Merck Manual

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Emergency Care of Amphibians


Brent R. Whitaker

, MS, DVM, University of Maryland, Institute of Marine and Environmental Technology

Last full review/revision Sep 2013 | Content last modified Sep 2013

Initial emergency support includes providing fluid therapy, oxygen, and an environment of proper temperature and humidity. Placing the animal in a shallow bowl of isotonic or slightly hypotonic fluid enables transdermal uptake. Equal parts 2.5% dextrose in 0.45% sodium chloride and lactated Ringer’s solution is effective. Coelomic, IV, or interosseus fluids may be given by bolus to larger animals at 5–10 mL/kg. In the absence of known exposure to an organophosphate, seizuring animals should be treated for hypocalcemia (calcium gluconate, 100 mg/kg, IM, IV, SC, or intracoelomic, once or twice daily), organophosphate toxicity (atropine, 0.1 mg/kg, SC or IM as needed), and thiamine deficiency (vitamin B1 25–100 mg/kg, IM or intracoelomic as needed). If sepsis is suspected, antibiotic administration (eg, enrofloxacin 5–10 mg/kg/day, PO, SC, IM, or intracoelomic) should be initiated. Treatment for traumatic injuries is directed at minimizing blood loss, providing fluid therapy and respiratory support (doxapram 5 mg/kg, IM or IV as needed), and reducing pain (buprenorphine 0.02 mg/kg, IM, SC, or PO, or meloxicam 0.2 mg/kg), followed by corrective therapy.

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