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Vet Clin North Am Exot Anim Pract. 2010 Jan;13(1):15-25. doi: 10.1016/j.cvex.2009.09.003.

Reptile geriatrics.

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Animal Health Centre, Toronto Zoo, 361A Old Finch Avenue, Scarborough, ON M1B 5K7, Canada.


Although basic notions, such as life expectancy, and thus what constitutes old age, remain to be determined in the vast majority of reptile species, there is a tendency at least for captive reptiles to live longer now than in the past. Clinicians are expected to recognize signs of senescence or old age in reptile patients, to acquire a heightened index of suspicion for diseases likely to affect older individuals of a given species or taxon, and to provide sound advice on geriatric care of such patients. Reptiles are stoic and show few signs of aging, but subtle changes in behavior, mobility, reproduction, weight, or appetite may all signal the onset of senescence to the vigilant caregiver. Serial, for example, yearly or biannual physical examination, blood sampling, and imaging initiated at maturity or earlier are probably the most powerful tools in diagnosing, monitoring, and managing geriatric issues.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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