ISSN 2398-2985      

Heat stress

Jreptile
Contributor(s):

Jemma Hildrew

Sarah Brown

Synonym(s): Heat stroke


Introduction

  • Cause: ambient temperature greater than preferred optimal temperature zone for that species. No provision of thermal gradient, or a concurrent issue present such as poor mobility/ill health causing an inability to move away from a heat source.
  • Signs: initial hyperactivity, shallow rapid respiration, apathy, coma, death.
  • Diagnosis: elevated body temperature, history.
  • Treatment: controlled cooling of body temperature, fluids (subcutaneous, intravenous, intracelomic).
  • Prognosis: poor.

Pathogenesis

Etiology

  • Elevated or prolonged ambient temperatures. Usually, above 40°C/104°F, but effects may be seen as low as 30°C/86°F if humidity is elevated.

Predisposing factors

General

  • Pre-existing cardiovascular Heart disease or respiratory disease Lower respiratory tract disease.
  • Obesity Obesity.
  • Stress.
  • Reptiles in small containers without a temperature gradient will not be able to thermoregulate. This is common in transit especially on hot days Chelonia husbandry Lizard husbandry Snake husbandry.
  • Malfunctioning thermostats or heat sources.
  • A vivarium placed too close to heat sources such as radiators.
  • Poor ability to regulate body temperature and move away from a heat source, eg poor mobility, poor mentation, etc.

Specific

Pathophysiology

  • Elevated brain temperature.
  • Multi-organ dysfunction.

Timecourse

  • Usually takes at least 30 min of high ambient temperature to manifest, but timecourse for the development of an elevated body temperature is variable.

Diagnosis

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Treatment

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Prevention

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Outcomes

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Further Reading

Publications

Refereed Papers

Other sources of information

  • Pees M, Girling S (2019) Emergency Care. In: BSAVA Manual of Reptiles. 3rd edn. Eds: Girling S & Raiti P. BSAVA, UK. pp 101-114.
  • Mader D & Rudloff E (2006). Emergency & Critical Care. In: Reptile Medicine and Surgery. 2nd edn. Ed: Mader D. Saunders, USA. pp 533-548.

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