Diagnostic Sensitivity Of Ultrasound, Radiography And Computed Tomography For Gender Determination In Four Species Of Lizards

Di Ianni F, Volta A, Pelizzone I, et al.

Veterinary Radiology & Ultrasound 2015;56:40-45.

Gender determination is frequently requested by reptile breeders, especially for species with poor or absent sexual dimorphism. The aims of the current study were to describe techniques and diagnostic sensitivities of ultrasound, radiography, and computed tomography for gender determination (identification of hemipenes) in four species of lizards. Nineteen lizards of known sex, belonging to four different species (Pogona vitticeps, Uromastyx aegyptia, Tiliqua scincoides, Gerrhosaurus major) were prospectively enrolled. With informed owner consent, ultrasound, noncontrast CT, contrast radiography, and contrast CT (with contrast medium administered into the cloaca) were performed in conscious animals. Imaging studies were reviewed by three different operators, each unaware of the gender of the animals and of the results of the other techniques. The lizard was classified as a male when hemipenes were identified. Nineteen lizards were included in the study, 10 females and nine males. The hemipenes were seen on ultrasound in only two male lizards, and appeared as oval hypoechoic structures. Radiographically, hemipenes filled with contrast medium appeared as spindle-shaped opacities. Noncontrast CT identified hemipenes in only two lizards, and these appeared as spindle-shaped kinked structures with hyperattenuating content consistent with smegma. Hemipenes were correctly identified in all nine males using contrast CT (accuracy of 100%). Accuracy of contrast radiography was excellent (94.7%). Accuracy of ultrasound and of noncontrast CT was poor (64.3% and 63.1%, respectively). Findings from the current study supported the use of contrast CT or contrast radiography for gender determination in lizards.