Dysuria in camelids is usually associated with the presence of lower urinary tract disease such as urolithiasis. As another differential diagnosis, urine retention may be caused by neurological disturbances resulting from infections of the spinal cord, discospondylitis or trauma.
A 2.5-year-old male Huacaya alpaca (Vicugna pacos) presented with dysuria due to damage of the lumbosacral intumescence of the spinal cord. On presentation the alpaca was recumbent. Clinical examination revealed abdominal pain, oliguria, leucopenia with neutrophilia, and slightly elevated creatinine kinase. Ultrasonography of the abdomen showed an irregularly shaped, dilated urinary bladder with hyperechoic serosa. Magnetic resonance imaging revealed discospondylitis of the fourth and fifth lumbar vertebrae and herniation of the intervertebral disc between these vertebrae and the spinal cord. Postmortem examination confirmed severe chronic purulent discospondylitis with ventral spondylosis and narrowing of the spinal canal. Urolithiasis could not be verified.
Although rare, diseases of the spinal cord should be considered as a differential diagnosis for impaired micturition in camelids.