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Diagnosis and treatment of mesenteric volvulus in a red kangaroo (Macropus rufus)

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  • 1 Department of Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY 14853.
  • | 2 Department of Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY 14853.
  • | 3 Department of Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY 14853.
  • | 4 Department of Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY 14853.
  • | 5 Department of Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY 14853.
  • | 6 Department of Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY 14853.
  • | 7 Department of Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY 14853.

Abstract

Case Description—An 8-year-old male red kangaroo (Macropus rufus) was evaluated with a 2-week history of vomiting and anorexia. Four days prior, the patient became refractory to medical management. The kangaroo was admitted for diagnostic testing and treatment including whole body CT, blood work, and emergency laparotomy.

Clinical Findings—CT findings of a severely enlarged stomach, splenic displacement, and a whirl sign were indicative of mesenteric volvulus with gastric dilatation-volvulus (GDV). Contrast enhancement of abdominal viscera suggested intact arterial blood supply; however, compression of the caudal vena cava and portal vein indicated venous obstruction. Results of preoperative blood work suggested biliary stasis without evidence of inflammation. Additionally, a tooth root abscess was diagnosed on the basis of results of CT.

Treatment and Outcome—Exploratory laparotomy confirmed the diagnosis of mesenteric volvulus and GDV. The volvuli were corrected by clockwise derotation, and a gastropexy was performed. Tissue samples were obtained from the spleen and liver for evaluation. The kangaroo recovered from surgery, and the abscessed tooth was extracted 6 days later. Eight days after initial evaluation, the kangaroo was discharged.

Clinical Relevance—In the present report, the CT whirl sign was used to diagnose volvulus of the abdominal viscera, which suggests that this diagnostic indicator has utility in veterinary patients. Mesenteric volvulus with GDV was successfully treated in a nondomestic species. The tooth root abscess, a common condition in macropods, may explain the historic episodes of anorexia reported by the owner and may have contributed to the development of mesenteric volvulus and GDV in this kangaroo.

Abstract

Case Description—An 8-year-old male red kangaroo (Macropus rufus) was evaluated with a 2-week history of vomiting and anorexia. Four days prior, the patient became refractory to medical management. The kangaroo was admitted for diagnostic testing and treatment including whole body CT, blood work, and emergency laparotomy.

Clinical Findings—CT findings of a severely enlarged stomach, splenic displacement, and a whirl sign were indicative of mesenteric volvulus with gastric dilatation-volvulus (GDV). Contrast enhancement of abdominal viscera suggested intact arterial blood supply; however, compression of the caudal vena cava and portal vein indicated venous obstruction. Results of preoperative blood work suggested biliary stasis without evidence of inflammation. Additionally, a tooth root abscess was diagnosed on the basis of results of CT.

Treatment and Outcome—Exploratory laparotomy confirmed the diagnosis of mesenteric volvulus and GDV. The volvuli were corrected by clockwise derotation, and a gastropexy was performed. Tissue samples were obtained from the spleen and liver for evaluation. The kangaroo recovered from surgery, and the abscessed tooth was extracted 6 days later. Eight days after initial evaluation, the kangaroo was discharged.

Clinical Relevance—In the present report, the CT whirl sign was used to diagnose volvulus of the abdominal viscera, which suggests that this diagnostic indicator has utility in veterinary patients. Mesenteric volvulus with GDV was successfully treated in a nondomestic species. The tooth root abscess, a common condition in macropods, may explain the historic episodes of anorexia reported by the owner and may have contributed to the development of mesenteric volvulus and GDV in this kangaroo.

Contributor Notes

Dr. Knafo's present address is Knafo Zoological Medicine and Surgery Services, PLLC, 454 Old Seventy-Six Rd, Brooktondale, NY 14817.

Drs. Knafo and Rosenblatt contributed equally to this work.

Address correspondence to Dr. Knafo (emi.knafo@gmail.com).