Breaking New Ground: Afoxolaner's Success in Treating Snake Mites & Insights into Reptilian Immunology

Today, we delve into the fascinating world of reptilian health care, uncovering groundbreaking treatments and shedding light on reptile immunology. Join us as we explore two remarkable case reports published in Veterinary Dermatology, showcasing innovative approaches in veterinary medicine.

1. Afoxolaner Triumphs: A Solution to Ophionyssus natricus Infestation

Ophionyssus natricus, commonly known as snake mites, poses a significant threat to captive snakes, often leading to parasitic dermatitis. Historically, treatment options for these pesky mites have been limited and cumbersome, requiring aggressive rinsing to avoid systemic toxicity. However, a ray of hope emerged in the form of afoxolaner.

In a groundbreaking study conducted by Braulio A Fuantos Gámez and colleagues, a single oral dose of afoxolaner at 2mg/kg proved to be a game-changer in the treatment of snake mites. Two Burmese pythons (Python molurus bivittatus) were administered this novel treatment, resulting in the rapid elimination of live mites from their skin within three days.

Remarkably, both pythons remained mite-free for the entire 30-day evaluation period, with no reported adverse effects. Additionally, environmental samples collected from the snakes' terrariums showed no traces of dead mites by day 30. This study highlights the efficacy and safety of afoxolaner, offering a promising solution for snake mite infestations in captive reptiles.

2. Unveiling Allergic Reactions in Reptiles: A Tortoise's Tale

In another intriguing case report by Brittany Liguori and her team, we uncover the first documented case of grass allergy in an African spur-thighed tortoise (Centrochelys sulcata). The diagnosis was confirmed through intradermal allergen testing and provocative exposure to orchard grass hay.

The clinical manifestations of grass allergy in this tortoise were striking, particularly evident in the eye lesions characterized by chemosis, hyperemia, and protrusion of the nictitating membrane. Intradermal testing revealed positive reactions to orchard grass and Timothy grass, further supporting the diagnosis.

What's particularly fascinating is the insight into reptilian immunology provided by this case. Unlike mammals, reptiles lack IgE but possess other immunoglobulins such as IgD, IgA, IgM, and IgY. The presence of multiple IgY subclasses, akin to IgE in mammals, suggests a potential role in allergic reactions in reptiles.

This case underscores the importance of recognizing and managing grass allergies in herbivorous tortoises, which may be more prevalent than previously thought. Although hyposensitization could have been a viable option, it was not attempted in this instance, leaving room for further exploration in reptile allergy management.

In conclusion, these two captivating case reports not only showcase innovative treatments and diagnostic techniques but also deepen our understanding of reptilian health and immunology. As the field of veterinary dermatology continues to evolve, we eagerly anticipate more breakthroughs and discoveries in the realm of reptile medicine. Stay tuned for more exciting updates on our furry and scaly friends!

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