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Keywords:

  • Heart failure;
  • Liver;
  • Mural endocarditis;
  • Thrombosis

Background: A description of the clinical signs and necropsy findings in 10 alpacas with thrombotic endocarditis.

Animals: Clinical cases admitted to 2 veterinary referral hospitals between May 1998 and December 2006.

Methods: A retrospective study was performed by searching hospital records to identify alpacas diagnosed with endocarditis.

Results: Common clinical findings included sternal recumbency, tachycardia, tachypnea, and abdominal distension. Heart sounds were recorded as normal in 7 of 10 alpacas. Pleural and pericardial effusion and ascites were often present. Complete blood cell counts often suggested inflammation, and liver enzyme activity was often increased. When echocardiography was performed, a soft tissue density was imaged within the right ventricle. All alpacas died or were euthanized. Necropsy revealed mural endocarditis with right ventricular or biventricular fibrinous thrombi obliterating the ventricular lumina with no valvular involvement in 6 of 10 affected animals. Bacteria were not consistently identified as a cause for the endocarditic lesions. Eight of the 10 alpacas had evidence of hepatic fluke infestation.

Conclusions and Clinical Importance: Valvular and mural thrombotic endocarditis should be included in the list of differential diagnoses for hepatomegaly, abdominal distension, and other signs of right-sided congestive heart failure in alpacas. The prognosis of this disease is grave.