ISSN 2398-2985      

Necrotizing dermatitis

Jreptile
Contributor(s):

Agata Witkowska

Joanne Sheen

Synonym(s): Scale rot, Blister disease, Vesicular dermatitis, Shell rot, Necrotic dermatitis


Introduction

  • Cause: inappropriate husbandry specifically environmental humidity (specifically in snakes), infectious causes such as Chrysosporium anamorph of Nannizziopsis vriesii complex (Yellow fungus disease) in lizards, ecto- and endoparasitism, owner application of inappropriate supplements/ointments onto shell of Chelonia, underlying systemic disease. In Chelonia sometimes seen as a complication of untreated shell injuries. Common bacterial pathogens:
    • Serratia spp.
    • Pseudomonas spp.
    • Citrobacter spp.
    • Aeromonas spp.
  • Signs: progressive skin/shell lesions. Recurrent issues with shedding, more frequent shedding.
  • Diagnosis: culture and sensitivity swabbing, cytology, skin biopsy.
  • Treatment: dependent on the causative agent, may range from systemic antibiotics to topical treatments.
  • Prognosis: good to guarded depending on time of presentation and overall health.

Pathogenesis

Etiology

  • Often caused by secondary bacterial and parasitic infections Chelonia parasitology overview Lizard parasitology overview Snake parasitology overview.
  • Snakes: often associated with high environmental humidity, dirty environments and the use of heat mats which are not isolated from the animal Snake husbandry.
  • In aquatic species often associated with lack of a basking spot leading to the animal spending excessive amounts of time in the water. Lack of a feeding surface and feeding in water may also predispose to increased contamination. Poor water quality may be a contributing factor.

Predisposing factors

General

Specific

  • High environmental humidity in snake enclosures.
  • Lack of biosecurity when introducing new animals to a collection increasing risk of parasite transmission.

Pathophysiology

  • Immunosuppression resulting from poor husbandry or inappropriate hibernation in Chelonia may lead to hepatopathy and other organ dysfunction Hibernation / brumation. Excessively long hibernation in Chelonia may lead to dehydration and nutritional deficits also predisposing to infection.
  • External injuries resulting from trauma Traumatic injuries may introduce a commensal infection.
  • Dirty set ups with inappropriate bedding for the species kept may also predispose to skin trauma.

Timecourse

  • Acute in newly obtained reptiles.
  • Days to weeks post initial skin/shell injury.
  • Often seen post-hibernation in Chelonia.

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

  • Recent references from PubMed and VetMedResource.
  • Maas A K (2013) Vesicular, ulcerative and necrotic dermatitis of reptiles. Vet Clin North Am Exotic Anim Pract 16 (3), 737-755 PubMed.
  • Harkiewicz K A (2001) Dermatology of reptiles: a clinical approach to diagnosis and treatment. Vet Clin North Am Exotic Anim Pract 4 (2), 441-462 PubMed.

Other sources of information

  • Fraser M A & Girling S J (2017) Dermatology. In: BSAVA Manual of Reptiles. 3rd edn. Eds: Girling S J & Raiti P. BSAVA, UK. pp 257-272.
  • Vogelnest L (2017) Disorders of the Integument. In: Reptile Medicine and Surgery in Clinical Practice. Wiley & Sons, UK. pp 255-271.

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