Abomasal displacement (left, right or anterioventral displacement of the abomasum) is an infrequent gastrointestinal disorder of cattle worldwide which results in cattle deaths and economic losses for the cattle industry.
Causes of abomasal displacement is considered to be multifactorial:
- Abomasal hypomotility sue to mastitis, milk fever, metritis and genetic predisposition
- High-concentrate, low-roughage diets
- Hepatic lipidosis (Fatty liver syndrome)
The majority of cases are seen within a month post-calving. Abomasal displacement occurs as a result of an impairment to abomasal motility, causing the abomasum to be displaced upward along the left abdominal wall lateral to the rumen. The omasum, reticulum, and liver are also rotated to varying degrees. Torsion of blood vessels sometimes leads to acute necrosis of the abomasum and death ensues.
In affected cattle, anorexia and decreased milk production are usually the only visible signs. Ketosis is observed in cows that have been anorexic for some time. Analysis of bloods can be disappointing, as total protein, albumin, glucose and cholesterol are often within normal limits. However, the peritoneal fluid often shows distinctive features of ischaemia and inflammation. An increase in serum Amyloid A or haptoglobin may indicate the presence of hepatic lipidosis in cattle with abomasal displacement.
The most important diagnostic physical finding is a ping on simultaneous auscultation and percussion of the abdomen.
Ultrasonography may be helpful in supporting a diagnosis. Often, diagnosis requires and exploratory laparotomy to confirm.
Cattle which show signs of circulatory compromise should be treated as medical emergencies. A laparotomy is usually indicated in these cases.
Anti-inflammatory therapy is usually required and medical treatment should be directed to prevent complications of ischaemia and reperfusion. Bethanacol may be warranted in cases where spasticity of the abomasum is suspected.
Broad spectrum antimicrobial therapy such as enrofloxacin, penicillins or ceftiofur are advisable. Erythromycin has prokinetic effects in cattle and may be more effective at increasing abomasal motility and emptying.
In severe cases, intravenous fluid therapy is warranted. Providing treatment is instigated early, most cases of abomasal displacement respond to treatment, unless omasal-abomasal or reticulo-omasal-abomasal volvulus has occurred.
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- Merck Vet Manual
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