Diagnosis and treatment of mesenteric volvulus in a red kangaroo (Macropus rufus)

Knafo, S. Emmanuelle, Rosenblatt, Alana J., Morrisey, James K., Flanders, James A., Thompson, Margret S. and Knapp-Hoch, Heather M. (2014) Diagnosis and treatment of mesenteric volvulus in a red kangaroo (Macropus rufus). Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association, 244 7: 844-850. doi:10.2460/javma.244.7.844

Author Knafo, S. Emmanuelle
Rosenblatt, Alana J.
Morrisey, James K.
Flanders, James A.
Thompson, Margret S.
Knapp-Hoch, Heather M.
Title Diagnosis and treatment of mesenteric volvulus in a red kangaroo (Macropus rufus)
Journal name Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0003-1488
Publication date 2014-04
Year available 2014
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.2460/javma.244.7.844
Open Access Status Not Open Access
Volume 244
Issue 7
Start page 844
End page 850
Total pages 7
Place of publication Schaumburg, IL United States
Publisher American Veterinary Medical Association
Collection year 2015
Language eng
Formatted abstract
An 8-year-old male red kangaroo (Macropus rufus) was evaluated with a 2-week history of vomiting and anorexia. Four days prior, the patient became refractory to medical management. The kangaroo was admitted for diagnostic testing and treatment including whole body CT, blood work, and emergency laparotomy.


CT findings of a severely enlarged stomach, splenic displacement, and a whirl sign were indicative of mesenteric volvulus with gastric dilatation-volvulus (GDV). Contrast enhancement of abdominal viscera suggested intact arterial blood supply; however, compression of the caudal vena cava and portal vein indicated venous obstruction. Results of preoperative blood work suggested biliary stasis without evidence of inflammation. Additionally, a tooth root abscess was diagnosed on the basis of results of CT.


Exploratory laparotomy confirmed the diagnosis of mesenteric volvulus and GDV. The volvuli were corrected by clockwise derotation, and a gastropexy was performed. Tissue samples were obtained from the spleen and liver for evaluation. The kangaroo recovered from surgery, and the abscessed tooth was extracted 6 days later. Eight days after initial evaluation, the kangaroo was discharged.


In the present report, the CT whirl sign was used to diagnose volvulus of the abdominal viscera, which suggests that this diagnostic indicator has utility in veterinary patients. Mesenteric volvulus with GDV was successfully treated in a nondomestic species. The tooth root abscess, a common condition in macropods, may explain the historic episodes of anorexia reported by the owner and may have contributed to the development of mesenteric volvulus and GDV in this kangaroo.
Keyword Small Intestinal Volvulus
Small Bowel Volvulus
Ct Whirl Sign
Abdominal Computed Tomography
Gastric Volvulus
Wandering Spleen
Acute Abdomen
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Provisional Code
Institutional Status Non-UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collection: School of Veterinary Science Publications
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Created: Mon, 19 Oct 2015, 18:21:05 EST by Alana Rosenblatt on behalf of School of Veterinary Science