable as a sole anesthetic agent, propofol may be useful as a sedative, and clove oil may be used as a surgical anesthetic in the leopard frog.

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