Echocardiographic and radiographic findings in a cohort of healthy adult green iguanas (Iguana iguana) Academic Article uri icon


  • OBJECTIVES: To describe characteristics of echocardiography and cranial coelomic radiography in a cohort of iguanas. ANIMALS: Twenty apparently healthy adult green iguanas (Iguana iguana) from a reptile sanctuary. METHODS: Physical examination, radiography, two-dimensional and color Doppler echocardiography were performed to assess cardiac structures and function, and any related normal or abnormal findings were recorded. RESULTS: Echocardiographic examination was possible without sedation and allowed visualization of the great vessels, atria, and ventricle. Some structures could not be evaluated in a minority of the iguanas due to individual differences in bony conformation and imaging quality. Suspected abnormal echocardiographic findings in 3 iguanas included pericardial effusion (n = 1) and enlarged caudal vena cava and/or sinus venosus (n = 2). Objective measurements were repeatable as assessed by within-subject coefficient of variation, and reliable as assessed by intra-observer intraclass correlation coefficient. Left atrial and ventricular measurements were significantly correlated with body weight. Valve regurgitation was common, with atrioventricular valve regurgitation present in 53% (9/17) and aortic or pulmonic valve regurgitation in 71% (12/17) of otherwise normal iguanas. A heart murmur was not appreciated during examination of any of the iguanas. Heart size cannot be measured radiographically due to superimposition and silhouetting of other coelomic structures. Echocardiographic or radiographic findings consistent with mineralization of the great vessels were present in 76% of iguanas (13/17). CONCLUSIONS: Echocardiography in iguanas is well tolerated without sedation and allowed both subjective evaluation and structural measurements. Valve regurgitation and great vessel mineralization were commonly observed in this cohort of apparently healthy adult iguanas.

author list (cited authors)

  • Gustavsen, K. A., Saunders, A. B., Young, B. D., Winter, R. L., & Hoppes, S. M.

citation count

  • 5

publication date

  • September 2014