Omphalocele in Neonate Calf




Background: An omphalocele is a rare congenital malformation characterized by the protrusion of the abdominal contents through the base of the umbilical cord. A defect in the midline of the abdomen results in the abdominal contents being covered by a membranous sac near the umbilical cord, which ultimately results in the failure of the abdominal organs to return to the abdominal cavity in the early gestational stages and the development of an omphalocele. This study aimed to address the diagnosis, medical-surgical management, and treatment for an omphalocele in a newborn calf.

Case:A 2-day-old male Red Angus calf, weighing 35 kg, was referred to the HVU-UFSM. According to the owner, the animal was born via normal delivery, had ingested milk, was alert, and had an enlarged pendulous abdomen at the umbilicus. Physical examination did not show any changes in vital functions; however, intestinal stasis was observed. An in-depth examination revealed the presence of a round mass of tissue approximately 15 cm in diameter that was filling the remnant of the umbilical cord. This structure was covered by a thin, slightly dried membrane that isolated the contents from the external environment. On palpation, the mass was firm and non-reducible, and an omphalocele was suspected. Given the severity of the condition, the animal immediately underwent an emergency surgical procedure to correct the congenital defect. The surgery involved placing the intestinal loops that were present inside the sac in the abdominal cavity. At the end of the procedure, the animal was placed in a quadrupedal position to better assess omphalocele reduction. Postoperatively, the following medications were administered: a single dose of an analgesic along with a dipyrone and hyoscine-based antispasmodic (25 mg/kg, IM), an enrofloxacin-based antibiotic (2.5 mg/kg, IM) once a day for 7 days, and a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug, meloxicam (0.5 mg/kg, IM), for 3 days; in addition, the surgical wound was cleaned with a 2% povidone-iodine solution. The animal defecated shortly after the surgery. It received the first postoperative treatment and subsequently recommended therapy on the farm. Wound healing was observed after 10 days, and the stitches were removed by a local veterinarian.

Discussion: Birth defects, which are not uncommon in the offspring of a herd, are anomalies in the structure and/or function of a certain system of the organism or part of it. An omphalocele is one of these anomalies and has been reported in foals, cats, dogs, pigs, buffalos, calves, goats, dolphins, and sheep. However, its cause is remains unknown. Although it is speculated that the condition is caused by a recessive genetic trait, it has not been confirmed as a hereditary anomaly. In humans, omphalocele is often associated with other anomalies and, in addition to the intestine, other organs of the abdomen may be involved, which significantly increases mortality. The animal in this study presented with intestinal stasis solely due to the entrapment of portions of the small intestine, and no other organic alteration was found to be associated with the omphalocele. Other abnormalities associated with this congenital defect have not been reported in literature either. The case described herein demonstrates how the clinical approach, early diagnosis, surgical intervention, and therapeutic management achieved the objective of correcting an omphalocele in a neonate calf.

Keywords: congenital defect, omphalocele, malformation.

Título: Onfalocele em bezerro neonato

Descritores: defeito congênito, onfalopatia, malformação.


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Author Biographies

Rodrigo Dalmina Rech, Federal University of Santa Maria

Department of Large Animal Clinic

Isadora Comparsi Coelho, Federal University of Santa Maria

Department of Large Animal Clinic

Patrícia Soares Deponti, Federal University of Santa Maria

Department of Large Animal Clinic

Andrey Berlesi Agnes, Federal University of Santa Maria

Department of Large Animal Clinic

Luís Felipe Dutra Corrêa, Federal University of Santa Maria

Department of Large Animal Clinic

Ricardo Pozzobon, Federal University of Santa Maria

Department of Large Animal Clinic

Renata Farinelli de Siqueira, Federal University of Santa Maria

Department of Large Animal Clinic

Marta Lizandra do Rêgo Leal, Federal University of Santa Maria

Department of Large Animal Clinic


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How to Cite

Rech, R. D., Coelho, I. C., Deponti, P. S., Agnes, A. B., Corrêa, L. F. D., Pozzobon, R., de Siqueira, R. F., & Leal, M. L. do R. (2022). Omphalocele in Neonate Calf. Acta Scientiae Veterinariae, 50.

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