To measure plasma and tissue activities of alkaline phosphatase, alanine aminotransferase, aspartate aminotransferase (AST), creatine kinase, and γ-glutamyltransferase in 2 snake species.
6 banded water snakes (Nerodia fasciata) and 6 diamondback water snakes (Nerodia rhombifer).
Blood was collected via the ventral tail vein to measure plasma enzyme activities. Animals were then euthanized, and samples of 9 tissues were collected from each snake: skeletal muscle, cardiac muscle, liver, spleen, lung, kidney, testicle, pancreas, and gallbladder. Tissues were frozen for 30 days, then homogenized and processed. Supernatants were collected and analyzed within 24 hours of processing. A linear mixed model was used to determine differences in enzyme activity between tissues and species and assess interactions between tissues and species.
Activities of all enzymes were found to differ significantly among tissues. There were also significant differences between species for all enzyme activities, except AST activity. The kidney had the highest alanine aminotransferase and γ-glutamyltransferase activities. Alkaline phosphatase activity was significantly highest in liver and kidney tissues than in other tissue. Creatine kinase activity was highest in skeletal muscle, followed by cardiac muscle and kidney. AST activity was present in all tissues evaluated, but was highest in liver, kidney, and cardiac muscle in both species.
Results reinforced the importance of characterizing the origin of tissue enzymes in reptiles to improve our understanding of biochemistry results and highlighted the differences that can exist in tissue enzyme activities between closely related species.
To establish an echocardiographic technique and 2-dimensional reference parameters for southern stingrays (Hypanus americanus). A second objective was to compare echocardiographic measurements obtained from animals of different sex, size, environment, handling technique, and position.
84 presumed healthy, wild, semiwild, and aquarium-housed southern stingrays.
Animals, anesthetized and manually restrained, were positioned in dorsal recumbency, and echocardiography was performed. A subset of this population was also imaged in ventral recumbency for comparison.
Echocardiography was feasible, and reference parameters were established for this species. While some standard measurements could not be assessed due to body habitus, all valves, chambers, and the conus were clearly visualized in the majority of animals. Statistical significance was reached for some variables when comparing animals from different environments and handling methods, but these differences were not considered clinically relevant. The data were therefore separated into 2 subsets of echocardiographic reference parameters based on disc width since some of the measurements were dependent on body size. This approach mostly separated the sexes due to strong sexual dimorphism.
Limited information is available regarding cardiac disease in elasmobranchs; most of the available information on cardiac physiology focuses on a few shark species. Two-dimensional echocardiography is a noninvasive tool utilized to evaluate cardiac structure and functionality. Southern stingrays are one of the most commonly displayed elasmobranchs in public aquaria. This article expands on the growing body of information regarding veterinary care in elasmobranchs and provides clinicians and researchers with another diagnostic modality to utilize in screening for health/disease.