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  • Author or Editor: Toby L. Pinn x
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Objective—To describe clinical signs and treatment outcomes for juvenile alpacas with spiral colon impaction (SCI).

Design—Retrospective case series.

Animals—12 juvenile (< 6 months old) camelids with SCI.

Procedures—Crias with SCI were identified by searching the medical records database of the Cornell University Equine and Farm Animal Hospital. A keyword-based search method was used. Inclusion required confirmation of SCI on the basis of surgical or necropsy findings. History, signalment, examination findings, diagnostic test results, medical treatments, and surgical reports as well as short- and long-term outcomes were reviewed. Peritoneal fluid parameters were compared with those of age-matched comparison crias in which SCI was suspected but ruled out at necropsy or exploratory celiotomy.

Results—12 crias with confirmed SCI were identified. Common clinical signs included lethargy and diarrhea. Abdominal distention was observed in 9 crias. In 3 crias, a mass in the region of the spiral colon was palpated. Seven crias underwent peritoneal fluid analysis; compared with age-matched comparison crias, SCI-affected crias had higher peritoneal fluid nucleated cell counts and nucleated cell count-to-total protein concentration ratios. A ventral midline celiotomy was performed in 9 crias; 7 underwent an enterotomy, and 2 underwent transmural infusion of saline (0.9% NaCl) solution with manual breakdown of ingesta; 3 of these crias survived for at least 6 months.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Crias with SCI that were not resolved by medical management had a poor prognosis. During celiotomy, transmural infusion of saline solution with manual breakdown of ingesta provided a less invasive alternative to enterotomy.

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in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association



Outbreaks of sudden death in apparently healthy weaned dairy calves due to Strongyloides papillosus parasitism were diagnosed on 2 separate and independent New York (NY) dairies.


Most calves were found dead; however, 1 calf observed while dying showed signs of tachycardia, tachypnea, vocalization, and convulsions shortly before death. In 6 affected heifers that underwent post-mortem examination, precocious bilaterally symmetric mammary gland enlargement was seen. A portion of their parasitized living cohorts also demonstrated similar mammary gland enlargement. A diagnosis of S papillosus hyperinfection was made based upon the presence of high numbers of S papillosus ova in feces, and confirmation by S papillosus–specific PCR assays. Consistent histopathological findings in affected calves included generalized mammary gland vascular congestion, interstitial edema and hemorrhage with ductal hyperplasia. Mild multifocal cardiomyocyte degeneration was found in 5 of 14 calves examined. Factors believed to contribute to the parasite’s environmental amplification and host hyperinfection included group housing on wood shavings and high environmental temperatures and humidity.


Treatment of calves with doramectin pour-on stopped mortality and resolved the udder enlargement.


Similar outbreaks have previously been described in Japan and South Bohemia (Czech Republic), where researchers hypothesized that sudden death may be due to fatal arrhythmia caused by a parasite-associated cardiotoxin. This report highlights the importance of including S papillosus among the differential diagnoses for sudden death alone or together with precocious udder enlargement in calves kept in confinement housing.

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in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association