Comparison of ophthalmic measurements obtained via high-frequency ultrasound imaging in four species of snakes

Steven R. Hollingsworth Department of Surgical and Radiological Sciences, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of California, Davis, CA 95616.

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Bradford J. Holmberg Department of Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of California, Davis, CA 95616.

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Anneliese Strunk Department of Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of California, Davis, CA 95616.

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Alicia D. Oakley Department of Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of California, Davis, CA 95616.

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Leann M. Sickafoose Department of Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of California, Davis, CA 95616.

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Philip H. Kass Department of Population Health and Reproduction, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of California, Davis, CA 95616.

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Abstract

Objective—To measure the dimensions of the eyes of living snakes by use of high-frequency ultrasound imaging and correlate those measurements with age, length, and weight.

Animals—14 clinically normal snakes.

Procedures—Species, age, length, weight, and horizontal spectacle diameter were recorded, and each snake underwent physical and ophthalmic examinations; ultrasonographic examination of both eyes was performed by use of a commercially available ultrasound unit and a 50-MHz transducer. Ultrasonographic measurements included spectacle thickness, subspectacular space depth, corneal thickness, anterior chamber depth, lens thickness, vitreous cavity depth, and globe length. All measurements were made along the visual axis.

Results—2 corn snakes, 5 California king snakes, 1 gopher snake, and 6 ball pythons were examined. There were no significant differences within or between the species with regard to mean spectacle thickness, corneal thickness, or subspectacular space depth. However, mean horizontal spectacle diameter, anterior chamber depth, and axial globe length differed among the 4 species; for each measurement, ball pythons had significantly larger values than California king snakes.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Spectacle thickness, subspectacular space depth, and corneal thickness were similar among the species of snake examined and did not vary significantly with age, length, or weight. Measurements of these dimensions can potentially serve as baseline values to evaluate snakes of these species with a retained spectacle, subspectacular abscess, or subspectacular fluid accumulation. Anterior chamber depth and axial length appeared variable among species, but axial length did not vary with age, length, or weight in the species studied.

Abstract

Objective—To measure the dimensions of the eyes of living snakes by use of high-frequency ultrasound imaging and correlate those measurements with age, length, and weight.

Animals—14 clinically normal snakes.

Procedures—Species, age, length, weight, and horizontal spectacle diameter were recorded, and each snake underwent physical and ophthalmic examinations; ultrasonographic examination of both eyes was performed by use of a commercially available ultrasound unit and a 50-MHz transducer. Ultrasonographic measurements included spectacle thickness, subspectacular space depth, corneal thickness, anterior chamber depth, lens thickness, vitreous cavity depth, and globe length. All measurements were made along the visual axis.

Results—2 corn snakes, 5 California king snakes, 1 gopher snake, and 6 ball pythons were examined. There were no significant differences within or between the species with regard to mean spectacle thickness, corneal thickness, or subspectacular space depth. However, mean horizontal spectacle diameter, anterior chamber depth, and axial globe length differed among the 4 species; for each measurement, ball pythons had significantly larger values than California king snakes.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Spectacle thickness, subspectacular space depth, and corneal thickness were similar among the species of snake examined and did not vary significantly with age, length, or weight. Measurements of these dimensions can potentially serve as baseline values to evaluate snakes of these species with a retained spectacle, subspectacular abscess, or subspectacular fluid accumulation. Anterior chamber depth and axial length appeared variable among species, but axial length did not vary with age, length, or weight in the species studied.

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