The well-established adaptability of vet nurses, can often feel put to the test when informed a reptile or amphibian is being admitted for observation, treatment or surgery. However, investing a bit of time and money into preparing for the most commonly encountered species, can allow for a confident approach to providing simple husbandry protocols that can be life saving for these particular patients.
The core considerations, when hospitalising reptile and amphibians, stem from acknowledging their anatomy, physiology and their sensitivity to the immediate environment, including temperature, humidity, lighting, and access to appropriate enclosure furniture and waterbodies. The ranges and their critical points, particularly temperature and humidity, will be specific to the taxon and species respective of adaptations to their natural environment. Nowadays there is a growing market not only in the selling of these exotic animals as pets but, consequently, all the various pieces of kit considered vital to optimising the animal’s welfare in captivity. Vet nurses would benefit from doing some research into the best products, as there are many companies that do not produce high quality, long-lasting items, and equipment monitoring is vital to ensure these patients are benefiting from the equipment, and not being harmed by them.
While there are continuing scientific discoveries made about species-specific requirements of even the most commonly kept reptile and amphibian species, there is a wealth of practical advice available for veterinary professionals. Vet nurses can produce effective hospitalisation protocols based on fundamental principles of requirement, to maintain excellent nursing support, as provided with other more commonly seen pet species.
This presentation will give an introduction to encourage vet nurses in acknowledging species adaptations to their natural environment alongside their anatomy and physiology, to provide a foundation and reference when planning hospitalisation protocols. There will be a brief discussion about what can be provided during consultations as well as useful equipment and classic signs of discomfort and stress in reptiles and amphibians.