Survey of ophthalmic anterior segment findings and intraocular pressure in 95 North American box turtles (Terrapene spp.)

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OBJECTIVE: To describe the ophthalmic biomicroscopy findings and intraocular pressures (IOP) in a captive population of box turtles and to determine whether a relationship exists between body morphometrics or health status and IOP. PROCEDURES: Hundred and three box turtles (69 Gulf coast, 24 three-toed, one ornate, one eastern, and eight unidentified) were triaged into three different color-coded groups: green (healthy), yellow (abnormal physical examination with no need for immediate care), and red (immediate care required). Both eyes were evaluated by rebound tonometry and slit-lamp biomicroscopy. Body weight and morphometric data were recorded. RESULTS: Intraocular pressures measurements were available for 190 eyes, slit-lamp biomicroscopy was available for 170 eyes, and morphometric data were available for 81 turtles. IOP in Gulf coast turtles (138 eyes) was 6.7 ± 1.4 mmHg OU. IOP in three-toed turtles (48 eyes) was 8.3 ± 1.5 mmHg OU, which was significantly higher than in Gulf coast turtles (P < 0.0001). No significant IOP differences were noted between genders in both subspecies (P = 0.768). There was a correlation between IOP and health status in three-toed turtles only. There was a mild negative correlation between morphometrics and IOP in Gulf coast and three-toed turtles. Fifteen of 87 turtles had unilateral corneal or lenticular opacities; 3/87 had bilateral corneal or lenticular disease; and 3/87 had adnexal abnormalities. CONCLUSIONS: Different subspecies of box turtles have different normal intraocular pressures as measured by rebound tonometry, which was influenced by the animals' health status in one subspecies. Some morphometric parameters were found to be associated with IOP. Box turtles are often affected with ophthalmic abnormalities of unknown clinical significance.

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Veterinary ophthalmology

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