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. 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). 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).
Boos, A., Geyer, H., Müller, U., Peter, J., Schmid, T., Gerspach, C., … Braun, U. (2013). Situs ambiguus in a Brown Swiss cow with polysplenia: case report. BMC Veterinary Research, 9, 34. https://doi.org/10.1186/1746-6148-9-34