Discipline: Veterinary Medicine
The position, ultrasound features, dimension and echogenicity of the ovarian follicles, testes, hemipenes and vaginal sacs were determined in 12 apparently healthy reticulated pythons (8 females; 4 males) using an ultrasound machine equipped with a 5.0 MHz linear array scanner. The ultrasonograms were subjected to digital analysis to obtain the echo mean values for the different organs examined. The ovarian follicles in different stages of development were located laterally on both sides within the caudal half of the body in all female samples. Round, anechoic pre-vitellogenic follicles; homogenous, hypoechoic to hyperechoic vitellogenic follicles; vitellogenic follicles undergoing regression; and hyperechoic postovulatory follicles or eggs in varying degrees of calcification were observed. Ultrasonograpic images of the testes revealed homogenous and moderately echogenic structures with mean length of 5.5±1.30 cm and width of 1.6±0.42 cm. The hemipenes and vaginal sacs appeared as acute triangular, uniformly hyperechoic areas surrounded by anechoic to hypoechoic border. The hemipenes (mean length: 6.36±0.46 cm; mean width: 0.51±0.19 cm) in males appeared longer than the vaginal sacs (mean length: 2.92±0.53 cm; mean width: 0.50±0.15 cm) in females. No differences in the echo mean values between the different organs were observed. The results of this study indicate that ultrasonography can be used for visualization and assessment of the ovarian follicles, testes, hemipenes and vaginal sacs in male and female reticulated pythons. Diagnostic ultrasound scanning can be helpful in detecting abnormalities, determining gender and assessing ovarian status for determination of the best time for breeding.