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  • Author or Editor: Salvatore Ferraro x
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To describe the clinical and clinicopathologic characteristics, treatment, and outcome for cattle that developed a retroperitoneal abscess (RA) following paralumbar fossa laparotomy (PFL).


32 Holstein cows with RA.


The record database of a veterinary teaching hospital was searched to identify cattle that were treated for an RA between January 1995 and March 2017. Cattle with an RA > 30 cm in diameter located 3.5 cm subjacent to the skin that had undergone a PFL < 3 months before examination for the RA were evaluated. Information extracted from the record of each cow included signalment; physical examination, clinicopathologic, and transabdominal ultrasonographic findings; treatments administered; and outcome. Milk production data were analyzed for the lactations before, during, and after RA treatment.


Common physical examination findings were rumen hypomotility, anorexia, and fever, and common clinicopathologic findings were anemia and neutrophilia. Abdominal palpation per rectum and transabdominal ultrasonography facilitated RA diagnosis and identification of the optimal location for drainage. Thirty of 32 cows underwent surgical drainage of the RA and prolonged administration of systemic antimicrobials. Two cows were euthanized because of concurrent peritonitis, including 1 that underwent surgical RA drainage. Thirty cows were discharged from the hospital alive, and most returned to their previous level of milk production.


Although uncommon, RA should be suspected in cows that develop anorexia and fever within 3 months after PFL. Cows with RA often returned to their previous level of milk production, but treatment was generally prolonged and costly.

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in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association