Evaluation of Coelioscopy Including Liver and Kidney Biopsies in Freshwater Turtles (Trachemys scripta)
American Association of Zoo Veterinarians Conference 2007
Stephen J. Hernandez-Divers1, BVetMed, DZooMed, MRCVS, DACZM; Scott J. Stahl2, DVM, DABVP(Avian); Sonia M. Hernandez-Divers1, DVM, DACZM; Kurt A. Buhlmann3, PhD
1Department of Small Animal Medicine and Surgery, College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Georgia, Athens, GA, USA; 2Stahl Exotic Animal Veterinary Services, Vienna, VA, USA; 3Savannah River Ecology Laboratory, University of Georgia, Aiken, SC, USA


Twenty-two freshwater sliders (Trachemys scripta) were anesthetized and placed in right lateral recumbency. Following aseptic precautions, a 3–4 mm scalpel incision was made in the middle of the left prefemoral fossa, and the subcutaneous tissues and coelomic membrane were bluntly penetrated using straight hemostats. Coelioscopy was performed using a 2.7-mm telescope system (Karl Storz Veterinary Endoscopy America Inc, Goleta, CA). The endoscopist scored the ease of entry into the coelom using a scale from 1 to 5 (1=impossible, taking more than 15 min; 2=difficult, taking between 11–15 min; 3=satisfactory, taking between 6–10 min; 4=good, taking between 2–5 min; 5=excellent, taking less than 2 min). Additionally, the endoscopist scored the ease of location and visualization of the heart, lung, stomach, small intestine, large intestine, spleen, liver, pancreas, adrenal, gonad, kidney and bladder using a scale of 1 to 5 (1=impossible; 2=difficult; 3=satisfactory; 4=good; 5=excellent). Following examination, endoscopic biopsies were collected from both the liver and kidney using 5 Fr (1.7 mm) endoscopic scissors and biopsy forceps. Following single suture skin closure, the procedure was repeated on the right side. All turtles recovered uneventfully, and five days later were euthanatized and subjected to necropsy examinations.

Left and right mean entry and endoscopy scores were >3 for all measured parameters, except spleen visualization which was consistently impossible to locate from the left side. No iatrogenic trauma was evident at necropsy. Coelioscopy provides a safe and effective means for examination and biopsy of coelomic viscera of turtles.


Speaker Information
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Stephen J. Hernandez-Divers, BVetMed, DZooMed, MRCVS, DACZM
Department of Small Animal Medicine & Surgery
College of Veterinary Medicine
University of Georgia
Athens, GA, USA

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