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Open Access Diverticulitis with Rupture and Fatal Peritonitis in a Sumatran Orangutan (Pongo pygmaeus)

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A 30-year-old male Sumatran orangutan ( Pongo pygmaeus ) presented with signs of depression, leth- argy, anorexia, and diarrhea that progressed to acute colic. Exploratory laparotomy revealed fibrinopurulent peri- tonitis and 50 cm of devitalized small intestine. The surgically resected small intestine contained several mucosal diverticula along the mesenteric attachment; one had ruptured, resulting in peritonitis. Fifteen days after surgery, the orangutan's abdominal incision dehisced. Repeated laparotomy revealed dehiscence of the distal intestinal anastomosis site, as well as extensive adhesions and purulent exudate. The defect was repaired, and the abdomen was extensively irrigated and closed, but the animal died within 24 hours. To our knowledge, this is the first report of diverticulitis in a great ape. Diverticulosis should be considered in the differential diagnosis for great apes that present with signs of depression, lethargy, anorexia, and/or diarrhea.

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2000-08-01

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  • Comparative Medicine (CM), an international journal of comparative and experimental medicine, is the leading English-language publication in the field and is ranked by the Science Citation Index in the upper third of all scientific journals. The mission of CM is to disseminate high-quality, peer-reviewed information that expands biomedical knowledge and promotes human and animal health through the study of laboratory animal disease, animal models of disease, and basic biologic mechanisms related to disease in people and animals.

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