WVRC works with the Milwaukee County Zoo, offering consulting and operating on surgical and other types of cases when needed. Recently Dr. Hurley was called in to help Ace, a red kangaroo that became suddenly, life-threatenly ill. The Milwaukee County Zoo veterinarians attempted to pass an endoscope to Ace’s stomach and found the way blocked. Ace’s stomach had twisted 360 degrees around, twisting his duodenum around the bottom of his esophagus, effectively cutting off inflow and outflow to the stomach. This results in rapid bloating of the stomach and compromises the blood supply to the stomach. When the rotation is this rapid and complete, this condition is fatal within hours if not corrected.
Gastric dilatation and volvulus (often referred to as “GDV”) is a well known condition in dogs, specifically deep chested, large breed dogs such as Great Danes and German Shepherd Dogs. GDV is seen often in our emergency clinic and is one of the most common surgical emergencies seen in dogs. Ace showed a similar clinical appearance of sudden onset lethargy, drooling, attempted regurgitation, and rapid decline. Dr. Hurley traveled to the zoo and performed emergency surgery in their surgical suite on Ace to return his stomach to its correct positioning. Multiple gastropexies were performed, which means the stomach was tacked to the body wall in multiple places to prevent it from rotating out of position again. A special challenge with Ace was the unique shape of a kangaroo’s stomach, with is a long c-shaped, thin walled structure.
We are pleased to report that with some supportive care from the Ace recovered rapidly and is now back out with his pod at the zoo and is doing well. Say, “Hi”, to Ace if you see him at the zoo!