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An endoscopic method for identifying sex of hatchling Chinese box turtles and comparison of general versus local anesthesia for coelioscopy

Stephen J. Hernandez-Divers BVetMed, DZooMed, DACZM1, Scott J. Stahl DVM, DABVP2, and Raymond Farrell3
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  • 1 Section of Exotic Animal, Wildlife and Zoological Medicine, Department of Small Animal Medicine and Surgery, College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Georgia, Athens, GA 30602.
  • | 2 Stahl Exotic Animal Veterinary Services, 111A Center St S, Vienna, VA 22180.
  • | 3 Turtle Survival Alliance, 31 Fayette Ave, Staten Island, NY 10305.

Abstract

Objective—To establish a safe and effective endoscopic method for visualizing the gonads and identifying the sex of hatchling Chinese box turtles and to compare the effects of general versus local anesthesia during coelioscopy.

Design—Clinical trial.

Animals—58 hatchling Chinese box turtles (Cuora flavomarginata).

Procedures—Turtles were randomly assigned to be anesthetized with a mixture of ketamine, medetomidine, and morphine (n = 29) or to receive local anesthesia with lidocaine in the prefemoral region (29). Coelioscopy was performed with a rigid 1.9- or 2.7-mm telescope following insufflation with sterile lactated Ringer's solution. Ease of endoscopic sex identification and quality of anesthesia were scored. Body weights were recorded before and 7 and 14 days after surgery.

Results—Gonads were easily visualized and sex was easily identified in all 58 turtles without complications. Endoscopy scores and pre- and postoperative weights did not differ significantly between groups. However, anesthesia scores were significantly worse for animals that received local anesthesia alone, compared with those that underwent general anesthesia. All anesthetized turtles recovered within 21 minutes after administration of the reversal agents, atipamezole and naloxone.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Results suggested that coelioscopy with a rigid endoscope and lactated Ringer's solution for insufflation was a safe and effective method for identifying the sex of hatchling Chinese box turtles. General anesthesia was effective and effects were rapidly reversible; local anesthesia with lidocaine alone was considered insufficient for coelioscopy.

Abstract

Objective—To establish a safe and effective endoscopic method for visualizing the gonads and identifying the sex of hatchling Chinese box turtles and to compare the effects of general versus local anesthesia during coelioscopy.

Design—Clinical trial.

Animals—58 hatchling Chinese box turtles (Cuora flavomarginata).

Procedures—Turtles were randomly assigned to be anesthetized with a mixture of ketamine, medetomidine, and morphine (n = 29) or to receive local anesthesia with lidocaine in the prefemoral region (29). Coelioscopy was performed with a rigid 1.9- or 2.7-mm telescope following insufflation with sterile lactated Ringer's solution. Ease of endoscopic sex identification and quality of anesthesia were scored. Body weights were recorded before and 7 and 14 days after surgery.

Results—Gonads were easily visualized and sex was easily identified in all 58 turtles without complications. Endoscopy scores and pre- and postoperative weights did not differ significantly between groups. However, anesthesia scores were significantly worse for animals that received local anesthesia alone, compared with those that underwent general anesthesia. All anesthetized turtles recovered within 21 minutes after administration of the reversal agents, atipamezole and naloxone.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Results suggested that coelioscopy with a rigid endoscope and lactated Ringer's solution for insufflation was a safe and effective method for identifying the sex of hatchling Chinese box turtles. General anesthesia was effective and effects were rapidly reversible; local anesthesia with lidocaine alone was considered insufficient for coelioscopy.

Contributor Notes

Supported by Conservation International and Karl Storz Veterinary Endoscopy Inc.

The authors thank Jason Norman, Andrew Quesada, Kathy Cochran, Tammy Powel, Luke Williams, Steven Kubiski, Mike Homer, Rajesh Joshi, and Rob Miller for technical assistance.

Address correspondence to Dr. Hernandez-Divers.