The objective of this study was to establish a safe and effective endoscopic technique for the examination of coelomic viscera and for the collection of liver and kidney biopsy specimens from turtles by use of a 2.7-mm rigid endoscopy system that is commonly available in zoologic veterinary practice. Twenty-two adult freshwater turtles (Trachemys scripta) were anesthetized for both left and right coelioscopic examinations. Ease of entry and organ visualization were scored, and liver and kidney biopsy specimens were collected from each turtle by use of 1.7-mm endoscopic biopsy forceps. Biopsy samples were evaluated histologically for quality and crush artifact. Five days after surgery, all turtles were euthanatized and underwent full necropsy examination. For all 22 turtles, left and right mean entry and visualization scores were satisfactory to excellent for all measured parameters except spleen because the spleen was impossible to locate from the left side. No iatrogenic trauma was evident, and biopsy specimens were consistent with tissues collected at necropsy. Liver biopsies suffered from greater crush artifact, compared with kidney biopsies. By use of a 2.7-mm rigid endoscopy system, coelioscopy, liver and kidney biopsy procedures can be performed safely, swiftly, and with ease in turtles. Biopsy specimens obtained by this technique are suitable for histologic examination. Endoscopy is recommended for the examination and biopsy of coelomic viscera in chelonians.
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