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J Am Vet Med Assoc. 2000 Feb 1;216(3):380-2.

Diagnosis and treatment of torsion of the spiral colon in an alpaca.

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Department of Large Animal Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, Oregon State University, Corvallis 97301, USA.


A 14-year-old 61.7-kg (136-lb) alpaca was examined for colic of 24 hours' duration. An exploratory celiotomy was performed because of lack of response to medical treatment and ultrasonography revealed an abnormally large amount of free fluid in the peritoneal cavity. Exploration of the abdomen revealed a 20-cm diameter mass, consisting of most of the ascending colon. The spiral colon was thick and edemetous, and it was decided to resect the spiral colon. Following a few complications, the alpaca was discharged 17 days after surgery. Colic in camelids is considered a severe problem because clinical signs are subtle and often not recognized until the condition is untreatable. Camelids are reported to be stoic animals, and may have few signs of pain despite severe abdominal disease. Alpacas with signs of abdominal pain should undergo early and complete physical, laboratory, and diagnostic imaging evaluations. Rapid identification of the need for surgery is vital for a successful outcome.

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