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Endoscopic examination of snakes by access through an air sac
  1. V. Jekl, MVDr1 and
  2. Z. Knotek, MVDr, PhD1
  1. 1Avian and Exotic Animal Clinic, University of Veterinary and Pharmaceutical Sciences, 1-3 Palackého Street, 612 42 Brno, Czech Republic


Sixteen boa constrictors (Boa constrictor), three royal pythons (Python regius) and 15 Burmese pythons (Python molurus bivittatus) were examined endoscopically by access through the air sac. The snakes were immobilised in a ventral position using a half-open anaesthetic system with assisted ventilation and a mixture of isoflurane and oxygen. The rigid endoscope was introduced percutaneously and the internal structure of the lungs and the air sac, and the shape, size and external surface of the liver were visible in the cranial direction. In the smaller snakes the bifurcation and caudal part of the trachea could be viewed, provided the endoscope was positioned in a retrograde orientation. The caudal orientation of the endoscope made it possible to view the gall bladder and the size, shape and surface of the spleen. In some cases, the pancreas and the surface of the stomach and colon could be monitored. Endoscopy through the air sac also made it possible to check the major veins in the coelom. The snakes were monitored for at least 30 days after the intervention and no changes in their respiratory function or general health were observed.

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