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Rehabilitation of Insectivorous Bats: The Basics and Beyond

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Title: Rehabilitation of Insectivorous Bats: The Basics and Beyond


1
Rehabilitation of Insectivorous Bats The Basics
and Beyond
  • Deborah Kemmerer Cottrell DVM
  • West End Animal Hospital
  • westendanimal.com

2
Must-Have References
3
  • Lollar/French Book
  • Best reference available
  • Step-by-step
  • Color illustrations
  • Order at www.batworld.org
  • Barnard Book
  • Good basic reference
  • New edition due out 2006
  • Old edition available free of charge online at
    www.basicallybats.org

4
Common Insectivorous Bat Species
  • Mexican Freetail (Tadarida braziliensis)
  • Evening Bat (Nicticeus humeralis)
  • Southeastern Bat (Myotis austrorparius)
  • Big Brown Bat (Eptesicus fuscus)
  • Little Brown Bat (Myotis lucifugus)
  • Eastern Pipistrelle (Pipistrellus subflavus)
  • Red Bat (Lasiurus borealis)
  • Seminole Bat (Lasiurius seminolus)

5
Mexican Freetail10-12 gramsMost common bat in
the U.S.
  • Unique ears and nose
  • Note long tail

6
Evening Bat7-9 grams
  • Note hairless face
  • Rich, dark fur

7
Southeastern Bat5-7 grams
  • Note haired face
  • Note light color ventral surface

8
Evening vs Southeastern
9
Big Brown Bat15-18 grams
  • Face like giant Evening Bat
  • Haircoat thick and dark

10
Little Brown Bat7-10 grams
  • Note long ears and narrow snout
  • Note pinkish skin over bones of wing

11
Eastern Pipistrelle Bat4-7 grams
  • Note long, thin ears and small eyes
  • Note straw-like fur

12
Red Bats13-15 grams
  • Note wide nose and small ears
  • Fur is bright red to mahogany

13
Seminole Bat13-5 grams
  • Note slightly darker face than Red Bat
  • Body fur very similar to Red Bat

14
Capture NetsLarge Tomahawk net lengthens to 18
feet and small butterfly net makes easy grabbing
15
Capture
  • Any rehabber working with bats needs to be
    protected against rabies. Not doing so is simply
    not acceptable
  • Emphasize caller is never to touch bat
    bare-handed
  • Caller to put box or towel over bat if on
    horizontal surface
  • If on vertical surface, cover bat with net, then
    use hand to enclose
  • Bats are usually less scared of bare hand than of
    glove.

16
Using Nets
  • When using net, be very careful of wings. If bat
    is flying, try to anticipate direction and come
    from behind it if possible. Less speed
    differential less likely to cause damage if edge
    of net hits wing.
  • Butterfly net easy to use and very gentle
  • Can simply place net over most hanging bats very
    slowly, then slide hand under rim

17
Transport
  • Consider safety, comfort, ease of use
  • Plastic critter carrier
  • Port-A-Bug carriers
  • Camera Bags

18
Plastic Critter CarriersSturdy. Can break, but
wont easily smash down my favorite for
overnighters or bed breakfast bats. Cloth
should be flannel, baby blanket, denim or other
non-looped fabric to avoid trapping nails
19
Port-A-BugComfortable for bats, but delicate and
easy to squash
20
Camera BagsWork well for larger species small
ones can slip out unless bag has mesh inside
21
Intake Forms
  • Name, address,phone number/email of person who
    found bat
  • Date and location bat found
  • Circumstances of injury or illness
  • Any treatment administered
  • Describe any contact with unvaccinated persons

22
Weighing InGram scale essential to weigh in 0.1
gram incrementsFairly good quality available
cheap online at www.greenkingdom.com
23
Intake Evaluation
  • Physical exam includes
  • Hydration status
  • Wounds
  • Nutritional status
  • Mental status
  • Parasite Control

24
Hydration StatusDifficult to assess safe to
administer subcutaneous fluids in almost any
situation
25
Rules of Thumb for SQ Fluids
  • Give 1 ml for each 10 grams body weight
  • Lactated Ringers, Normosol, 0.9 Saline all safe
    in almost any instance if giving fluids for fewer
    than three days.
  • If giving fluids daily for more than three days,
    use ½ strength saline (0.45) to avoid sodium
    overload.
  • If animal is dehydrated, always give fluids
    before attempting to feed. Wait at least two
    hours after SQ fluids before giving food.

26
WoundsMost often wing injuries most torso
injuries wont survive to see you
27
Nutritional StatusFairly easy to assess using
chest-to-waist ratio
28
Mental Status
  • Dont assume Rabies because bat is biting
    furiously. Many bite anything when in pain.
  • Dont assume rabies because bat is comatose or
    unresponsive. Dehydration, starvation, infection,
    pain can cause those also.

29
Parasite Control
  • Deworm with Ivermectin/propylene glycol
  • Deworm with albendazole? Cant make solid
    recommendation right now
  • Kill bat mites with Revolution. Dilute to ½
    strength with water, then use one drop from 25
    gauge needle on bat topically
  • Parasites more of an issue than originally
    thought in captive bats. Stay tuned for more info
    soon.

30
Parasite Study
  • Trying to determine significance of intestinal
    parasites in wild and captive bats
  • Send fresh fecal samples. Wrap in aluminum foil
    with a wet cotton ball, then mail to me in a
    bubble envelope.
  • Need samples from both healthy and sick bats
  • Contact info on website at www.westendanimal.com

31
Mealworm Glop
  • Complete hand-feeding formula for overnighters,
    debilitated bats, and weanling pups.

32
Glop FormulaMy formula not exactly same as
Lollar/French, but has worked well for me.Mix
until very smooth in blender
  • 5 small jars turkey baby food
  • 1 jar banana baby food
  • 1 cup mealworms
  • 2 tbsp Vionate Powder
  • 2 tbsp Missing Link Feline Formula
  • 4 inches Nutrical or High Cal

33
Feeding Adults For Short-Term Care
  • Overnighters or Bed Breakfast bats do well
    on glop
  • Not usually worth time to teach mealworm theory

34
Feeding Adults for Long-Term Care
  • Must teach mealworm theory
  • Glop at least once weekly to help prevent hepatic
    lipidosis (fatty liver syndrome)
  • Use of captured bugs not recommended due to
    parasites. Crickets can carry liver flukes, etc.
  • Mealworm substrate highly varied lots of opinions

35
Mealworms
  • I use Harrisons Baby Bird Mash as primary
    substrate. Expensive, but worth it.
  • Sliced sweet potatoes in substrate provide
    hydration and a few extra nutrients
  • Prior to serving worms in bowl, spray with
    Carnivore Care Vitamin Spray and dust with
    Missing Link Feline Formula

36
Mealworm TheoryDifficulty varies by
speciesFreeTails most difficult. Start by
cutting heads off worms, then annoying bat until
it bites worm
37
Glop as Nutritional Supplement
  • Large body of evidence for hepatic lipidosis in
    long-term captives. Unknown whether primarily
    nutritional other factors such as
    stress/cortisol probably play a part.
  • Evening Bats seem most susceptible Southeasterns
    very resistant
  • Symptoms include abdominal enlargement, obesity,
    hair loss, then loss of appetite
  • Weekly supplement of even 0.5 ml glop appears
    effective preventively for most

38
Feeding Infants/OrphansFreeTails
39
Use a Cup WarmerFreeTails like milk very hotUse
shot glass or other thick-bottom container to
prevent scalding of milk
40
Feeding TechniqueForce sponge with hot milk into
mouth. Pup will start nursing. Keep sponge wet
with hot milk.
41
Keep Up!Keep sponges wet so they dont suck air
42
Feed Optimal AmountThis bat is a little too full
43
The BatsicleThis is a publicity shot for
newspaper.Most attention ever for us for bat
public relations, but dont do it for real
youll have to bathe them each time
44
Feeding Non-Freetail InfantsNote that syringe is
positioned so milk does not run down front of bat
45
Housing for Long-Term CaptivesMust consider
  • Comfort and safety
  • Ease of cleaning
  • Environmental enrichment
  • Educational value/accessibility

46
Reptarium Screen CagesThese are pushed against
backing with a heating pad attached. Several
layers of baby blankets allow different cliques
to hang out together
47
Environmental Enrichment
48
Education/Access
49
Population Control in Captive ColoniesNeutering
males a viable option
50
Flight TestingLarge cage ideal, especially for
Freetails. This 40 X 10 X 8 ft cage at our
hospital was built with a grant. Rule is 10 min
of flight for every week in captivity prior to
release.
51
Small cage works well for mostThis 8 X 8 X 8 can
be built in one afternoon with little expense
using 2 X 4 lumber, hardware cloth, and a screen
door.
52
The Rehabbers Medical KitBeing prepared to make
dilute solutions is critical
53
Drug FormularyBatworld has extensive formulary
online. Mine is a very basic list of fairly
inexpensive drugs that are also fairly easy to
obtain if you have good relationship with your
vet.
  • www.westendanimal.com
  • Bat information page
  • Click on link to Microbat Drug Formulary
  • Lists name of drug, dose per kg, dose per 10
    grams body weight
  • Instructions for dilution included

54
Importance of Bacterial Culture/Sensitivity in
Wounds
  • Growing global resistance to antibiotics
  • Can get sensitivities in 48 hours
  • May be difference between life and death
  • TALK to your vet or labs in your area most will
    be willing to set up account. Dairies and fish
    farms use inexpensive microbiology labs and often
    are willing to share. You can get basic C S for
    around 18.00.

55
Quick List of Drugs and Their Uses
  • The following is an alphabetical list of drugs
    currently in my online formulary

56
Acepromazine
  • Sedative and anti-anxiety
  • Been around long time
  • High safety margin
  • Not much pain control alone
  • Acts 6-8 hours
  • May be given as oral or injectable

57
Albendazole
  • Parasiticide usually reserved for liver flukes
    and tapeworms
  • Can be toxic to liver
  • Exact dose still unknown in bats
  • Routine deworming not recommended at this time
    until further info available on prevalence of
    flukes
  • Send fecal sample if you want to check your bats

58
Amikacin
  • Good antibiotic against gram-negative bacteria
  • Injectable only not absorbed orally
  • Can put heavy workload on kidneys, so use only if
    indicated by C S
  • Every 8 hour dosing 5-7 days

59
Amoxicillin
  • Good broad-spectrum antibiotic (meaning both gram
    neg and gram pos organisms)
  • High safety margin
  • Use as a first-line antibiotic without C S
  • Twice daily dosing 7-10 days

60
Atropine
  • Antidote for many types of insecticide poisoning,
    which is well-documented in bats
  • Dosed to effect, meaning until symptoms subside

61
Azithromycin
  • Third-generation, heavy-duty antibiotic for
    gram-positive bacteria
  • Try to reserve for indication by C S
  • Once-daily dosing 5 days

62
Beuthanasia
  • Extremely humane method of euthanasia
  • Overdose of pentobarbital
  • Very smooth, no excitability phase
  • Very little discomfort
  • Can be given orally, subcutaneously,
    intravenously, or intra-peritoneally

63
Buprenorphine
  • Opioid analgesic with low addiction factor, so
    relatively easy to get
  • Very effective for 8-12 hours
  • Can be used with acepromazine or other
    painkillers
  • Combo with meloxicam for long-term pain relief

64
Butorphanol
  • More effective analgesia than morphine
  • Only lasts 3-4 hours if used alone
  • Combo with acepromazine for good pre-surgical
    relaxation
  • Combo with meloxicam for long-term pain relief

65
Cefadroxil or Cephalexin
  • Good broad-spectrum antibiotic
  • Slightly wider spectrum than amoxicillin
  • Once daily dosing for 7 to 10 days
  • High safety margin

66
Clindamycin
  • Currently best recommendation for bone infections
    or dental infections
  • Best against anaerobic, gram positive bacteria
  • Can cause GI upset
  • Dose two or three times daily for 7 to 10 days.

67
Dexamethasone
  • Rapid-acting corticosteroid
  • Traditionally used for shock or brain swelling as
    in insecticide poisoning or trauma
  • Use being questioned increased susceptibility to
    infection may outweigh benefit
  • Experience still says Let no animal die without
    benefit of steroids

68
Diphenhydramine (Benadryl)
  • Anti-histamine
  • Used for anaphylaxis, allergic reactions
  • Somewhat useful for swelling and edema
  • Benefit for relaxation doubtful does not cause
    drowsiness in most animal species

69
Enrofloxacin (Baytril)
  • Excellent broad-spectrum antibiotic
  • Useful if pseudomonas is suspected
  • Bone growth plate problems seen in dogs not in
    my experience or Lollar/French experience in bats
  • Once daily dosing for 7 to 10 days

70
Epinephrine
  • Emergency drug only
  • Used for anaphylaxis, severe allergic reactions
  • Used as CPR drug to attempt to re-start heart
  • Not very effective without defibrillation paddles

71
Furosemide (Lasix)
  • Very safe diuretic
  • Been around long time
  • Very little effect on electrolyte balance in
    animals
  • Most species can tolerate very high doses as long
    as fluids are available
  • Used to treat edema of limbs and lungs

72
Ivermectin
  • Very safe parasiticide
  • Routine deworming on intake recommended
  • Use orally for intestinal worms
  • Use topically for skin mites
  • Not effective against liver flukes

73
Meloxicam
  • Relatively new, very potent NSAID
  • Very high safety margin
  • Only NSAID used regularly in virtually all
    species
  • Easy oral dosing
  • Better pain relief than morphine for
    musculoskeletal pain
  • Do not use with prednisone can cause stomach
    ulcers
  • Once daily dosing for as long as necessary

74
Prednisolone
  • Corticosteroid produced by body in small doses
  • Potent anti-inflammatory, but high incidence of
    side effects in humans
  • Risk of side effects commonly exaggerated in
    animals
  • Used to treat allergies or autoimmune disease
  • Once daily dosing

75
Tiletamine (Telazol)
  • Second-generation combination of ketamine and
    diazepam
  • Effects extremely variable in bats can cause
    severe hyperexcitability if under-dosed
  • Current investigation as injectable anesthetic
    combined with acepromazine and butorphanol shows
    promise

76
Trimethoprim/Sulfa (Bactrim, Ditrim)
  • Broad-spectrum antibiotic
  • High safety margin in most species
  • Good against many anaerobic bacteria
  • Once daily dosing for 7-10 days
  • Drug reactions can cause skin sloughing whether
    given as injection or orally

77
Common Problems and Treatments
  • Trauma wing fractures, burns, soft tissue
    injuries, bite wounds
  • Trapped in building
  • Insecticide poisoning
  • Obstetrical problems
  • Hepatic lipidosis (captives)

78
TraumaInfected wing fracture
79
TraumaBurn from firecracker
80
Trauma Treatment Protocol
  • Acepromazine/butorphanol/meloxicam combo if
    available
  • SQ fluids
  • Leave alone 30 minutes
  • Lavage wound with sterile saline
  • Start antibiotics. Amoxicillin, Cephalexin or
    Enrofloxacin good choices
  • If deep wound or puncture, send CS

81
Trapped in Building
  • Overnighters or Bed Breakfast bats
  • Give SQ fluids upon intake
  • Feed glop twice daily for a couple of days
  • Release within 15 miles of original location if
    possible

82
Insecticide Poisoning
  • Well-documented in literature
  • Congenital defects/mutations in low levels
  • Acute problem seen in moist weather with lots of
    mosquitoes spraying
  • Long-term problem seen in areas that dont use
    newer mosquito sprays
  • Newer sprays are water-based and dont hang in
    air as long
  • Still a problem for lizards, birds, and other
    wildlife
  • Mostly human convenience rather than safety

83
Acute Insecticide Poisoning
  • Generally large numbers of bats affected
  • Two cases involved about 100 bats each case
  • Treatment subcutaneous fluids, dexamethasone,
    atropine combined in one dose, followed by
    several hours in the incubator, then glop and
    place in safe area.
  • Eighty percent survival

84
Obstetrical ProblemsDystocia Obviously pregnant
bats hanging right-side up for unusual periods of
time. Caesarian may be necessary.
85
Miscellaneous Stuff
  • Bat talk dvd
  • Bats in the Pantry
  • WEAH bat house
  • www.batworld.org
  • www.basicallybats.org
  • www.batcon.org
  • Chat groups

86
Bat Talk DVDwww.batworld.orgFascinating insight
into bat communication
87
Bats in the Pantrywww.batworld.orgWonderful
recipes and fascinating food facts
88
West End Bat HouseTriple-wide nursery house in
hospital parking lot. Will hold 1800 bats
currently has about 800.
89
Batworld
  • www.batworld.org
  • Run by Amanda Lollar
  • Extensive website with lots of rehab info
  • Largest bat rehab operation in the world
  • Training seminars available

90
Basically Bats
  • www.basicallybats.org
  • Primarily education and research
  • Run by Sue Barnard of Zoo Atlanta

91
Bat Conservation International
  • www.batcon.org
  • Extensive website
  • Strongest pro-bat political organization
  • Works at national and international levels

92
Chat Groups
  • batline_at_basicallybats.org
  • Oriented more toward biologists and researchers
    than rehabbers
  • Often can answer technical questions
  • worldbatline_at_yahoogroups.com
  • Oriented more toward rehabbers
  • Practical help and information

93
A Disturbing ImageThe BatRamSquirrel
94
Good-Bye
95
Equipment Product List
  • Bats In Captivity free online at
    basicallybats.org
  • Captive Care and Medical Reference 45.00 at
    batworld.org
  • Carnivore Care Vitamin Spray 6.00 for 8 oz at
    reptilesupply.com
  • Cup warmer 4.95 at Bed, Bath Beyond
  • Enrichment items Petsmart, Petco
  • Feeding tips Softpaws glue applicators from
    smartpractice.com
  • Formulary Drugs Veterinary only. Talk to your
    vet.
  • Gram Scale Inexpensive variety 40.00 at
    greenkingdom.com
  • Harrisons Baby Bird Mash 44.00 for five pounds
    at harrisonsbirdfoods.com
  • Ivermectin 1 Injectable Any feed store
  • Make-up sponges Any pharmacyI prefer CVS brand

96
  • Missing Link Feline Formula 16.00 for one pound
    at Petsmart/Petco
  • Net, Large Extension type 69.00 Tomahawk at
    livetrap.com
  • Net, Butterfly type 15.00 at amazingbutterflies.
    com
  • Nutrical, High Cal or equivalent 6.50 at
    Petsmart/Petco
  • Plastic Critter Carrier 4.95 to 15.95 at
    Petsmart/Petco
  • Port-A-Bug 8.00 at amazingbutterflies.com
  • Reptarium screen cages bigappleherp.com
  • Vionate Powder 4.95 for 8 ounces at
    jefferspet.com

97
Photo Credits(other than Deb or Iaon Cottrell)
  • Barbara French
  • Carol Bunyard
  • Merlin Tuttle
  • Don Pfritzer
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