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1 December 2018 Ophidian Cloacal Scent Gland Impaction and Surgical Excision: A Case Series in Six Different Snake Species
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Abstract

Members of the suborder Serpentes possess paired scent glands located caudal to the vent. In this retrospective case series (n = 6), four colubrids, a boid, and a viperid presented with cloacal scent gland impaction. The colubrids were greater than 17 yr old, had both glands initially or eventually affected (4/4, 100%), and most (3/4, 75%) were females. The python (Python regius) was a 10 yr old male, and the viper (Agkistrodon contortrix pictigaster) was of undetermined age and male. In the non-colubrid snakes, gland impaction was unilateral. Infection (4/6, 66.7%), mineralization (1/6, 16.7%), and neoplasia (1/6, 16.7%; fibrosarcoma) were associated with the gland impactions in the colubrids and python; a colubrid with neoplasia also had a concurrent bacterial infection and the cause of impaction was not determined in the viper (1/6, 16.7%). Medical management was attempted in 1/6 (16.7%) of the cases but was unsuccessful. Overall, complete surgical excision was realized in 9 of 10 (90%) affected glands. Postoperative infection of the surgery site was encountered in two (33.3%) snakes. The colubrids died 6 wk to 5 yr postoperatively of causes unrelated to the surgery. No complications occurred in a 5 yr follow-up of the viper, whereas an impaction recurred in association with residual glandular tissue and had to be surgically removed in the python 2 yr after surgery. Interspecific differences, age, husbandry, and concomitant pathological processes are suggested to be potential predisposing factors to developing a cloacal scent gland impaction, but additional cases supported by a thorough husbandry and medical history are needed to better delineate these possible associations.

Émilie L. Couture, Nancy P. Lung, Stéphane Lair, and Shannon T. Ferrell "Ophidian Cloacal Scent Gland Impaction and Surgical Excision: A Case Series in Six Different Snake Species," Journal of Herpetological Medicine and Surgery 28(3-4), 81-88, (1 December 2018). https://doi.org/10.5818/17-12-137.1
Published: 1 December 2018
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