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in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association
in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association

Abstract

OBJECTIVE

To describe a nonsurgical endoscopic technique for sex identification in Indonesian blue-tongued skinks (Tiliqua gigas) and to assess accuracy of contrast radiography of the hemipenile/hemiclitoral pouches.

ANIMALS

42 clinically healthy Indonesian blue-tongued skinks between 6 months and 3 years old and weighing between 22 and 550 g.

METHODS

Cystoscopy was performed under general anesthesia. Gonads were visualized through the transparency of the urinary bladder, and their gross morphology was described. Contrast was applied in the tail pouches before obtaining full-body radiographs. Two radiologists, blinded to the sex of the skink, evaluated the radiographs.

RESULTS

Cystoscopy was achieved in all 42 skinks. Visualization of the gonads through the urinary bladder was possible in 41 (98%; 95% CI, 87% to 99%) of the skinks, with 18 of them identified as males and 23 identified as females. Median procedure time was 60 seconds (range, 25 to 180 seconds) and was not associated with procedure order (–0.69; 95% CI, –1.83 to 0.45) or with the weight (0.02 g; 95% CI, –0.07 to 1.0) or the identified sex (11.7; 95% CI, –15.07 to 38.45) of the skink. Radiographs had a sensitivity of 69.6% (95% CI, 47.1% to 86.8%) and a specificity of 75.0% (47.6% to 92.7%) to identify female skinks. All the skinks recovered uneventfully.

CLINICAL RELEVANCE

Cystoscopic sex identification is feasible in Indonesian blue-tongued skinks of various age and size. Considering the difficulty in identifying their sex otherwise, this technique could provide a significant improvement in the veterinary care of this species. In this population, contrast radiographs showed limited accuracy for sex identification.

Open access
in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association