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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Multiple ocular developmental defects in four closely related alpacas

  • Author(s): Knickelbein, KE
  • Maggs, DJ
  • Reilly, CM
  • Good, KL
  • Gionfriddo, JR
  • et al.

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© 2018 American College of Veterinary Ophthalmologists Objective: To describe the clinical, gross pathologic, and histopathologic findings for a visually impaired 5.8-year-old female alpaca with multiple ocular abnormalities, as well as the clinical findings for three closely related alpacas. Animals studied: Four alpacas. Procedures: Ophthalmic examination was performed on a 16-month-old female alpaca following observation of visual impairment while hospitalized for an unrelated illness. Following acute systemic decline and death 4.5 years later, the alpaca's brain, optic nerves, and eyes were examined grossly and histologically. Ophthalmic examination of three closely related alpacas was subsequently performed. Results: The 16-month-old female alpaca (Alpaca 1) had ophthalmoscopic findings suggestive of a coloboma or hypoplasia of the retinal pigment epithelium (RPE) and choroid, and suspected optic nerve hypoplasia OU. Histopathology performed 4.5 years later revealed moderate to severe choroidal, RPE, and retinal hypoplasia with multifocal retinal detachments OU. However, the optic nerves were normal in size and histologic appearance when compared to an age-matched control. Clinical evaluation of the 2-year-old son of Alpaca 1 revealed iris colobomata OU and choroidal dysplasia/hypoplasia OD in addition to nonpathologic variations in melanin density including heterochromia iridis and a subalbinotic fundus OU. Clinical evaluation of the 13-year-old mother of Alpaca 1 revealed heterochromia iridis, cataracts, and a subalbinotic fundus OU. A 2-year-old half-brother of Alpaca 1 had an RPE and choroidal coloboma OS. Conclusion: The developmental ocular abnormalities diagnosed in these closely related alpacas are likely hereditary.

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