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Greetings from the ARAV Technician Liaison

Rick Linnehan, DVMWe are nearly a month away from our conference this year in San Antonio, TX!  There is still time to register for ExoticCon 2015 where you not only will benefit from the ARAV speakers, but will also receive a thumb drive where you will have ALL the speaker presentations from all three organizations!  This is exciting news especially for technicians and new graduates.
There have been several questions about the technician and student fee for the registration.  It is all one price regardless if they are members of ARAV or not at this time to keep it available.  I know no one wants to miss our keynote speaker, Rick Linnehan, DVM, a veterinarian with 59 days logged in space as an astronaut!  Don’t miss this once in a lifetime experience to hear his keynote address, “The Veterinary Profession: An Orbital Outlook from 300 Nautical Miles”.
Your Herp Blerpin’ Tech,
Erica Mede, CVT
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Don’t Forget to Vote!

Officer Elections for 2015 are now open until August 10th! Please vote for President-Elect, Vice-President, Secretary and 2 Members at Large.

Information on the duties and obligations for each position can be found by reviewing the ARAV by-laws.

Vote Now
Don’t Miss Out!

The Wet Labs at ExoticCon 2015 are Filling Fast!
Secure your spot at the Wet Labs at ExoticCon 2015 before they are gone!  The Venomous Handling lab especially is a rare opportunity only occurring every 3-5 years! ALL labs are open to veterinarians, veterinary students, and technicians!
Auction Announcement

ExoticsCon is fast approaching and I hope you are all as excited as I am for an amazing conference! One of my favorite breaks in the conference is the excitement of the auction. Every year we raise thousands of dollars that directly funds research to help the species we work with, but to do that we need items! Please show your generosity and support this year not just by bidding high, but sharing something your peers will fight over. Please contact Nelson Bricker or Kourtney Grimm with your items you plan to bring, or for information on how to ship them ahead of time.

Thank you ahead of time for your support, and see you in Texas!
Palawan Turtle Crisis Update

Please join us Sunday August 30th at 7:30pm for "The Palawan Forest Turtle Crisis, A Veterinary Perspective". Dr. Paul Gibbons and Dr. Charlie Innis will speak about the veterinary response to the recent conservation crisis in the Philippines! The Team on the ground in Palawan have been overwhelmed by your offers of support (monetary, supplies, and people) and we can't thank you enough. The Team has been extremely busy over the past few days and have completed an initial assessment and treatment of all turtles. The good news is that the team felt that approximately 2,400 of them were healthy enough to be released, and as of today all of those animals have been released (approximately 2,200 Siebenrockiella leytensis, 160 Cyclemys sp., and 5 Cuora amboinensis). While there were many deaths during the first few days, few animals have died recently, which speaks to the talent and abilities of the Team. Left over are approximately 1,000 live turtles that will remain in rehab until they are healthy enough for release.

With approximately 1,000 sick or injured turtles to care for, we are going to need personnel over the long haul. We are hoping to have a constant crew of two vets and four support staff (vet-techs, keepers, etc.), but this will depend on availability. We have enough people on site, or arriving shortly, to cover the needs through approximately July 1. We have received several offers from agencies to send personnel. Please coordinate with me, Andrew Walde directly to help us with scheduling. Some of you said you couldn't get to Palawan immediately, please consider that we will need assistance for most of July and August at a minimum, and possibly longer. We are only looking for people who are self-funded or have institutional support.

Thank you for your support.

Andrew Walde
TSA Co-Chair Program Committee
Snake Prolapse: The Ins and Outs

A prolapse is defined as a slipping down of a portion or organ of the body. In snakes, this is generally a hemipene, cloaca, or oviduct prolapsing through the vent. This may result in a serious problem that requires immediate intervention. Cloacal prolapse is rarely the primary issue but is secondary to an underlying problem such as constipation, dehydration, and/or parasitism.

Constipation in snakes is often caused by lack of movement (especially in heavier bodied snakes), dehydration, accidental ingestion of non-passable items such as large stones or bedding, and severe parasitism. It is extremely important for snakes to have an enclosure that allows adequate movement. Increasing exercise can be done by scenting various areas of the enclosure with rodents, adding climbing surfaces, or hiding prey items in PVC pipes that require effort on the snake’s part to find. Dehydration can be avoided with proper relative humidity in the enclosure as well as offering water bowls large enough for the snake to soak in. Dehydration can cause the formation of uric acid stones that may impede voiding. Parasitic infestations can cause impactions and increase coelomic pressure which causes prolapses as well.


Several preventative measures may be taken in order to decrease the likelihood of clocal prolapse in snakes. A diet adequate in hydration, a habitat with abundant space for movement, and routine diagnostics to check for parasites. Unfortunately, cloacal prolapse may reoccur throughout a snake’s life. If the condition persists a colopexy to prevent further prolapse may be required.

Rachel Mozwecz
Ross University 2016
Shed Not Skin! A Unique Way to Fundraise

Eden Bio-Creations is an innovative bio-textiles company that produces cruelty free, sustainable, and beautiful one-of-a-kind textiles from natural materials. Our flagship product uses the shed skins of living snakes to create a nearly indistinguishable alternative to traditional snake leather.  Eden Bio-Creations began in the garage of founder and inventor, Mark Tovar. Mark is a U.S. Navy veteran and proud doting father of four. Mark has always been a vocal and active advocate of local volunteerism, education, and cruelty-free sustainability.
When he invented the textile, Mark was trying to create a unique grip for his handmade snake handling hooks.  He thought a piece of snake shed under a see through grip would look amazing. While his vision was clear, the delivery was considerably more challenging.  After several rounds of trial and error he created a durable, beautiful textile that looked so much like real snake leather that he would receive dirty looks from fellow snake enthusiasts. This pseudo leather can be applied to nearly any sort of material for applications in fashion as well as in the field of things like cell phone cases.
Mark created a company that would hopefully replace traditional skin with his innovative new textile in a way that was sustainable and cruelty free.  Every product sold has to adhere to the three principles of the company:
  1. Sustainable. All forms of snake sheds, insect molts, wings, and plant material must be sustainably harvested without killing or harming a single life form. 
  2. Educational. Every product sold is accompanied with information about the animal. Customers are educated about conservation and sustainability.
  3. Give Back. Each and every sale has a portion donated to the non-profit who donated the shed or in the case of private donations of shed, to a not for profit facility such as venom labs, zoos, and nature centers that help fight for conservation and educate the masses with their charitable work.
To give back to ARAV, contact Eden Bio-Creations with what snake or lizard shed you have and let them know you want to donate it in the name of ARAV. We can help raise funds for our organization while furthering conservation in a way most never thought possible! Contact them at or give them  a call at 816-392-1811. To see more of their work, check out their site
Used with permission from Dan Krull.
Committee Corner

This is a new feature where we will have updates from our committees for you to see!  If you would like to volunteer for a committee, feel free to e-mail Erica Mede and she will put you in contact with the head of that committee!
Journal of Herpetological Medicine and Surgery:
The latest addition of the journal is live online! Go to and sign in to read about:
  • A tribute to Wilbur B. Amand
  • A review of recent infectious disease articles in scientific literature as compiled by our own Infectious Disease Committee
  • Case reports on a veiled chameleon, Peron’s tree frog, and soil mites as a biological control agent for acariasis in lizards
  • Original research on seroprevalence of Leptospira in Blanding’s turtles, detection of bacteria in oral swabs of common musk turtles, oral bacterial microflora in pythons, criticism over the intraosseous route for Testudines, and parasitic enteritis in wild invasive turtles.
  • Meeting announcements and other ARAV breaking news!
Membership and Public Relations Committee:
We are proud to announce that the edited care sheets for clients and our edited Exotic DVM teaching material on iguana surgery will be out very soon!  Thank you so much for those volunteering to help edit.
Conservation and Research Committee:
The ARAV Research and Conservation Research Grant application deadline is approaching on September 1st! Details can be found at
Infectious Disease Committee:
The ARAV Infectious Diseases Committee has put together a new list of peer reviewed publications on infectious agents in amphibians and reptiles that were published between January and June of 2015.  You can find the new lists with the exciting information on newly discovered pathogens and news on treatment efficacies, diagnostics, prevalence, immunology, and much more in the next issue of the Journal of Herpetological Medicine and Surgery and on the ARAV website at this link.
International Committee:
Congratulations to the International Committee Representatives chosen in the recent ARAV election!

These individuals are tasked with promoting ARAV activities and membership in their country/region and representing the members from their country/region in the International Committee. Please contact your representative for more information and to share ideas regarding ARAV!
ARAV Awesomeness

How many times have you gone to an ARAV conference and thought, “Gee whiz!  If only I had a pink racerback tank top from ARAV I would be just as epic as that technician liaison of theirs!”  Never fear!  We now have our own apparel store and as luck would have it, we do offer pink racerback tank tops!

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