Article Text

Mammals (other)
Gastric lactophytobezoar causing pyloric outlet obstruction in a pygmy hippopotamus calf (Choeropsis liberiensis)
  1. Michelle Barrows, Head of Veterinary Services and Conservation Medicine1,2,
  2. Charlotte Day1,2 and
  3. Daniela Denk3
  1. 1 Veterinary Services and Conservation Medicine, Bristol Zoological Society, Bristol, UK
  2. 2 School of Veterinary Sciences, University of Bristol, Bristol, UK
  3. 3 IZVG Pathology, International Zoo Veterinary Group, Keighley, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr Michelle Barrows, Bristol Zoological Society, Clifton, Bristol BS8 3HA, UK; mbarrows{at}


A one-month-old, female, mother-reared pygmy hippopotamus, Choeropsis liberiensis, died under anaesthesia after presenting with acute-onset regurgitation of milk. Abdominal radiographs revealed a radiodense mass within the stomach, which on postmortem examination was found to be a large, solid, stratified lactophytobezoar causing pyloric outlet obstruction. Lactobezoars are gastric concretions formed from solidified, undigested milk, sometimes mixed with mucus. When mixed with plant material, they are referred to as lactophytobezoars. Histopathology revealed aspiration pneumonia and erosive and suppurative tracheitis. Lactobezoars are diagnosed most commonly in premature human infants and have been reported occasionally in hand-reared felids and ursids. To the authors’ knowledge, this is the first report of a lactophytobezoar in a non-human mammal reared on its mother. Lactobezoars and lactophytobezoars should be considered in the list of differential diagnoses for emesis, regurgitation or abdominal mass in any milk-fed mammal, whether hand or parent-reared.

  • Gastroenterology
  • Pathology
  • Zoo animals

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  • Contributors All three authors contributed to management of the case, writing and reviewing the manuscript, as well as final approval.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

  • Data sharing statement The data from this case is available on ZIMs the Zoological Information Management System.

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