Coelomic Endoscopy of the Green Iguana (Iguana iguana): Evaluation of Technique and Organ Visualization
American Association of Zoo Veterinarians Conference 2003

Stephen J. Hernandez-Divers1, BVetMed, DRCVS (Zoological Medicine); Scott J. Stahl1, DVM, ABVP­ (Avian); Sonia M. Hernandez-Divers1, DVM, DACZM; Matt R. Read3, DVM, MVSc, DACVA; Christopher S. Hanley1, DVM; Fernando Martinez4, DVM

1Exotic Animal, Wildlife and Zoological Medicine, Department of Small Animal Medicine and Surgery, College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Georgia, Athens, GA, USA; 2Eastern Exotics Center, Fairfax, VA, USA; 3Anesthesiology, Department of Small Animal Medicine & Surgery, College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Georgia, Athens, GA, USA; Calle Antony Capmany, Barcelona, Spain


Endoscopic evaluation of the coelom has been recommended as a safe and important diagnostic procedure in reptiles; however, prior to this report no studies had been undertaken to statistically evaluate endoscopic evaluation of organs in any reptilian species. Bilateral coelioscopic technique was performed on 32 juvenile green iguanas (Iguana iguana) under general anesthesia using a 2.7-mm telescope. With the anesthetized iguana in right lateral recumbency a 3-mm skin incision was made in the paralumbar region, and the coelomic musculature was bluntly penetrated using closed hemostats. The telescope-sheath unit was introduced into the coelom and coelomic insufflation was achieved using CO2 at 0.5 L/min to a pressure of 2–4 mm Hg. The pneumocoelom permitted examination of all major structures accessible from the left lateral approach. The levels of difficulty to enter the coelom, insufflate the coelomic cavity, and visualize the viscera were objectively scored by the endoscopists. In addition, the level of difficulty to locate and examine the heart, lung, stomach, small intestine, large intestine, spleen, liver, gall bladder, pancreas, adrenal gland, testis, epididymis, vas deferens, ovary, oviduct, kidney, bladder, and fat body were also objectively scored. Following the procedure, CO2 was aspirated from the coelom and the skin closed with cyanoacrylic glue. The procedure was repeated for a right lateral approach.

Endoscope entry, insufflation, and general coelomic visualization were simple and straightforward. Results indicated that there was no significant difference between left and right visualization scores for lung, liver, pancreas, small intestine, large intestine, ovary, oviduct, testis, epididymis, vas deferens, bladder, fat body, or kidney. However, a left lateral approach to the heart, stomach, and spleen, and a right lateral approach to the gall bladder and adrenal gland were found to be significantly better (P<0.05). In conclusion, endoscopy is advocated as a safe and effective method for the detailed examination of coelomic viscera in the green iguana.


We thank Charles Edward Bolian III and Tricia Bolian for financing this study, and Gina Antaris, Angela Ehinger, Michael Walden, Amalia Barbieri, Erin Menigo, and Jennifer Schuler for their technical assistance. Dr. Chris Chamness and Linda Scott of Karl Storz Veterinary Endoscopy America Inc kindly provided research endoscopy equipment.


Speaker Information
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Stephen J. Hernandez-Divers, BVetMed, DRCVS (Zoological Medicine)
Exotic Animal, Wildlife and Zoological Medicine
Department of Small Animal Medicine and Surgery
College of Veterinary Medicine
University of Georgia
Athens, GA, USA

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