OBJECTIVE To determine anatomic reference points for 4 turtle species and to evaluate data on relative anatomic dimensions, signal intensities (SIs), and position of selected organs within the coelomic cavity by use of MRI.
ANIMALS 3 turtle cadavers (1 red-eared slider [Trachemys scripta elegans], 1 yellow-bellied slider [Trachemys scripta scripta], and 1 Coastal plain cooter [Pseudemys concinna floridana]) and 63 live adult turtles (30 red-eared sliders, 20 yellow-bellied sliders, 5 Coastal plain cooters, and 8 hieroglyphic river cooters [Pseudemys concinna hieroglyphica]).
PROCEDURES MRI and necropsy were performed on the 3 turtle cadavers. Physical examination, hematologic evaluation, and whole-body radiography were performed on the 63 live turtles. Turtles were sedated, and MRI in transverse, sagittal, and dorsal planes was used to measure organ dimensions, position within the coelomic cavity, and SIs. Body positioning after sedation was standardized with the head, neck, limbs, and tail positioned in maximum extension.
RESULTS Measurements of the heart, liver, gallbladder, and kidneys in sagittal, transverse, and dorsal planes; relative position of those organs within the coelom; and SIs of the kidneys and liver were obtained with MRI and provided anatomic data for these 4 turtle species.
CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL RELEVANCE MRI was a valuable tool for determining the position, dimensions, and SIs of selected organs. Measurement of organs in freshwater chelonians was achievable with MRI. Further studies are needed to establish reference values for anatomic structures in turtles. Results reported here may serve as guidelines and aid in clinical interpretation of MRI images for these 4 species.