Case Description—A 2-year-old alpaca was evaluated because of acute onset of cervical scoliosis.
Clinical Findings—Physical examination revealed severe scoliosis of the caudal portion of the cervical vertebral column with a C-shaped curvature to the right side. No gait deficits were observed. Cervical radiography confirmed severe curvature of C4 to C6 but did not reveal any bony changes. Cerebrospinal fluid had high total protein concentration and extremely high nucleated cell count with a high proportion of eosinophils, suggesting parasitic infection.
Treatment and Outcome—The alpaca was treated for suspected parelaphostrongylosis with ivermectin, fenbendazole, flunixin, vitamin E, thiamine, physical therapy, and a custom-made neck brace. The alpaca's condition continued to deteriorate, and it developed tetraparesis and ataxia and was euthanized after approximately 1 month. Microscopic evaluation of the cervical spinal cord revealed marked vacuolar changes in the left medial portion of the ventral funiculus, mild lymphoplasmacytic infiltration, and multifocal granulomas. The lesions were continuous from C1 to C7 and were compatible with parasite migration.
Clinical Relevance—To the authors' knowledge, this is the first report of acquired scoliosis in an alpaca, which appears to represent an unusual manifestation of parelaphostrongylosis that was reported in horses.
Case Description—6 alpaca crias from a single farm were examined because of diarrhea (n = 4) or decreased fecal production (n = 2).
Clinical Findings—Cryptosporidium parvum was identified by means of fecal flotation in samples from 5 of the 6 crias, and a diagnosis of cryptosporidiosis was made. In the remaining cria, a presumptive diagnosis of cryptosporidiosis was made. Three people involved in caring for the crias from this farm were subsequently confirmed to have cryptosporidiosis, and 3 other people were suspected to have cryptosporidiosis. Sequence analysis of the ssu rDNA gene loci confirmed C parvum as the causative agent in 4 of the 6 crias. Subsequent evaluation of the farm revealed 2 additional crias confirmed to have cryptosporidiosis. Stocking densities on the farm were high, with approximately 20 adults/acre in some pastures.
Treatment and Outcome—All 6 hospitalized crias were given supportive treatment consisting of antimicrobials, gastroprotectants, and fluids. All but 1 survived. Farm owners were advised to decrease stocking density on the farm.
Clinical Relevance—Findings suggested that zoonotic transmission of C parvum from alpacas to humans can occur.
Objective—To determine the feasibility of performing serial laminar and skin biopsies on sedated horses and whether sampling affected adjacent tissues.
Procedures—Laminar tissues were harvested via biopsy through the hoof wall from healthy conscious horses via sedation and regional anesthesia. Eight specimens were collected at 4 time points during 24 hours from a single foot. Laminar biopsy specimens were harvested with a 6-mm-diameter biopsy punch after burring through the horny corium to the stratum medium. Skin biopsy specimens were collected from an area proximal to the coronary band. All tissues were examined via light microscopy. Total RNA was extracted and quantified, and gene expression analysis was completed for 2 housekeeping genes and the inflammatory mediator cyclooxygenase-2.
Results—Laminar and skin biopsies yielded adequate specimens for histologic and gene expression evaluation. There was no extension of inflammation or detectable damage to adjacent tissues during the 24-hour period in either laminar or skin specimens as judged via histologic findings and cyclooxygenase-2 expression. Lameness and discomfort induced by the procedure were minimal.
Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Laminar biopsy provided a satisfactory method of collecting laminar specimens and allowed serial sampling of individual horses.