Acta Vet. Brno 2016, 85: 367-370

Description of cloacoscopy in the loggerhead sea turtle (Caretta caretta)

Filippo Spadola1, Manuel Morici1, Matteo Oliveri2, Zdeněk Knotek2

1University of Messina, Department of Veterinary Science, Messina, Italy
2University of Veterinary and Pharmaceutical Sciences Brno, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Avian and Exotic Animal Clinic, Brno, Czech Republic

Received September 29, 2015
Accepted December 2, 2016

The aim of the study was to describe cloacoscopy in the loggerhead turtle (Caretta caretta) and to evaluate its efficacy in clinical practice. Cloacoscopy was performed on 31 turtles, 23 females and 8 males. Thirty minutes before anaesthesia, meloxicam (0.4 mg/kg) was administered intramuscularly. Turtles were anaesthetised with a combination of 0.04 mg/kg dexmedetomidine and 4 mg/kg ketamine administered intramuscularly. Cloacoscopy was performed with a diagnostic telescope (10 mm diameter, 30 cm long, 0°, with an operating sheath) or with a flexible colonoscope (13 mm diameter, 160 cm long). Turtles were placed in dorsal recumbence and endoscope was inserted through the vent. In the distal part of the proctodeum, phallus or clitoris were easily visualized. A finger and thumb were placed around the vent to act as a valve in order to control the fluid infusion. Flushing the cloaca with warm saline and 0.6% lidocaine allowed clear view. The urethral orifice was located centrally within the urogenital sinus. Further proximally, the slit of the urodeum with the distal sphincter of the colon could be visualized. Passing gently through the urethral orifice allowed direct visualization of the urinary bladder. After withdrawing and re-directing the endoscope into the coprodeum, the terminal part of the intestine was reached. From 31 loggerhead turtles examined, fishing lines were found in 23 animals. Cloacoscopy proved to be a feasible diagnostic method and it is suggested as a routine diagnostic tool for clinical assessment of loggerhead turtle patients.


This project received funding from the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, University of Veterinary and Pharmaceutical Sciences Brno (IGA 1650, 2014).


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