Surgical repair and management of congenital intestinal atresia in 68 calves

Vet Surg. 2010 Jan;39(1):115-20. doi: 10.1111/j.1532-950X.2009.00611.x.


Objective: To determine outcome and survival rate after surgical treatment of intestinal atresia, gender predilection, and effect of rectal palpation on the cause of atresia coli in calves. STUDY DESIGN; Prospective clinical study.

Animals: Newborn calves (n=68).

Methods: Data collected were husbandry system, anamneses, physical examination findings, surgical treatments, and postoperative results. Calves with atresia ani, and with atresia coli et recti had anal reconstruction and right flank colostomy, respectively. In midflank colostomized calves, the inner muscular layers were dissected to form a valve-like stoma.

Results: Of 68 calves with intestinal atresia, 37 were treated surgically. Anal reconstruction was performed in 21 calves with atresia ani with a long-term survival rate of at least 6 months with good condition. Colostomy was performed in 14 calves with atresia coli and 1 with atresia coli et recti; survival rate was 73%. The case morbidity rate for intestinal atresia was 13.8% and for atresia coli, 5.7% in the hospital population. No gender predilection for occurrence of atresia ani and atresia coli was identified. Palpation per rectum for early pregnancy diagnosis did not predispose to atresia coli.

Conclusion: Surgical treatment of atresia ani through circular anal skin removal has a good prognosis for survival. Colostomy is not an acceptable treatment from the calf's perspective because of the resulting poor condition but the high survival rate is important to allow continued milk production of the dam.

Clinical relevance: Early diagnosis, supportive treatment, and surgical correction are important in management of atresia coli.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Anus, Imperforate / surgery
  • Anus, Imperforate / veterinary
  • Cattle
  • Cattle Diseases / diagnosis
  • Cattle Diseases / surgery*
  • Colostomy / veterinary
  • Female
  • Intestinal Atresia / diagnosis
  • Intestinal Atresia / surgery
  • Intestinal Atresia / veterinary*
  • Intestines / surgery
  • Male
  • Prospective Studies
  • Rectum / surgery
  • Sex Factors
  • Treatment Outcome