Objective—To characterize duodenal sigmoid flexure volvulus (DSFV) and determine the prognosis for affected cattle undergoing surgery.
Design—Retrospective case series.
Animals—29 dairy cattle.
Procedures—The medical records were analyzed for history, signalment, clinical signs, medical management, surgical findings, and outcome.
Results—29 cattle were determined to have DSFV between December 2006 and August 2010. Twenty cattle had had an omentopexy or pyloropexy performed 1 day to 2 years before initial evaluation. Cattle were afebrile, tachycardic, and moderately dehydrated, with a small zone of percussion with a ping at the 10th to 12th right intercostal spaces and associated succussion. Biochemical changes were a severe hypokalemic (mean ± SD, 2.9 ± 0.5 mmol/L; median, 3.1 mmol/L; range, 2.08 to 3.92 mmol/L), hypochloremic (mean, 69.7 ± 11.1 mmol/L; median, 71.7 mmol/L; range, 49.1 to 94.1 mmol/L) metabolic alkalosis (mean total CO2, 44.5 ± 7.4 mmol/L; median, 45.3 mmol/L; range, 31.5 to 59.6 mmol/L) and hyperbilirubinemia (mean, 32.4 ± 29.0 μmol/L; median, 20.5 μmol/L; range, 7.8 to 107 μmol/L). Surgical findings for DSFV included an empty descending duodenum adjacent to a dorsally displaced and dilated cranial segment of the duodenum, distended abomasum and gallbladder, and a tight volvulus at the base of the duodenal sigmoid flexure. Manual reduction was considered successful if the descending duodenum filled after cranial duodenal massage. Twenty-two patients were successfully treated; the remaining 7 died or were euthanized within 4 days after surgery.
Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—A condition clinically resembling abomasal volvulus but affecting the duodenal sigmoid flexure has been recognized in dairy cattle. When a focal, dorsal right-sided ping and succussion are present combined with severe hypokalemic, hypochloremic metabolic alkalosis and high bilirubin concentration, DSFV should be suspected, especially when there is a history of prior abomasal fixation. After surgical correction, the prognosis is fair to good.