Case Description—3 female African spurred tortoises (Geochelone sulcata) of various body weights (0.22, 0.77, and 2.86 kg [0.48, 1.69, and 6.29 lb]) were examined because of reduced food intake and lack of fecal output. Owners reported intermittent tenesmus in 2 of the tortoises.
Clinical Findings—Physical examinations revealed no clinically important abnormalities in the tortoises. Cloacal calculi were diagnosed on the basis of radiography and cloacoscopy in all 3 tortoises. One tortoise had another calculus in the urinary bladder.
Treatment and Outcome—Tortoises were anesthetized, and cloacal calculi were removed by use of a cutting burr (plain-fissure cutting burr and a soft tissue protector mounted to a dental handpiece that had a low-speed motor and a straight nose cone) and warm water irrigation with endoscopic guidance. Complete removal of calculus fragments was achieved by use of forceps and irrigation. In 1 tortoise, removal of the cloacal calculus was staged (2 separate procedures). In another tortoise, a second cloacal calculus (which had been located in the urinary bladder during the first examination) was successfully removed 25 days after removal of the first calculus. All 3 tortoises recovered uneventfully, and serious complications secondary to removal of the cloacal calculi were not detected.
Clinical Relevance—Cloacoscopy combined with the use of a low-speed dental drill and warm water irrigation should be considered a simple, safe, and nontraumatic treatment option for removal of obstructive cloacal calculi in tortoises.