Here are some recent wildlife surgery references and abstracts from the published scientific lieterature

Minimally Invasive Surgery in Wildlife

Laparoscopic cholecystectomy under field conditions in Asiatic black bears (Ursus
thibetanus) rescued from illegal bile farming in Vietnam.
Pizzi R, Cracknell J, David S, Laughlin D, Broadis N, Rouffignac M, Duong DV, Girling S, Hunt M.Vet Rec. 2011 Oct 29;169(18):469. Epub 2011 Sep 6.
Nine adult Asiatic black bears (Ursus thibetanus) previously rescued from illegal
bile farming in Vietnam were examined via abdominal ultrasound and exploratory laparoscopy for liver and gall bladder pathology. Three bears demonstrated notable gall bladder pathology, and minimally invasive cholecystectomies were
performed using an open laparoscopic access approach, standard 10 to 12 mmHg carbon dioxide pneumoperitoneum and a four-port technique. A single bear required insertion of an additional 5 mm port and use of a flexible liver retractor due to the presence of extensive adhesions between the gall bladder and quadrate and left and right medial liver lobes. The cystic duct was dissected free and this and the cystic artery were ligated by means of extracorporeal tied Meltzer knot sutures. The gall bladder was dissected free of the liver by blunt and sharp dissection, aided by 3.8 MHz monopolar radiosurgery. Bears that have had open abdominal cholecystectomies are reported as taking four to six weeks before a return to normal activity postoperatively. In contrast, these bears demonstrated rapid unremarkable healing, and were allowed unrestricted access to outside enclosures to climb trees, swim and interact normally with other bears within seven days of surgery.

Laparoscopic-Assisted Cryptorchidectomy in an Adult Reindeer (Rangifer tarandus)
R Pizzi, S Girling, A Bell, A Tjolle, D Brown, C Devine. Veterinary Medicine International, vol. 2011, Article ID 131368, 4 pages, 2011. doi:10.4061/2011/131368
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A successful laparoscopic-assisted cryptorchidectomy is reported in a novel species, the reindeer (Rangifer tarandus). The procedure was performed in an 8-year-old adult positioned in dorsolateral oblique recumbency, with an open approach midline subumbilical placement of the primary 10 mm optical port and carbon dioxide insufflation at 12 mmHg. Three 5 mm instrument ports were inserted under visualization in the left caudal abdomen as the retained testicle was localized to the internal inguinal ring. A 5 mm flexible organ retractor was used to assist in localizing the retained testicle. This procedure provided a less invasive alternative to open laparotomy. The authors are unaware of any published reports of laparoscopy in reindeer, or of laparoscopic assisted cryptorchidectomy in deer species.

Laparoscopic ovariohysterectomy in a brown bear (Ursus arctos) with pyometra.
K. G. Friedrich, L. Pazzaglia, M. Valente, G. Costamagna, Proceedings of the International Conference on Diseases of Zoo and Wild Animals, 1999, pp.85-89.
In September 2008 an adult female brown bear (Ursus arctos), one of the five brown bears living in the bear area of the Rome Zoological Garden (Fondazione Bioparco di Roma) showed apathy and slight purulent discharge from the reproductive tract. The diagnosed pyometra was approached by laparoscopic ovariohysterectomy. The access to the abdominal cavity was performed through 4 access ports (trocars) and the organs were manipulated with endosurgery instruments and by moving the animal into the Trendelenburg's position and laterally. Rapid and exact dissection and haemostasis of the blood vessels in the mesovarium and in the mesometrium was possible with the use of a harmonic scalpel (Harmonic Scalpel LCSC-5, Harmonic Scalpel, Ethicon Endosurgery, U.S.A) and ultrasonic generator (Harmonic Scalpel, Ethicon Endosurgery, U.S.A.). Time of surgery was limited to 51 minutes. The retrieval of the dissected reproductive tract was achieved through one enlarged access port (35 mm) performing a mini-laparotomy. The recovery of the animal was uneventful and the day after the bear was released again in the exhibit. In consequence, the laparoscopic surgical approach can be performed safely not only in healthy animals as described in literature previously, but also in the case of an old animal in critical health conditions. General advantages of minimally invasive surgery are reduced tissue trauma, less pain and short recovery after surgery, with reduced postoperative care requirements.

Post-mortem evaluation of left flank laparoscopic access in an adult female giraffe (Giraffa camelopardalis)
R. Pizzi, J. Cracknell, L. Dalrymple, Veterinary Medicine International, 2010, doi: 10.4061/2010/789465
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There are still few reports of laparoscopy in megavertebrates. The giraffe (Giraffa camelopardalis) is the tallest land mammal, and the largest ruminant species. An 18 year old multiparous female hybrid giraffe, weighing 650kg was euthanized for chronic health problems, and left flank laparoscopy performed less than 30 minutes after death. Safe primary access was achieved under visualisation using an optical bladed trocar (Visiport Plus, Tyco healthcare UK Ltd) without prior abdominal insufflation. A left paralumbar fossa approach allowed access to the spleen, rumen, left kidney, and intestines, but did not allow access to the reproductive tract which in non-gravid females is intrapelvic in nature.

Surgical technique for tubal ligation in white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus).
MacLean RA, Mathews NE, Grove DM, Frank ES, Paul-Murphy J.J Zoo Wildl Med. 2006 Sep;37(3):354-60.
Surgical tubal ligation was used to sterilize urban free-ranging white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) as a methodology of a larger study investigating the influences of intact, sterile females on population dynamics and behavior. Deer were either trapped in clover traps (n = 55) and induced with an i.m. injection of xylazine and tiletamine/zolazepam or induced by a similar protocol by dart (n = 12), then intubated and maintained on isoflurane in oxygen. Over 3 yr, individual female deer (n = 103) were captured in Highland Park, Illinois, with a subset of females sterilized using tubal ligation by ventral laparotomy (n = 63). Other sterilization procedures included tubal transection by ventral (n = 1) or right lateral (n = 2) laparoscopy and ovariohysterectomy by ventral laparotomy (n = 1). One mortality (1/ 67, 1.5%) of a doe with an advanced pregnancy was attributed to a lengthy right lateral laparoscopic surgery that was converted to a right lateral laparotomy. The initial surgical modality of laparoscopy was altered in favor of a ventral laparotomy for simplification of the project and improved surgical access in late-term gravid does. Laparotomy techniques included oviductal ligation and transection (n = 14), application of an oviductal mechanical clip (n = 9), ligation and partial salpingectomy (n = 40), and ovariohysterectomy (n = 1). As of 2 yr poststerilization, no surgical does were observed with fawns, indicating that these procedures provide sterilization with low mortality in urban white-tailed deer.

Anesthesia and use of a sling system to facilitate transvaginal laparoscopy in a black rhinoceros (Diceros bicornis minor).
Portas TJ, Hermes R, Bryant BR, Göritz F, Thorne AR, Hildebrandt TB.J Zoo Wildl Med. 2006 Jun;37(2):202-5.
Transvaginal laparoscopy to allow assessment of ovarian pathology and to attempt retrieval of oocytes was facilitated in a captive, female black rhinoceros (Diceros bicornis minor) through the use of a sling on two separate occasions. Following induction of anesthesia with an opioid-based combination, the rhinoceros was intubated and maintained on isoflurane in oxygen. The use of the sling and volume controlled inhalation anesthesia allowed for maintenance of appropriate anatomic positioning, analgesia, and insufflation of the abdominal cavity for laparoscopy during both procedures.

An endoscopic method for identifying sex of hatchling Chinese box turtles and comparison of general versus local anesthesia for coelioscopy.
Hernandez-Divers SJ, Stahl SJ, Farrell R.J Am Vet Med Assoc. 2009 Mar 15;234(6):800-4.
OBJECTIVE: To establish a safe and effective endoscopic method for visualizing the gonads and identifying the sex of hatchling Chinese box turtles and to compare the effects of general versus local anesthesia during coelioscopy. DESIGN: Clinical trial. ANIMALS: 58 hatchling Chinese box turtles (Cuora flavomarginata). PROCEDURES: Turtles were randomly assigned to be anesthetized with a mixture of ketamine, medetomidine, and morphine (n = 29) or to receive local anesthesia with lidocaine in the prefemoral region (29). Coelioscopy was performed with a rigid 1.9- or 2.7-mm telescope following insufflation with sterile lactated Ringer's solution. Ease of endoscopic sex identification and quality of anesthesia were scored. Body weights were recorded before and 7 and 14 days after surgery. RESULTS: Gonads were easily visualized and sex was easily identified in all 58 turtles without complications. Endoscopy scores and pre- and postoperative weights did not differ significantly between groups. However, anesthesia scores were significantly worse for animals that received local anesthesia alone, compared with those that underwent general anesthesia. All anesthetized turtles recovered within 21 minutes after administration of the reversal agents, atipamezole and naloxone. CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL RELEVANCE: Results suggested that coelioscopy with a rigid endoscope and lactated Ringer's solution for insufflation was a safe and effective method for identifying the sex of hatchling Chinese box turtles. General anesthesia was effective and effects were rapidly reversible; local anesthesia with lidocaine alone was considered insufficient for coelioscopy.

Endoscopic orchidectomy and salpingohysterectomy of pigeons (Columba livia): an avian model for minimally invasive endosurgery.
Hernandez-Divers SJ, Stahl SJ, Wilson GH, McBride M, Hernandez-Divers SM, Cooper T, Stedman N.J Avian Med Surg. 2007 Mar;21(1):22-37.
To evaluate a minimally invasive endosurgical system in birds, endoscopic orchidectomy and salpingohysterectomy were evaluated in 11 male and 14 female pigeons (Columba livia). Anesthesia was maintained by using isoflurane delivered by a pressure-cycle ventilator and produced good to excellent anesthesia during 96% of procedures. Endosurgery was performed with a 2.7-mm telescope system, 3-mm human pediatric laparoscopy instruments, and a 4.0-MHz radiofrequency device. Mean +/- SD surgery times for bilateral orchidectomy and salpingohysterectomy procedures were 39 +/- 18 minutes and 34 +/- 15 minutes, respectively. Procedures were generally straightforward, with any minor complications easily overcome. Surgical complications were generally minor, with mild hemorrhage and focal coagulative damage to the kidney being most common. All pigeons recovered quickly (20 +/- 11 minutes), with 95% displaying good to excellent recoveries. No birds exhibited any clinically apparent morbidity or mortality associated with endosurgery. At least 1 male and 1 female bird were subjected to elective euthanasia and necropsy on postoperative days 1, 3, 5, 10, 20, and 90 to determine the success and side effects of surgery. Gross and histologic abnormalities, when observed, were generally mild, with hemorrhage and partial necrosis of the cranial kidney present in 27% of males. Mild damage or hematoma associated with the left kidney was also reported in 28% of females. The surgical objectives were achieved in 23 of 25 pigeons. The 2 surgical failures (regenerated testes in a male and large oviductal remnant in a female) were attributed to endosurgical inexperience and occurred during the first procedures. Salpingohysterectomy does not appear to prevent ovarian development and ovulation in the pigeon, at least not during the first 3 postoperative months. Orchidectomy and salpingohysterectomy appear to be safe procedures when performed using appropriate equipment and techniques. Endosurgery offers a valuable, minimally invasive alternative to the standard coeliotomy techniques commonly used in birds.

Renal evaluation in the healthy green iguana (Iguana iguana): assessment of plasma biochemistry, glomerular filtration rate, and endoscopic biopsy.
Hernandez-Divers SJ, Stahl SJ, Stedman NL, Hernandez-Divers SM, Schumacher J, Hanley CS, Wilson H, Vidyashankar AN, Zhao Y, Rumbeiha WK. J Zoo Wildl Med. 2005 Jun;36(2):155-68.
Plasma biochemistry, iohexol clearance, endoscopic renal evaluation, and biopsy were performed in 23 clinically healthy 2-yr-old green iguanas (Iguana iguana). Mean (+/- SD) values for packed cell volume (30 +/- 3%), total protein (62 +/- 7  g/L, 6.2 +/- 0.7 g/dl), albumin (25 +/- 2 g/L, 2.5 +/- 0.2 g/dl), globulin (37 +/- 6 g/L, 3.7 +/- 0.6 g/ dl), total calcium (3.0 +/- 0.2 mmol/L, 12.0 +/- 0.7 mg/dl), ionized calcium (1.38 +/- 0.1 mmol/L), phosphorus (1.32 +/- 0.28 mmol/L,  4.1 +/- 0.9 mg/dl), uric acid (222 +/- 100 micromol/L, 3.8 +/- 1.7 mg/dl), sodium (148 +/- 3 mmol/L or mEq/ L), and potassium (2.6 +/- 0.4 mmol/L or mEq/L) were considered within normal limits. Values for urea were low (< 1.4 mmol/L, < 4 mg/dl) with 70% of samples below the detectable analyzer range. After the i.v. injection of 75 mg/ kg iohexol into the caudal (ventral coccygeal or tail) vein,  serial blood collections were performed over 32 hr. Iohexol assays by high-performance liquid chromatography produced plasma iohexol clearance graphs for each lizard. A three-compartment model was used to fit area under the curve values and to obtain the glomerular filtration rate (GFR) using regression analysis. The mean GFR (SD) was 16.56 +/- 3.90 ml/kg/hr, with a 95% confidence interval of 14.78-18.34 ml/kg/hr. Bilateral endoscopic renal evaluation and biopsy provided tissue samples of excellent diagnostic quality, which correlated  with tissue harvested at necropsy and evaluated histologically. None of the 23 animals demonstrated any adverse effects of iohexol clearance or endoscopy. Recommended diagnostics for the evaluation of renal function and disease in the green iguana include plasma biochemical profiles, iohexol clearance, endoscopic examination, and renal biopsy.

An alternative, less invasive blood sample collection technique for serologic studies utilizing triatomine bugs (Heteroptera; Insecta).
Voigt CC, Peschel U, Wibbelt G, Frölich K.
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The collection of blood samples for serological studies is often stressful for the focus animal. Recently, the use of bloodsucking bugs, such as Dipetalogaster  maximus or Triatoma infestans (Reduviidae; Triatominae; Heteroptera), has been suggested as a new and less invasive method for blood collection. To evaluate this technique, we collected paired blood samples from 20 domestic rabbits (Oryctolagus cuniculus) during a study of rabbit hemorrhagic disease virus (RHDV). For each rabbit, blood samples were collected by the conventional method  (needle and syringe from the vena auricularis) and through feeding by D. maximus. Samples were tested for RHDV antibodies using standard test kits at three different dilutions. Antibody titers were identical for 56 paired samples and differed in only four cases. The simple matching indices were 1 for the 1:10 dilution and 0.9 for the 1:100 and 1:1000 dilutions. The major advantages of the  new technique are 1) the possibility to obtain blood from animals where veins are inaccessible and 2) the fact that anesthesia of focus animals may not be necessary.

Endoscopic renal evaluation and biopsy of Chelonia.
Hernandez-Divers SJ. Vet Rec. 2004 Jan 17;154(3):73-80.
Sixty-nine tortoises, turtles and terrapins representing 28 species of the order  Chelonia, class Reptilia were evaluated by endoscopy for renal disease. Under general anaesthesia, coelomic and/or extracoelomic endoscopic evaluations and biopsies of the kidney(s) were undertaken. Endoscopic approaches required a 2 to  4 mm skin incision in the prefemoral fossa, and minimal blunt dissection through  the subcutaneous tissues. For the coelomic approach the coelomic aponeurosis of the transverse and oblique abdominal muscles was penetrated so that the cranioventral kidney(s) could be examined and biopsied. The extracoelomic approach required the endoscope to be advanced in a caudodorsal direction, between the coelomic aponeurosis and the broad iliacus muscle, so that the dorsolateral kidney(s) could be examined and biopsied. Both techniques were safe  and effective for obtaining renal biopsies for histological examination and microbiological culture. Several renal pathologies were identified including glomerulonephrosis, tubulonephrosis, interstitial nephritis, uric acid accumulation, tubulonephritis, glomerulonephritis, renal oedema, glomerulosclerosis, nephrosclerosis, soft tissue mineralisation, and pyelonephritis. Several infectious conditions were identified, including a predominance of Gram-negative bacterial infections, two cases of hexamitiosis, and one case of mycobacteriosis.

General Soft Tissue Surgery in Wildlife

Rectal prolapse in a free-ranging mountain gorilla (Gorilla beringei beringei): clinical presentation and surgical management.
Kalema-Zikusoka G, Lowenstine L. J Zoo Wildl Med. 2001 Dec;32(4):509-13.
A juvenile female mountain gorilla (Gorilla beringei beringei) of the Mubare tourist group in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, Uganda, developed a severe, complete rectal prolapse that did not spontaneously resolve. Eight months prior,  a juvenile female mountain gorilla of the Mubare group developed a mild, complete rectal prolapse that resolved spontaneously within 24 hr. Field guides reported that spontaneously resolving prolapses had been seen previously in two other juveniles, one of which was from the Mubare group. The tissue became increasingly necrotic and maggot infested over the course of 1 wk. Surgical intervention involved amputation of the affected rectal tissues and suturing the viable portion to the anal sphincter muscle with simple interrupted absorbable sutures.  The surgery was performed in the field in accordance with Uganda Wildlife Authority policies. Antibiotics and anthelmintics were administered systemically, and the gorilla returned to the group. The gorilla appeared to recover fuly after 3 wk. Histology of the resected rectal tissue confirmed intense inflammation and necrosis with myiasis but did not reveal an underlying etiology.

Cholelithiasis in four callitrichid species (Leontopithecus, Callithrix).
Smith KM, Calle P, Raphael BL, James S, Moore R, McAloose D, Baitchman E. J Zoo Wildl Med. 2006 Mar;37(1):44-8.
Medical records of three male and three female callitrichids of four species (Leontopithecus chrysopygus, Leontopithecus rosalia, Callithrix argentata argentata, Callithrix kuhlii) diagnosed with cholelithiasis were reviewed. Ages of affected animals at the time of diagnosis ranged from 2-14 yr. Definitive antemortem diagnosis of cholelithiasis was made in four of the six cases. Chronic weight loss, lethargy, and weakness were seen in all cases. Chronic intermittent  diarrhea was seen in three cases. Icterus and abnormal gait were each present in  two of the animals. Hematologic and serum biochemical abnormalities included leukocytosis in five cases, elevated bilirubin (direct and indirect) in four cases, and anemia in four cases. Radiographic evidence of choleliths was observed in three cases. Surgical removal of choleliths was successfully performed on two  animals. Full necropsies were performed on all cases, and choleliths were believed to contribute to morbidity in all cases. However, inflammatory bowel disease was determined to be the primary cause of weight loss and mortality in at least three animals. All choleliths analyzed were pigment stones, two being primarily composed of cystine.

Orthopaedic Surgery in Wildlife

Successful management of simple fractures of the femoral neck with femoral head and neck excision arthroplasty in two free-living avian species.
Burgdorf-Moisuk A, Whittington JK, Bennett RA, McFadden M, Mitchell M, O'Brien R. J Avian Med Surg. 2011 Sep;25(3):210-5.
A red-tailed hawk (Buteo jamaicensis) and a Canada goose (Branta canadensis) were evaluated for unilateral pelvic limb lameness. Physical examination findings and results of diagnostic imaging revealed femoral neck fractures in both birds. Both birds were treated with a femoral head and neck excision arthroplasty. The affected legs were not immobilized, and the birds were encouraged to use the legs immediately after surgery to encourage formation of a pseudoarthrosis. Within 2 weeks, both birds were using the affected limb well enough to be either successfully released or transferred to a wildlife rehabilitation facility. Femoral head and neck excision arthroplasty without immobilization of the limb is recommended for managing avian femoral neck fractures, especially in free-ranging species in which a rapid and complete or near complete return to function is vital for survival in the wild.

Use of a linear-circular hybrid external skeletal fixator for stabilization of a juxta-physeal proximal radial fracture in a deer (Odocoileus virginianus).
Phelps HA, Lewis DD, Aiken-Palmer C, Winter MD. J Zoo Wildl Med. 2010 Dec;41(4):688-96.
This report documents the successful use of a hybrid linear-circular fixator for  the stabilization of a closed, oblique, comminuted fracture of the proximal right radial diaphysis in a 3-mo-old female deer (Odocoileus virginianus). Under fluoroscopic guidance, a hybrid fixator was applied for fracture stabilization, with consideration given to the risk of inducing further fissuring of the proximal segment, attaining adequate fixation in the short juxta-physeal segment, and possibly disrupting physeal growth. Three divergent wires were used as ring fixation elements to secure the proximal fracture segment. Mild fissure propagation occurred during fixation pin placement. All subsequent fixation pins  chosen were of a smaller diameter and were placed without further deterioration of the existing fissures. Although willing to ambulate upon recovery, the deer placed the dorsum of the hoof on the ground initially after surgery, which resolved by the sixth day. The hybrid fixator was well-tolerated and was removed  4 wk postoperatively. In addition, proximal radial physeal growth was not disrupted and both radii had similar lengths after fixator removal. Hybrid linear-circular external skeletal fixation was advantageous for stabilization of  the juxta-physeal fracture in this deer; with appropriate application techniques  and configuration, we believe that hybrid fixators can be used successfully in several wildlife species with maximum acceptance and minimal complications.

Undifferentiated sarcoma resolved by forelimb amputation and prosthesis in a radiated tortoise (Geochelone radiata).
Clabaugh K, Haag KM, Hanley CS, Latimer KS, Hernandez-Divers SJ.J Zoo Wildl Med. 2005 Mar;36(1):117-20.
An adult female, radiated tortoise (Geochelone radiata) presented with a grossly  swollen left forelimb that restricted mobility and prevented limb withdrawal. Clinical pathology revealed leukopenia (1.9 x 10(9)/L) and hyperproteinemia (69 g/L) that on protein electrophoresis was attributed to increased acute-phase proteins in the alpha fraction (26.4 g/L). Biopsy revealed a poorly differentiated soft tissue sarcoma. Surgical amputation at the proximal humerus was curative. To encourage postoperative mobility, a novel methylmethacrylate prosthesis, molded from a lubricated transected tennis ball, was adhered to the plastron using three cortical bone screws. This is the first recorded case of a sarcoma in the genus Geochelone.

Type I external skeletal fixation of radial fractures in microchiropterans.
Wellehan JF, Zens MS, Bright AA, Voss SJ. J Zoo Wildl Med. 2001 Dec;32(4):487-93.
An adult male big brown bat (Eptesicus fuscus) and an adult female hoary bat (Lasiurus cinereus) were presented with open transverse middiaphyseal left radial fractures. Initial repair was attempted by intramedullary pinning. When the fractures did not heal, intramedullary pins were removed and type I external skeletal fixators were placed. The fractures healed, and the big brown bat regained normal flight but the hoary bat did not.

Surgical plating of a fractured radius and ulna in a wild Canada lynx.
Poole KG, Elkin BT, Pisz T, Elkin KE, Robertson D, Sabourin ML. J Wildl Dis. 1998 Apr;34(2):365-8.
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A free-ranging, adult male Canada-lynx (Lynx canadensis) experienced a closed, complete, non-comminuted transverse fracture of the left radius and ulna when captured in a leg snare. A dynamic compression plate (DCP) attached to the anterior surface of the radius was used to stabilize the fracture. Radiographs 44 days post-surgery indicated advanced primary bone healing. The lynx was released  46 days post-surgery near the site of capture. Radiotelemetry indicated long-term survival and movements similar to other males monitored during the same period.

Use of a type-III trilateral external skeletal fixation device in three deer with comminuted fractures.
Mills ML, Holland M, Cooper R. J Am Vet Med Assoc. 1996 Feb 15;208(4):559-61.
A type-III trilateral external skeletal fixation device was used to repair comminuted fractures of metacarpal and tibial bones in 3 deer. Mean weight of the deer was 25 kg, and mean age was 4 months. Mean interval from application until removal of the device was 6.5 weeks. All deer had complete function of their previously fractured limbs and had minimal complications during healing. Several  factors should be considered when choosing a method of repair for wildlife with fractured limbs. Economic constraints and demeanor of the animal may limit the number of options. Analysis of results of our findings indicated that type-III trilateral external skeletal fixation devices can be used for the repair of comminuted fractures in young deer.

Opthalmic Surgery in Wildlife

Surgical removal of a retrobulbar adenoma in an African grey parrot (Psittacus erithacus).
Simova-Curd S, Richter M, Hauser B, Hatt JM. J Avian Med Surg. 2009 Mar;23(1):24-8.
An African grey parrot (Psittacus erithacus) was presented with exophthalmos and  a semisolid mass dorsomedial to the left eye that led to ventrotemporal deviation of the globe. Ultrasonography of the eye revealed a well-demarcated mass of cystic appearance, retrobulbar to the left eye. Cultures of samples of the mass acquired by fine needle aspiration were negative for bacteria and Mycoplasma species. Metaplasia of a periorbital gland caused by hypovitaminosis A was suspected, and vitamin A supplementation was initiated. Because of unresponsiveness to therapy, the cystic mass was surgically removed. The histologic diagnosis was adenoma. The surgical wound healed well, and no recurrence was observed 10 months later. To our knowledge, this is the first report of surgical removal of a retrobulbar adenoma in this species with the eye  remaining intact and functional.

Surgical removal of cataracts due to Diplostomum species in Gulf sturgeon (Acipenser oxyrinchus desotoi).
Bakal RS, Hickson BH, Gilger BC, Levy MG, Flowers JR, Khoo L.  J Zoo Wildl Med. 2005;36(3):504-8.
Twenty 6-yr-old (1995-yr-class) Gulf of Mexico sturgeon (Acipenser oxyrinchus desotoi) were diagnosed as having bilateral cataracts. Histopathologic assessment of the lenses of two of the fish revealed the presence of a diplostomid trematode. Pharmacological treatment of the trematodes may be effective for killing the parasites, but the damage to the lenses and resulting cataracts are nonreversible. Because these animals were to be used in a subsequent study as sentinels in the natural environment, it was necessary to return the animals' vision to as close to normal as possible. Electroretinograms were performed on each fish's eyes to ensure that retinal function was present. Cataracts then were surgically removed by phacoemulsification and aspiration. The animals tolerated the surgical procedures well. This report is the first known report of surgical correction of cataracts in sturgeon species. It also is the first known attempt to correct vision problems in fish being returned to the wild.

Bilateral phacoemulsification and intraocular lens implantation in a great horned owl.
Carter RT, Murphy CJ, Stuhr CM, Diehl KA. J Am Vet Med Assoc. 2007 Feb 15;230(4):559-61.
CASE DESCRIPTION: A great horned owl of estimated age < 1 year that was captured  by wildlife rehabilitators was evaluated because of suspected cataracts. CLINICAL FINDINGS: Nuclear and incomplete cortical cataracts were evident in both eyes. Ocular ultrasonography revealed no evidence of retinal detachment, and electroretinography revealed normal retinal function. TREATMENT AND OUTCOME: For visual rehabilitation, cataract surgery was planned and intraocular lens design was determined on the basis of values obtained from the schematic eye, which is a mathematical model representing a normal eye for a  species. Cataract surgery and intraocular lens placement were performed in both eyes. After surgery, refraction was within -0.75 diopters in the right eye and -0.25 diopters in the left eye. Visual rehabilitation was evident on the basis of improved tracking and feeding behavior, and the owl was eventually released into  the wild. CLINICAL RELEVANCE: In raptors with substantial visual compromise, euthanasia or  placement in a teaching facility is a typical outcome because release of such a bird is unacceptable. Successful intraocular lens implantation for visual rehabilitation and successful release into the wild are achievable.

Complications in Wildlife Surgery

Complication associated with abdominal surgical implantation of a radio transmitter in an American badger (Taxidea taxus).
Quinn JH, Gaffney PM, Gilardi K, Murray M, Jessup DA, Johnson CK. J Zoo Wildl Med. 2010 Mar;41(1):174-7.
Radio telemetry has greatly advanced the understanding of wild animal ecology. Telemetry studies must ensure that placement of transmitters does not influence the health and behavior of study animals. Here, 10 American badgers (Taxidea taxus) were implanted with beeswax-coated abdominal radio transmitters under general anesthesia and tracked for an average of 14 mo. Behavior and movements of all badgers indicated successful short-term recovery from implantation; however,  three mortalities were observed between 5 mo and 15 mo after capture. Cause of death could not be determined for two badgers due to decomposition of the carcasses. A third badger that was recovered in good postmortem condition died from sepsis secondary to a transmitter-related omental torsion. This study indicates that there is some risk associated with abdominally implanted radio transmitters in badgers. Future studies involving implanted transmitters in mammals should focus on identifying safe and effective telemetry devices that do  not affect the health of study animals. American badger, omental adhesion, peritoneal implant, telemetry, Taxidea taxus.

Other Important Human and Veterinary Surgery References

A surgical safety checklist to reduce morbidity and mortality in a global population.
Haynes AB, Weiser TG, Berry WR, Lipsitz SR, Breizat AH, Dellinger EP, Herbosa T, Joseph S, Kibatala PL, Lapitan MC, Merry AF, Moorthy K, Reznick RK, Taylor B, Gawande AA; Safe Surgery Saves Lives Study Group. N Engl J Med. 2009 Jan 29;360(5):491-9. Epub 2009 Jan 14.
BACKGROUND: Surgery has become an integral part of global health care, with an estimated 234 million operations performed yearly. Surgical complications are common and often preventable. We hypothesized that a program to implement a 19-item surgical safety checklist designed to improve team communication and consistency of care would reduce complications and deaths associated with surgery. METHODS: Between October 2007 and September 2008, eight hospitals in eight cities (Toronto, Canada; New Delhi, India; Amman, Jordan; Auckland, New Zealand; Manila, Philippines; Ifakara, Tanzania; London, England; and Seattle, WA) representing a variety of economic circumstances and diverse populations of patients participated in the World Health Organization's Safe Surgery Saves Lives program. We prospectively collected data on clinical processes and outcomes from 3733 consecutively enrolled patients 16 years of age or older who were undergoing noncardiac surgery. We subsequently collected data on 3955 consecutively enrolled patients after the introduction of the Surgical Safety Checklist. The primary end point was the rate of complications, including death, during hospitalization within the first 30 days after the operation. RESULTS: The rate of death was 1.5% before the checklist was introduced and declined to 0.8% afterward (P=0.003). Inpatient complications occurred in 11.0% of patients at baseline and in 7.0% after introduction of the checklist (P<0.001). CONCLUSIONS: Implementation of the checklist was associated with concomitant reductions in the rates of death and complications among patients at least 16 years of age who were undergoing noncardiac surgery in a diverse group of hospitals