Biliary Cirrhosis in Eight Green Iguanas (Iguana iguana)
American Association of Zoo Veterinarians Conference 2015
Carles Juan-Sallés1, LV, DACVP; Jorge Rosell1, LV; Xavi Valls2, LV; Andrés Montesinos3, LV; Mireia Máinez4, LV
1Noah’s Path, Elche, Spain; 2Clínica Exòtics, Barcelona, Spain; 3Centro Veterinario Los Sauces, Madrid, Spain; 4Centro Veterinario La Marina Exóticos, Elche, Spain


Biliary cirrhosis was diagnosed in eight green iguanas (Iguana iguana) by liver biopsy or necropsy with histopathology. Age range was 3–10 yr; five iguanas were females and three were males. Affected iguanas presented with anorexia, weight loss, dehydration, vomiting, hemoptysis or a combination of several of these symptoms. Physical examination and ancillary diagnostic tests including X-rays, serum biochemistries, exploratory laparotomy, endoscopy, and cytologic examination of percutaneous liver aspirates revealed orange discoloration of skin, hepatomegaly, increased hepatic consistency, severe dilatation of the gall bladder, hydrocoelom, leukocytosis, elevated GOT, increased bile acids, hepatocellular lipidosis or a combination of several of these symptoms. Hepatic lesions consisted of severe biliary hyperplasia with fibrosis replacing most of the affected parenchyma, and was associated with severe dilatation of the gall bladder, cholelithiasis of intrahepatic and extrahepatic ducts (with obstruction of the common bile duct in one case), rupture of intrahepatic bile ducts with leakage of bile and ensuing granulomatous hepatitis, granulomatous or fibrinonecrotizing cholecystitis with inspissation and plugging of bile and intralesional bacteria, or a combination of several of these lesions. One iguana with hemoptysis had severe phlebectasia involving pulmonary veins, jugular veins, and cranial cava vein. These findings suggest biliary cirrhosis associated with cholelithiasis, bacterial cholecystitis, bile plugs, and/or intrahepatic bile duct rupture with leakage of bile should be considered a top differential for green iguanas presenting with evidence of hepatobiliary disease. Obstruction of the biliary tree appears to be the underlying cause for this condition.


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Carles Juan-Sallés, LV, DACVP
Noah's Path
Elche, Spain

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