Use of Vascular Access Ports in Conscious Green Iguanas (Iguana iguana) to Determine Arterial Blood Gas Parameters
American Association of Zoo Veterinarians Conference 2005

Jennifer C. Hess1, DVM; Kurt A. Grimm2, DVM, MS, PhD, DACVA, DACVP; G. John Benson2, DVM, MS, DACVA; William A. Tranquilli2, DVM, MS, DACVA; Ragenia Sarr2, CVT; Peter D. Constable2, BVSc, MS, PhD, DACVIM

1Department of Small Animal Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, Texas A&M University, College Station, TX, USA; 2Department of Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Illinois, Urbana, IL, USA


Vascular access ports (VAP) have been used for arterial blood collection in non-lacertilians. We describe a technique for VAP placement in seven 1 kg adult green iguanas and report the arterial blood gas values from five iguanas. The blood samples were obtained using the ports while the animals were manually restrained.

VAPs were purchased from Access Technologies in Skokie, IL, USA and consisted of a Sla port with a Hydrocoat catheter (size 3.5 French). Using sterile technique, a 1.5-cm incision was made on the right-lateral neck. Blunt dissection ventral to the external jugular vein exposed the internal and external carotid arteries. The catheter was inserted into the right internal carotid artery and then guided to the common carotid artery. The other end of the catheter was connected to a port located caudal-dorsal to the ipsilateral scapula. The skin was closed, and the port was flushed twice a week with 0.2 ml heparinized 0.9% saline. Postoperative difficulties with the VAP included port disconnection (n=1), inability to aspirate blood after a few weeks (n=2), and infection (n=1).

The iguanas were breathing room air prior to and during blood collection at an ambient temperature of 32°C. From the five healthy iguanas with a functional VAP, the blood pH, PCO2, PO2, HCO3-, BE, Na+, K+, Cl-, Ca++, Anion Gap, PCV, and TP (37°C) were 7.45±0.07; 36.5±6.5 mm Hg, 93.5±5.5 mm Hg, 24.4±2.2 mmol/L, 0.2±2.2 mmol/L, 158.6±3.6 mmol/L, 3.0±0.5 mmol/L, 133±5 mmol/L, 5.4±0.4 mmol/L, 4.6±1.3 mEq/L, 28.8±5.7%, 4.8±1.3 g/dl respectively (mean ± SD). Except for the low anion gap, these values are similar to the normal values for mammals. In conclusion, VAPs can be used to collect arterial blood in conscious green iguanas.

Reprinted with permission: American College of Veterinary Anesthesiologists 29th Annual Meeting, Phoenix, AZ, 19–25 October 2004. Veterinary Anaesthesia and Analgesia. 32(4):236–248.


Speaker Information
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Jennifer C. Hess, DVM
Department of Small Animal Clinical Sciences
College of Veterinary Medicine
Texas A&M University
College Station, TX, USA

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