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J Am Vet Med Assoc. 2013 Jul 1;243(1):136-9. doi: 10.2460/javma.243.1.136.

Septic flexor tendonitis and suspensory desmitis in an alpaca.

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  • 1Department of Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, Oregon State University, Corvallis, OR 97331, USA.



A 2-year-old male Suri alpaca was referred for evaluation of severe right forelimb lameness of 2 weeks' duration following a traumatic episode.


Examination of the distal aspect of the metacarpus revealed 4 wounds exuding purulent material. On weight bearing, the metacarpophalangeal joint was severely hyperextended with the palmar surface touching the ground. Ultrasonography of the palmar surface of the metacarpus revealed desmitis of the proximal suspensory ligament, a large core lesion of the deep digital flexor tendon at mid-metacarpus, and complete loss of fiber pattern within the deep digital flexor tendon and lateral aspect of the superficial digital flexor tendon distally.


The alpaca was treated systemically with antimicrobials and anti-inflammatory drugs and underwent repeated antimicrobial intraosseous regional limb perfusion. A bandage and splint were applied to stabilize the affected forelimb in an anatomically correct position, and the alpaca underwent prolonged stall confinement. At the time of hospital discharge 5 days after initial evaluation, clinical evidence of infection at the wound sites was absent. Three months following treatment, the alpaca was moving freely in a small paddock and had moderate hyperextension of the metacarpophalangeal joint.


Treatment of septic flexor tendonitis and suspensory desmitis with antimicrobial intraosseous regional limb perfusion in combination with systemic treatment with antimicrobials and orthopedic support resulted in an excellent outcome in this alpaca. Antimicrobial intraosseous regional limb perfusion is simple to perform and has the potential to be beneficial in the treatment of infections in the distal portion of a limb in camelids.

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