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Vater, Anke; Maierl, Johann (26. July 2018): Systematic and topographic anatomy of the stomach of alpacas. 32nd Congress of the European Association of Veterinary Anatomists, 25. - 28. Juli 2018, Hannover, Germany.
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Abstract

Introduction: The forage of the alpacas’ (Vicugna pacos) original habitat is composed of plants with a high amount of structural carbohydrates, which are hard to digest. The gastric anatomy of alpacas is adapted to the physiological process of ruminating. Together with the intestines, it is responsible for the alpacas’ ability to adapt to the vast variety of forage types effectively and to changing environmental conditions during the rainy and dry seasons. To date there is no detailed description of the alpaca stomach available. Materials and Methods: Six animals were used for dissection, all of which were euthanized for medical reasons. The vascular system of two alpacas was injected with latex milk to illustrate the course of the visceral blood supply. One alpaca’s stomach was used for formalin-fixed preparations. Results: The stomach was found to be separated into three compartments (C1, C2, C3) and consisted of two sacculated areas in C1 and another comb-like system in C2. The compartments were lined by a smooth mucosa. Only the deep cells of C2 were lined by a papillated mucosa. C3 was separated into two areas by a distinct thickening of the mucosa in the aborad third of this compartment. The main blood supply was provided by the coeliac artery, which divided into the hepatic artery and the left gastric artery, supplying liver, stomach, spleen, pancreas and the initial part of the duodenum. Conclusion: The gross anatomy of the stomachs of llamas and alpacas is very similar. However, the different feeding behaviours in the closely related llamas and alpacas are mirrored in the different proportions within the gastrointestinal tract. The specific design of the stomach together with its related functions and physiological processes confirm that the evolution of Tylopoda and Ruminantia took place in parallel and not in homology. The vascular supply of the forestomach is discussed concerning the nomenclature as the camelid vascular supply does not correspond to that in ruminants.