Evaluation of a Ventral and Left Lateral Coelioscopy Approach in Bearded Dragons (Pogona vitticeps)
2018 Joint EAZWV/AAZV/Leibniz-IZW Conference
Samuel Frei1*, Dr. med. vet; David Sanchez-Migallon Guzman1, LV, MS, DECZM (Avian, Small Mammal), DACZM; Tracy L. Drazenovich1, DVM; Philip H. Kass2, DVM, PhD, DACVPM; Philipp D. Mayhew3, BVM&S, DACVS
1Department of Veterinary Medicine and Epidemiology, William R. Pritchard Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of California-Davis, Davis, CA, USA; 2Department of Population Health and Reproduction, School of Veterinary Medicine, William R. Pritchard Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital, University of California-Davis, Davis, CA, USA; 3Department of Veterinary Surgical and Radiological Sciences, School of Veterinary Medicine, William R. Pritchard Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital, University of California-Davis, Davis, CA, USA


Bearded dragons (Pogona vitticeps) are among the most popular reptiles kept in captivity.3 Coelioscopy is routinely used in lizards for diagnostic purposes and sample collection1 but has not been evaluated in a species with a dorsoventrally compressed body shape like the bearded dragon. In this study we compared a ventral and a left lateral approach to the bearded dragon’s coelomic cavity using a 2.7 mm telescope with a 4.8 mm operating sheath and CO2 insufflation. Eighteen adult bearded dragons (9 males, 9 females) were anesthetized and had both coelioscopy approaches performed. The ease of entry into the coelomic cavity as well as the ease of visualization of each organ was scored using a previously published scoring system in reptiles.2,4 All but one animal recovered uneventfully from the procedure. The one animal that died had severe gross lesions endoscopically. Both approaches were straightforward with the lateral approach taking significantly (p<0.05) longer than the ventral approach. The visualization of the heart, lung, liver, stomach, intestines, pancreas, gallbladder, kidney, gonads, and fat body was good to excellent. Visualization of the spleen and adrenal gland was difficult in most animals using either approach. The left kidney, testis, and vas deferens were significantly easier to visualize from the left lateral approach whereas the pancreas in females and the gallbladder in both sexes were significantly easier to see from a ventral approach. Both coelioscopy approaches in bearded dragons are safe and effective and preference for either approach should be dependent on the coelomic organ to be evaluated.


The authors would like to thank the Center for Companion Animal Health and technical staff of the UC Davis Companion Exotic Animal Medicine and Surgery Service for their technical support and help with this project. The authors would also like to thank Bob Mailloux for providing the animals for the study.

Literature Cited

1.  Divers SJ. Reptile diagnostic endoscopy and endosurgery. Vet Clin North Am Exot Anim Pract. 2010;13:217–242.

2.  Divers SJ, Stahl SJ, Camus A. Evaluation of diagnostic coelioscopy including liver and kidney biopsy in freshwater turtles (Trachemys scripta). J Zoo Wildl Med. 2010;41:677–687.

3.  Doneley B. Caring for the bearded dragon. In: Proceedings of the North American Veterinary Conference. 2006:1607–1611.

4.  Hernandez-Divers SJ, Stahl S, Hernandez-Divers SM, Read MR, Hanley CS, Martinez F, Cooper TL. Coelomic endoscopy of the green iguana (Iguana iguana). J Herpetol Med Surg. 2004;14:10–18.


Speaker Information
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Samuel Frei, Dr med vet
Pritchard Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital
University of California Davis
Davis, CA, USA

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