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pigs faceSurvey of veterinarian’s opinions on snake venipuncture


Year: 2020

Sean Sugasawa Yamada
Western University of Health Sciences, USA

Supervisor(s): Dr Curtis Eng


Access to blood vessels in snakes can be difficult, being highly dependent on the species, size, and experience of handlers. Literature identifies four snake venipuncture sites: the coccygeal vein, the heart, the sphenopalatine vein, and the jugular vein. Conflicting literature on venipuncture site recommendations suggest the need for further investigation. The objective of this study is to determine the views of the herptile veterinary community on the methods of venipuncture and pain perception in snakes. It is expected that veterinarians would consider the coccygeal vein in place of the heart as the primary site for humane reasons. It is also expected that if veterinarians believe snakes feel pain, then they would be less inclined to use cardiocentesis on an awake patient. Veterinarians were more likely to utilize the coccygeal vein compared to the heart. Veterinarians believed snakes feel pain similarly to mammals (84%), and that they feel pain in a graded scale (98%). This study also suggests that younger veterinarians are more likely to use the coccygeal vein as opposed to cardiocentesis. This study provides veterinarians the information needed to make a community-conscious decision in their clinical application of snake venipuncture, hence improving the welfare of snakes.