Bovis ISSN 2398-2993

Neonatology: abdominal distension

Synonym(s): Bloat

Contributor(s): Mike Reynolds , Paul Wood

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Introduction

  • This article outlines some of the causes of abdominal distension in the neonatal calf and will help the reader to compile a differential list when faced with such a patient.
  • It discusses some differentials and directs the reader to more detailed information, within Bovis, where appropriate.
  • It advises as to appropriate diagnostics for such cases.

Clinical diagnostics for abdominal distension in the calf

  • Assessment of calves with abdominal distensions starts with a thorough Clinical examination Clinical examination.
  • Clinical signs of pain or discomfort such as bruxism, restlessness, kicking at the abdomen, tachypnea, tachycardia, signs of sepsis and sudden death may be seen.
  • The side of the animal that is distended may give a clue as to the etiology of the condition.
  • Abdominal auscultation, percussion and ballotment must be performed and may reveal the presence of gas pings consistent with intestinal distension or splashing sounds consistent with fluid in the forestomachs or free in the abdomen.
  • Ultrasound examination may reveal distension of the intestines, absence or presence of intestinal contents or extra-luminal fluid formation and peritonitis. 
  • Should ultrasound examination not be available, and as many causes of abdominal distension are surgical emergencies, an exploratory Laparotomy Laparotomy may need to be performed.
  • It has been shown that animals with non-surgical lesions, are not adversely affected in terms of prognosis by undergoing surgical exploration.

Rumenal tympany

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Intestinal Volvulus

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Intussusception

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Atresia

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Trichobezoars

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Abomasal ulceration

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Abomasal Dilation and Tympany

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Abomasal Dislocations

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Ruptured bladder

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Further Reading

Publications

Refereed Papers

  • Recent references from PubMed and VetMed Resource.
  • Anderson D E (2008) Surgical Diseases of the Small Intestine. Vet Clin Food Anim (24) pp 383–401 PubMed.
  • Desrochers A & Anderson D E (2016) Intestinal Surgery. Vet Clin Food Anim (32) pp 645–671 PubMed.
  • Marshall T S (2009) Abomasal Ulceration and Tympany of Calves. Vet Clin Food Anim (25) pp 209–220 PubMed.
  • Mulun P Y & Desrochers A (2005) Surgical Abdomen of the Calf. Vet Clin Food Anim (21) pp 101–132 PubMed.


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