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Amphibians, reptiles and fish
Diagnostic evaluation and treatment of a Chinese crocodile lizard (Shinisaurus crocodilurus) with seizures
  1. Sean Brady1,2,
  2. Tara Harrison3,
  3. Colette Williams4,
  4. Maria Evola5 and
  5. Raymund F Wack6
  1. 1Veterinary Housecalls, San Clemente, California, USA
  2. 2University of California Davis School of Veterinary Medicine, Zoological Medicine, Davis, California, USA
  3. 3North Carolina State University College of Veterinary Medicine, Avian and Exotics, Raleigh, North Carolina, USA
  4. 4University of California Davis School of Veterinary Medicine, Neurology, Davis, California, USA
  5. 5North Carolina State University College of Veterinary Medicine, Imaging, Raleigh, North Carolina, USA
  6. 6Department of Medicine and Epidemiology, University of California Davis School of Veterinary Medicine, Davis, California, USA
  1. Correspondence to Dr Tara Harrison, tmharri7{at}


An 11-year-old female Chinese crocodile lizard (Shinisaurus crocodilurus) with presumed seizures was examined. Complete blood count, plasma biochemistry and MRI did not identify a cause of seizures and thus cryptogenic epilepsy was diagnosed. Electroencephalogram (EEG) was performed on the affected lizard and a healthy conspecific, revealing a lack of normal background electrical activity in the affected individual compared with the normal individual. The patient was treated with oral phenobarbital and serum phenobarbital levels were routinely measured. Although phenobarbital was an effective antiepileptic drug, the patient's clinical condition worsened and the lizard was humanely euthanased after 70 days of therapy. Postmortem examination and histopathology did not identify a cause for the seizures. This is the first description of seizures, MRI, EEG and seizure treatment in a Chinese crocodile lizard.

  • Reptiles
  • Seizures
  • Chinese Crocodile Lizard (Shinisaurus crocodilurus)
  • Phenobarbital
  • Epilepsy
  • Electroencephalogram (EEG)
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  • Contributors SB was the primary clinician during initial treatment of this case and was the primary author of the paper. TH and RFW provided mentorship to SB and assumed responsibility for the case when SB was occupied with other duties. CW provided neurological expertise and performed the electroencephalogram. ME provided radiographic interpretation and MRI captions.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

  • Data sharing statement No additional data are available.

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