Services for Reptiles

  • Outpatient clinic operations (by appointment)
  • Emergency patient care
  • Advice on care and feeding (by appointment)
  • Preventative care
  • Internal medicine and laboratory diagnostics
  • Imaging diagnostics (including x-rays and endoscopies)
  • Surgical procedures on reptiles
  • Determination of sex (e.g. by using endoscopy)
  • Inpatient treatment and housing of reptiles

Outpatient clinic operations (by appointment)

We offer private consultations for your snake, turtle or lizard from Monday – Friday, 8 a.m. – 4 p.m.; to make an appointment, call +43 1 250 77-5159. During regular outpatient hours of operation, our primary focus is treating sick animals, and we also perform preventative care (including examination of faeces) and offer a variety of services (e.g. correcting overgrown turtle beaks).

The first time we see your pet, we place a great deal of importance on creating a detailed history regarding the care and the feeding of your animal.

We recommend transporting your reptile to the clinic in an appropriate container. Particularly, during the winter a Styrofoam box with a hot water bottle serves the purpose well. Aquatic turtles should be transported in a moist environment but never in water.

If you have previously taken your reptile to another veterinarian, we strongly urge you to share any information you were given and to bring along all test results and medications.

It is not possible for us to examine poisonous snakes or animals (as defined by §16, paragraph 2, of the Viennese Regulation on Animal Welfare and the Keeping of Animals) during our normal outpatient hours of operation.

Emergency patient care

During our normal outpatient hours of operation (Mon – Fri, 8 a.m. – 4 p.m.), we will slot in and handle emergency cases, assigning priority according to medical urgency.

Outside of our normal outpatient hours, the Division of Avian and Reptile Medicine of the Clinic for Avian, Reptile and Fish Medicine (Vetmeduni Vienna) offers an emergency service. Since our clinic is not staffed around the clock, we recommend calling our emergency service at +43 1 250 77‑5159 (during the workday) and +43 1 250 77-5555 after 7 p.m. and on weekends. This avoids unnecessary waiting times.

How to recognize an emergency

We recommend contacting the Clinic for Avian, Reptile and Fish Medicine if you observe the following symptoms in your reptile:

  • inactivity or respiratory arrest
  • acute, significant blood loss, fresh, extensive wounds or fresh, deep bite wounds
  • open injuries to or fractures of the shell (turtles)
  • freshly prolapsed cloaca, bladder, intestine or oviduct tissue (there is a danger in this case of desiccation, constriction or destruction of the prolapsed tissue)
  • Any other situation where you judge that your reptile’s life is in immediate danger.

Please be aware that it is our policy to charge a higher fee for emergency cases seen outside of our normal outpatient hours of operation.

 

Advice on care and feeding (by appointment)

Since turtles, lizards and snakes are legally viewed as wild animals with special requirements, questions regarding their appropriate housing and nutrition are of central importance to their care.

In order to provide you with the best possible support, we will gladly take extra time upon request to give you detailed information about optimal housing and nutrition for your animal needs.

You may also contact us if you are considering getting a reptile. An introductory conversation gives you the opportunity to ask specific questions regarding your animal of choice. This allows us to fill you in on the peculiarities of the pertinent species and address typical problems that people encounter when getting started with terraria as a hobby.

In early fall, owners of land tortoises may find it very helpful to have a detailed conversation with us regarding hibernation.

Beginning terrarium hobbyists often underestimate what is required for keeping Stripe?headed Bearded Dragons (Pogona vitticeps).
 

 

Internal Medicine & Laboratory Diagnostics

Microbiological testing (detection of aerobic/anaerobic bacteria and fungi)

Changes in skin, digestive or respiratory tract of reptiles can be due to bacterial or fungal infections. Successful treatment relies on isolating the pathogen (taking swabs from the affected area and growing the infectious agent on specialized media) and – particularly in the case of bacterial infections – determining resistance to various antibiotics by means of an antibiogram. These tests are performed in the laboratory of the Clinic for Avian, Reptile and Fish Medicine.

Parasitological Testing (Detection and Identification of protozoa and worms, primarily from faeces samples)

In addition to being afflicted with ectoparasites that are generally easy to identify such as ticks and mites, lizards, turtles and snakes can also be stricken with endoparasites.

The following are frequently detectable in the faeces of animals:

  • Single-cell organisms (e.g. coccidia, cryptosporidium, flagellates, entamoeba) and/or
  • Worm eggs (from roundworms, tapeworms or pinworms – Enterobius vermicularis or Strongyloides stercoralis)

Therefore, it is recommended that a fresh faecal sample is examined for evidence of parasites at least once a year (or better yet twice).

Tests for parasites (at various stages of their life cycle) are performed in our laboratories either with or without an enrichment process.

 

 
Pinworm eggs are regularly found in the faeces of lizards and land tortoises.
 
Snake mites are often visible to the naked eye.
 

Please note that we only give deworming medications to owners of animal patients at our clinic or upon documentation of a diagnostic procedure performed at a reputable institute (e.g. Institute for Parasitology, Vetmeduni Vienna). Information about deworming protocols is provided exclusively to owners of animal patients and to veterinary colleagues.

Blood testing

(Blood analysis is done in cooperation with the Clinical Pathology Platform/Central Laboratory of the Vetmeduni Vienna.)

In the course of a general medical examination, there is suspicion of infection or evidence of impairment in the functioning of a certain organ (mainly the liver or the kidney), then it is reasonable to perform a blood test. Similarly, in patients with indeterminate symptoms, a blood test can be helpful in identifying the cause of illness.

In general, the following blood tests are available

  • haematological analysis
 (includes parameters such as a hematocrit and white blood cell count)

  • blood chemistry analysis
    (includes, inter alia, the determination of enzyme activity and the concentration of minerals in the blood)

 

Additional testing

(Necropsies of deceased animals; cytological and histological analysis)

Depending on preference and the specifics of the situation, deceased reptiles may be examined at our clinic or transferred to the Institute for Pathology (Vetmeduni Vienna).

The analysis of biopsy samples, cytological specimens and/or tissue samples is performed by the Central Laboratory and by the Institute of Pathology (Vetmeduni Vienna).

 

 

 

Inpatient treatment and housing of reptiles

Inpatient animals (snakes, lizards and turtles) are housed alone in modern terraria customized to the specific needs of the species. All of our terraria and their furnishings can be cleaned and disinfected. Therefore, the risk of pathogen transmission can be minimized.

Bartagame Station
Tropftränke Chamäleon
 

The following list describes how different species are accommodated as inpatients at the Division of Avian & Reptile Medicine at the Vetmeduni Vienna:

  • Bearded Dragons (and other lizards from arid regions):
in oblong glass terraria with adequate UV/warming lamps and hiding places
  • Chamaeleons:
in high-walled glass terraria with adequate UV/warming lamps and hiding places, and a specially designed drip watering system suitable for the species-typical water intake
  • Aquatic turtles:
in large glass aquatic terraria with high-performance UV/warming lamps; all basins are individually supplied with fresh water. The water is changed completely at every cleaning (as a general rule, on a daily basis)
  • Land tortoises:
in large terraria with high-performance UV/warming lamps and hiding places
  • Non-poisonous snakes:
in escape-proof glass terraria with adequate warming lamps and hiding places; snakes with an affinity for water can have a shallow basin of water placed into their terraria

    If an infectious disease (e.g. herpes virus infection in land tortoises) is suspected in any reptile, these animals will be housed separately (quarantine!).

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