Objective—To characterize and quantitatively assess the typical pulmonary anatomy of healthy adult alpacas with multidetector row CT.
Animals—10 clinically normal adult female alpacas.
Procedures—CT examination of the thorax was performed before and after IV administration of iodinated contrast medium in sedated alpacas in sternal recumbency. Measurements of the trachea, bronchi and related blood vessels, and selected vertebrae as well as the extent and density of lung parenchyma were performed with a Digital Imaging and Communications in Medicine (DICOM) viewer. Morphometric and quantitative data were summarized.
Results—Separation of individual lung lobes could not be identified, except for the accessory lung lobe. In all alpacas, both lungs extended farther caudally at the medial aspect than at the lateral aspect. The right lung extended farther in both cranial and caudal directions than did the left lung. The branching pattern of the bronchial tree varied only slightly among alpacas and consisted of 1 cranial bronchus and 3 caudal bronchi bilaterally, with a right accessory bronchus. Luminal diameters of first-generation bronchi ranged from 3 to 9 mm. Mean ± SD parenchymal lung density was −869 ± 40 Hounsfield units (HU) before contrast injection and −825 ± 51 HU after contrast injection. Mean difference in diameter between bronchi and associated arteries or veins was 0.8 ± 0.9 mm.
Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Knowledge of the typical anatomy of the lungs and bronchial tree in healthy alpacas as determined via CT will aid veterinarians in clinical assessment and bronchoscopic evaluation of alpacas.
Case Description—20 alpaca crias (13 females and 7 males) were examined for diarrhea (n = 20), weight loss (15), and poor appetite (5). Fourteen crias were between 8 and 18 days of age at time of admission.
Clinical Findings—Cryptosporidiosis was diagnosed in all crias. Common biochemical abnormalities included acidemia, hyperlactemia, azotemia, and hyperglycemia and increases in aspartate transaminase and γ-glutamyltransferase activities. Serum sodium and chloride concentrations were high or low. Other potential gastrointestinal tract pathogens were identified in only 7 crias.
Treatment and Outcome—Supportive care was instituted, including IV administration of fluids with partial parenteral administration of nutrients (n = 19 crias), antimicrobials (19), supplemental orally administered nutrients (11), administration of plasma (10), and insulin treatment (9). Other palliative treatments used by attending clinicians were sucralfate, flunixin meglumine, vitamin A/D/E/B complex, antiparasitic agents, antidiarrheal agents, and azithromycin. Three crias with inadequate urine production and severe azotemia were treated with furosemide administered IV as a bolus or as a constant-rate infusion. Treatment resulted in a successful outcome in 16 of 20 crias. Weight loss and refractory azotemia were common in nonsurvivors but not in surviving crias.
Clinical Relevance—Findings suggested that Cryptosporidium spp may be a diarrheal pathogen of unweaned alpaca crias that may be more widespread than has been recognized and can become endemic on some farms. Metabolic derangements were unpredictable and should be determined by biochemical analysis before fluid and electrolyte replacement is initiated. Cryptosporidiosis has zoonotic potential, and the infection can be self-limiting in alpacas receiving supportive treatment.
Case Description—15 llamas and 34 alpacas between 3 weeks and 18 years old with fecal oocysts or intestinal coccidial stages morphologically consistent with Eimeria macusaniensis were examined. Nineteen of the camelids were admitted dead, and 30 were admitted alive. Camelids admitted alive accounted for 5.5% of all camelid admissions during this period.
Clinical Findings—Many severely affected camelids had signs of lethargy, weight loss, decreased appetite, and diarrhea. Camelids with clinical infection also commonly had evidence of circulatory shock, fat mobilization, and protein loss. Nonsurviving camelids also had evidence of shock, edema, bile stasis, renal insufficiency, hepatic lipidosis, muscle damage, relative hemoconcentration, and sepsis. Postmortem examination frequently re-vealed complete, segmental replacement of the mucosa of the distal portion of the jejunum with coccidial meronts and gamonts. For 17 of 42 camelids, results of initial fecal examinations for E macusaniensis were negative.
Treatment and Outcome—Most camelids admitted alive were treated with amprolium hydrochloride, plasma, and various supportive treatments. Fifteen of the 30 treated camelids died or were euthanized.
Clinical Relevance—Findings suggest that E macusaniensis may be an important gastrointestinal tract pathogen in camelids of all ages. Clinical signs were frequently nonspecific and were often evident before results of fecal examinations for the parasite were positive. As with other coccidia, severity of disease was probably related to ingested dose, host immunity, and other factors. The clinical and herd relevance of positive fecal examination results must be determined.