Pancreatic necrosis in New World camelids: 11 cases (1990–1998)

Erwin G. Pearson Department of Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, Oregon State University, Corvallis, OR 97331.

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 DVM, MS, DACVIM
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Stanley P. Snyder Department of Biomedical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, Oregon State University, Corvallis, OR 97331.

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 DVM, PhD, DACVP

Abstract

Objective—To determine clinical, clinicopathologic, and postmortem abnormalities in New World camelids with pancreatic necrosis.

Design—Retrospective study.

Animals—10 llamas and 1 alpaca.

Procedures—Medical records of animals in which a diagnosis of pancreatic necrosis had been made on the basis of histologic examination of necropsy specimens or on the basis of clinical signs and results of clinicopathologic testing were reviewed.

Results—The initial owner complaint varied, and various other conditions were diagnosed. Clinical and clinicopathologic abnormalities were vague. Amylase activity was higher in abdominal fluid than in serum in 5 of 7 animals, and lipase activity was higher in abdominal fluid than in serum in all 7. Four animals survived, and 7 died or were euthanatized. Only 1 of the animals that died had marked inflammation of the pancreatic parenchyma. All 7 had necrosis and saponification of fat in and surrounding the pancreas.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Results suggest that pancreatic necrosis may develop in New World camelids, but clinical signs are vague, and the condition may easily be confused with other diseases. The only laboratory test that appeared to be helpful in the antemortem diagnosis of pancreatic necrosis was comparison of amylase and lipase activities in abdominal fluid and serum. (J Am Vet Med Assoc 2000;217:241–244)

Abstract

Objective—To determine clinical, clinicopathologic, and postmortem abnormalities in New World camelids with pancreatic necrosis.

Design—Retrospective study.

Animals—10 llamas and 1 alpaca.

Procedures—Medical records of animals in which a diagnosis of pancreatic necrosis had been made on the basis of histologic examination of necropsy specimens or on the basis of clinical signs and results of clinicopathologic testing were reviewed.

Results—The initial owner complaint varied, and various other conditions were diagnosed. Clinical and clinicopathologic abnormalities were vague. Amylase activity was higher in abdominal fluid than in serum in 5 of 7 animals, and lipase activity was higher in abdominal fluid than in serum in all 7. Four animals survived, and 7 died or were euthanatized. Only 1 of the animals that died had marked inflammation of the pancreatic parenchyma. All 7 had necrosis and saponification of fat in and surrounding the pancreas.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Results suggest that pancreatic necrosis may develop in New World camelids, but clinical signs are vague, and the condition may easily be confused with other diseases. The only laboratory test that appeared to be helpful in the antemortem diagnosis of pancreatic necrosis was comparison of amylase and lipase activities in abdominal fluid and serum. (J Am Vet Med Assoc 2000;217:241–244)

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