Radiology and computed tomography are the most commonly available diagnostic tools for the diagnosis of pathologies affecting the head and skull in veterinary practice. Nevertheless, accurate interpretation of radiographic and CT studies requires a thorough knowledge of the gross and the cross-sectional anatomy. Despite the increasing success of reptiles as pets, only a few reports over their normal imaging features are currently available. The aim of this study is to describe the normal cadaveric, radiographic and computed tomographic features of the heads of the green iguana, tegu and bearded dragon.
6 adult green iguanas, 4 tegus, 3 bearded dragons, and, the adult cadavers of : 4 green iguana, 4 tegu, 4 bearded dragon were included in the study. 2 cadavers were dissected following a stratigraphic approach and 2 cadavers were cross-sectioned for each species. These latter specimens were stored in a freezer (−20°C) until completely frozen. Transversal sections at 5mm intervals were obtained by means of an electric band-saw. Each section was cleaned and photographed on both sides. Radiographs of the head of each subject were obtained. Pre- and post- contrast computed tomographic studies of the head were performed on all the live animals. CT images were displayed in both bone and soft tissue windows. Individual anatomic structures were first recognised and labelled on the anatomic images and then matched on radiographs and CT images. Radiographic and CT images of the skull provided good detail of the bony structures in all species. In CT contrast medium injection enabled good detail of the soft tissues to be obtained in the iguana whereas only the eye was clearly distinguishable from the remaining soft tissues in both the tegu and the bearded dragon.
The results provide an atlas of the normal anatomical and in vivo radiographic and computed tomographic features of the heads of lizards, and this may be useful in interpreting any imaging modality involving these species.
Keywords: Green iguana, Tegu, Bearded dragon, Computed tomography, Radiography