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Tooth root abscesses in llamas and alpacas: 123 cases (1994–2005)

Andrew J. Niehaus DVM1 and David E. Anderson MS, DVM, DACVS2
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  • 1 Department of Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH 43210.
  • | 2 Department of Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH 43210.

Abstract

Objective—To determine features, outcome, and complications of surgical treatment of camelid tooth root abscesses.

Design—Retrospective case series.

Animals—123 camelids with tooth root abscesses.

Procedures—Signalment, history, teeth involved, surgery performed, ancillary diagnostic tests, and short-term complications were recorded from each medical record. An owner questionnaire was used to obtain long-term (> 1 year) follow-up information.

Results—The most common surgical treatments included tooth extraction (n = 106) and apicoectomy (13). Owners provided follow-up information on 84 animals. Postoperative complications were reported in 42 of 84 animals. The most common complications included reinfection (n = 15), chronic draining tract (14), and osteomyelitis (14). Significantly more camelids that were in good or obese body condition at the time of surgery were alive at the time of follow-up, compared with those with thin body condition at the time of surgery. Camelids with 2 teeth extracted had significantly more complications than those with 1 tooth extracted. Thirty-four of 47 owners reported that they were completely satisfied with the outcome.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Owners of camelids in poor body condition should be forewarned that such animals are at greater risk for complications following dental surgery. Clinicians should recognize that the number of teeth affected was not associated with a poorer outcome.

Contributor Notes

Dr. Anderson's present address is the Department of Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, Kansas State University, Manhattan, KS 66506.

Presented as an abstract at the American College of Veterinary Surgeons Symposium, San Diego, October 2005.

Address correspondence to Dr. Niehaus.