A 5-month-old alpaca cria was examined for chronic poor growth and repeated episodes of diarrhea. Examination of feces for parasites yielded negative results. Serum bile acid and blood ammonia concentrations were high. Subsequent examination by ultrasonography, percutaneous splenic portography, and colonic scintigraphy did not reveal evidence of a portosystemic vascular anomaly. Exploratory celiotomy with mesenteric vein portography revealed a colonic vein shunt in the caudal portion of the abdomen from the caudal vena cava to the portal vein. The shunt vessel was ligated without incident. Following surgery, the cria began to gain weight and was more alert. Eighteen months after surgery, the cria was doing well, although it had loose feces and was slightly small for its age. Portosystemic shunts are rare in cattle and horses but should be considered in alpacas with chronic poor growth when parasitism has been ruled out.
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