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Diagnosis and treatment of urolithiasis in client-owned chelonians: 40 cases (1987–2012)

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  • 1 William R. Pritchard Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of California-Davis, Davis, CA 95616.
  • | 2 Department of Medicine and Epidemiology, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of California-Davis, Davis, CA 95616.
  • | 3 Department of Medicine and Epidemiology, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of California-Davis, Davis, CA 95616.
  • | 4 G. V. Ling Urinary Stone Analysis Laboratory, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of California-Davis, Davis, CA 95616.
  • | 5 Department of Medicine and Epidemiology, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of California-Davis, Davis, CA 95616.
  • | 6 Department of Medicine and Epidemiology, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of California-Davis, Davis, CA 95616.
  • | 7 G. V. Ling Urinary Stone Analysis Laboratory, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of California-Davis, Davis, CA 95616.

Abstract

Objective—To calculate the prevalence of urolithiasis in client-owned chelonians examined at a veterinary teaching hospital and to describe the clinical signs, diagnosis, and treatment of urolithiasis in chelonians.

Design—Retrospective case series.

Animals—40 client-owned turtles and tortoises with urolithiasis.

Procedures—The medical record database of a veterinary teaching hospital was searched from 1987 through 2012 for records of client-owned chelonians with urolithiasis. The prevalence of urolithiasis was calculated for client-owned chelonians examined at the hospital. Signalment and physical examination, hematologic, biochemical, urinalysis, diagnostic imaging, treatment, and necropsy results were described.

Results—The mean prevalence of urolithiasis in client-owned chelonians for the study period was 5.1 cases/100 client-owned chelonians examined. Thirty-one of the 40 chelonians were desert tortoises. Only 5 of 40 chelonians had physical examination abnormalities associated with the urogenital tract. Surgery was performed on 17 chelonians; 5 developed postoperative complications, and 4 of those died. Necropsy was performed on 18 chelonians, and urolithiasis contributed to the decision to euthanize or was the cause of death for 9. Uroliths from 13 chelonians were analyzed, and all were composed of 100% urate.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Results indicated chelonians with urolithiasis have various clinical signs and physical examination findings that may or may not be associated with the urinary tract. Hematologic, biochemical, and urinalysis findings were nonspecific for diagnosis of urolithiasis. Many chelonians died or were euthanized as a consequence of urolithiasis, which suggested the disease should be identified early and appropriately treated.

Contributor Notes

Dr. Weber's present address is American Association for the Advancement of Science, 1200 New York Ave NW, Washington, DC 20005.

Dr. Keller's present address is University Hills Animal Hospital, 4175 E Warren Ave, Denver, CO 80222.

Presented as a poster at the 44th Annual American Association of Zoo Veterinarians Conference, Oakland, Calif, October 2012.

Address correspondence to Dr. Hawkins (mghawkins@ucdavis.edu).