Freshwater turtle species are suffering from anthropocentric-caused population declines, making preservation of professionally managed populations increasingly important. Turtles under professional care have an increased risk to develop hepatic lipidosis, potentially resulting in early death. Computed tomography can provide an antemortem screening for increased fatty liver composition. A goal of this prospective analytical cross-sectional study was to assess the hepatic attenuation measured as Hounsfield units (HU) in a wild population of a freshwater turtle species, and then compare hepatic HU to freshwater turtles under professional care. Ninety-five wild Blanding's turtles (BT; Emydoidea blandingii) as well as 10 Vietnamese Pond turtles (VPT; Mauremys annamensis) and six Northern Snake-Necked turtles (NSNT; Chelodina oblonga) under professional care underwent CT with quantification of hepatic HU. Hepatic HU were correlated to serum chemistry findings and the presence of follicles was recorded in BT. The mean (±SD) hepatic attenuation for 95 wild BT was 97.5 HU ±9.6. There were significant differences in hepatic attenuation among VPT, NSNT, and BT, with median HU values (range) of 5.39 HU (–6.45 to 61.50), 71.74 HU (59.44-94.49), and 95.43 HU (74.41-124.56), respectively. Aspartate aminotransferase (AST) values had a weak negative correlation to HU with a coefficient of –0.85 (P <.001). The hepatic attenuation was significantly higher for individuals undergoing folliculogenesis (P =.007). The decreased HU values were significantly negatively correlated with AST values. Findings supported the use of CT as an aid for guiding future management practices in freshwater turtles.
- Northern Snake-Necked turtles
- Vietnamese Pond turtles
- hepatic lipidosis
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