Reptile Cloacal Prolapse

Day 2 – Upav – Aavac 2019

Today was full of more useful information!
one lecture by the knowledgeable and wise Dr Bob Doneley, discussed cloacal prolapse in reptiles!

The main takeaways from this lecture were really interesting! For those of you with experience with rectal or vaginal prolapses in cows, you will be pleasantly surprised to learn they are nothing alike!

The similarities begin with a prolapse, and end with using sugar to decrease swelling and ease replacement.

It is important to determine the cause of the prolapse! In reptiles, like in owns, prolapses are caused by excessive straining (or tenesmus). Unlike in cows,a purse string suture is unlikely to be of much benefit. Reptile cloacas are thin slits, so trying to place a constricting suture is not likely to prevent recurrence. Equally you may risk placing a suture through a hemi penal opening.


But what predisposes reptiles to cloacal prolapse?
  • Obesity
  • Inactivity and muscle weakness
  • Intra-abdominal disease – cystitis, obstruction, coelomic disease
  • Nutritional disease

Okay so we know how it may happen, but I have a lizard in front of me with a prolapsed cloaca! That’s great but what should I do!

Your mission, if you choose to accept it (or refer) is to perform a thorough physical examination and diagnostic work up – including comprehensive biochemistry, haematology and radiology to determine WHY the prolapse has occurred.

Once you have done this, you can consider placing your lizard or snake under a general anaesthetic, manually replacing the prolapse and anchoring the rectum to the body wall to prevent relapse!

Whilst we haven’t explored reptile anaesthesia, you can check out our post on rabbit and guinea pig anaesthesia here!

There’s a lot more information to explore here, and in the conference in general, stay tuned for more posts this week!

Doneley, B. UPAV – AAVAC 2018 Conference- Cloacal Prolapse

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