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Open Access Highly Accessed Case report

Situs ambiguus in a Brown Swiss cow with polysplenia: case report

Alois Boos1*, Hans Geyer1, Urs Müller1, Jeanne Peter1, Tanja Schmid2, Christian Gerspach2, Matteo Previtali2, Maja Rütten3, Titus Sydler3, Colin C Schwarzwald4, Elisabeth M Schraner1 and Ueli Braun2

Author Affiliations

1 Institute of Veterinary Anatomy, Vetsuisse Faculty, University of Zurich, Winterthurerstrasse 260, 8057, Zurich, Switzerland

2 Department of Farm Animals, Vetsuisse Faculty, University of Zurich, Winterthurerstrasse 260, 8057, Zurich, Switzerland

3 Institute of Veterinary Pathology, Vetsuisse Faculty, University of Zurich, Winterthurerstrasse 268, 8057, Zurich, Switzerland

4 Equine Department, Vetsuisse Faculty, University of Zurich, Winterthurerstrasse 260, 8057, Zurich, Switzerland

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BMC Veterinary Research 2013, 9:34  doi:10.1186/1746-6148-9-34

Published: 20 February 2013

Abstract

Background

Laterality defects are rare in cattle and usually manifest as asplenia or polysplenia syndrome. These syndromes may be associated with situs ambiguus, which is a dislocation of some but not all internal organs. The objective of this report was to describe the clinical and post-mortem findings including the macroscopic and microscopic anatomy of selected organs in a cow with polysplenia and situs ambiguus.

Case presentation

A 3.5-year-old Brown Swiss cow was referred to the Department of Farm Animals, Vetsuisse Faculty, University of Zurich, because of poor appetite and recurrent indigestion. A diagnosis of situs ambiguus was based on the results of physical examination, ultrasonography, exploratory laparotomy and post-mortem examination. The latter revealed that the rumen was on the right side and lacked compartmentalisation. There were two spleens, one on the left (26.5 x 12.0 cm) and one on the right (20.5 x 5.5 cm), and the omasum was located craniolateral to the ruminoreticulum on the left. The abomasum was located on the right, although it had initially been displaced to the left. The three-lobed liver occupied the left and central cranioventral aspect of the abdominal cavity (cavum abdominis). Only the right and left hepatic veins (vena hepatica dextra and sinistra) drained into the thoracic segment of the caudal vena cava (vena cava caudalis), and histological changes in the liver were indicative of impaired haemodynamics. The mesojejunum was not fused with the mesentery of the spiral loop (ansa spiralis) of the ascending colon (colon ascendens). The latter was folded and the transverse colon (colon transversum) ran caudal to the cranial mesenteric artery (arteria mesenteria cranialis). Fibrotic constrictions were seen in the lumen of the caecum and proximal loop (ansa proximalis) of the ascending colon. Both kidneys were positioned retroperitoneally in a lumbar position. The lumbar segment of the caudal vena cava did not descend to the liver and instead drained into the right azygous vein (vena azygos dextra).

Conclusions

Recurrent digestive problems and poor production in this patient may have been caused by a lack of rumen compartmentalisation, abnormal abomasal motility, constrictions in the large intestine (intestinum crassum) and fibrosis of the liver. The abomasum had abnormal motility most likely because it was anchored inadequately and only at its cranial aspect to the liver by the lesser omentum (omentum minus) and to the dorsal abdominal wall and rumen by a short greater omentum (omentum majus).