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To compare a ventral and a left lateral endoscopic approach to coelioscopy in bearded dragons (Pogona vitticeps).
18 adult bearded dragons.
In a randomized crossover design involving 2 surgical approaches, anesthetized bearded dragons first underwent coelioscopy with a ventral approach (left lateral of midline next to the umbilicus; animal positioned in dorsal recumbency) or left lateral approach (intercostal; animal positioned in right lateral recumbency) and then with the alternate approach. A 2.7-mm × 18-cm, 30° oblique telescope with a 4.8-mm operating sheath and CO2 insufflation at 2 to 5 mm Hg were used. Ease of entry into the coelom and ease of visual examination of visceral structures were scored.
Both approaches were straightforward, with the left lateral approach requiring significantly more time than the ventral approach. Scores for ease of visual examination for the heart, lungs, liver, stomach, intestines, pancreas, gallbladder, left kidney, gonads, and fat body were good to excellent. Visual examination of the spleen and adrenal glands was difficult in most animals via either approach. The left kidney, testis, and vas deferens were easier to see with the left lateral approach, whereas the pancreas in females and gallbladder in both sexes were easier to see with the ventral approach. All bearded dragons recovered without complications from the procedures, except for one with nephritis, renal gout, and hepatic necrosis.
CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL RELEVANCE
Both coelioscopy approaches could be safely and effectively used in bearded dragons. Choice of approach should be based on the coelomic structures requiring evaluation.