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RE: So about those parasites

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Posted by: fireside3 at Tue Sep 9 06:12:40 2008  [ Report Abuse ] [ Email Message ] [ Show All Posts by fireside3 ]  

8 years is not necessary to obtain a DVM degree in all places. Most veterinary colleges are 4 year schools accredited by the American Veterinary Medical Assoc. It depends on the entrance requirements for the school as to whether previous college credits or a degree is required.

Most vets tend to be very generalized. They don't learn very much about exotic medicine in veterinary school. These fields are left to the vet to specialize in and keep up with continuing education and seminars. Many will see exotics in their offices, but that does not mean they are specialized or have completed any course work specifically for herps or any other exotic. This is not regulated like people medicine, or a lawyer. They can see any animal in their clinic they want, whether they are qualified to treat it or not. Often, this is the case. I run into vets all the time that do not know what the hell they are doing with herps.

Herps are not what most vets butter their bread on. Domestic pets are. Most vets who see herps, do it simply to fill the books in between seeing dogs and cats. In fact, many clinics only make appointments to see herps on certain days of the week. As I said before, herp medicine and how certain things affect herps, can be much different than for mammals. Most of the error comes in when the vet extrapolates from mammal treatments, which can often be a big mistake.

99% of veterinary medicine is the diagnostic, and knowing what to look for, and recognizing what you are looking at. Diagnostics for certain illnesses have certain visible symptoms. Distended bowels, labored breathing, mouth agape breathing, elevated posture, runny, foul smelling, or off colored feces, lack of feces, lack of urates, or off colored urates, how they hold themselves, whether they burrow, are responsive to stimuli, open their eyes, chase their food. All these things tell me something and point me in certain logical directions. It's a simple trouble shooting elimination process many times. Bacterial infections do certain things. Protozoan parasites do certain things and may resemble bacterial infections. Impactions, respiratory infections, imbalanced gut flora...all these things have certain diagnostic indicators.

When I have a suspicion of either protozoan parasite, or bacterial infection, which does not respond to my broad spectrum treatments, I may collect fecal samples for microscope exam, or ask they be sent off for cultures to ID what pathogen is present, so that I can target the pathogen or parasite with the most effective drug. Most of the time when nematodes have become a problem, they become visible through my own visual exam. I also treat as prophylaxis for nematodes at certain times of the year.

I do deal with RI issues too sometimes. I covered this with Lou a while back and went into detail. Baytril success rates in RI issues I have found to be not very effective when given orally or by injection. There is almost always a recurrence after an initial recovery. I have told many people to watch for this, and they will tell me their lizard is getting better. I warn them that it will probably come back in a couple of weeks, and it almost always does. Many times the lizard dies the second time around. In my opinion, combination dosing is necessary unless you have a culture and know exactly what you are targeting. Baytril resistance is very high due to it's overuse for many years, and the way it is prescribed willy nilly for any sniffle. Herps also must be dosed for extended periods to have real effect. Due to the lack of effectiveness of oral or injectable Baytril in treating RI, I have started to administer by dilute nebulization therapy, along with combination dosing by oral or injection route. Nebulization gets the medicine right in the lungs where it is needed. I also use small concentrations of Albuterol sometimes to clear the airway, and recently have begun experimenting with caffeine as a respiratory stimulant for sick herps in respiratory distress. It helps to clear their lung secretions as well.

Pro-biotic treatment is very important to get your animal on when it is undergoing antibiotic treatment. Too many vets don't cover this need or see it's importance in herps, and too many keepers aren't even aware of the issue. Antibiotics usually kill the good bacteria too. If that happens to your lizard's gut flora, his digestion and immune system will not work. So, you could cure one thing, then kill your HL when his gut flora is decimated and digestion shuts down. Shoving all the ants and crickets in the world down his throat, won't help.

Most fatal illnesses that you will see, may appear to be respiratory related. But, often that is because respiratory distress and respiratory failure are the end stages of many illnesses. Their kidneys could have failed a couple of days before. They could be suffering acidosis or other metabolic disorder, or exposure to a toxin, or any number of things. So, by the time you see this respiratory symptom, there could be significant organ damage or infection elsewhere in the body already. Most often it is the effects on the respiratory system that get noticed, because they are most conspicuous symptoms to spot for the layperson.
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