Iliopsoasitis in Two Western Lowland Gorillas (Gorilla gorilla gorilla)
American Association of Zoo Veterinarians Conference 2007
Jennifer J. D’Agostino, DVM; Gary West, DVM, DACZM
Oklahoma City Zoo, Oklahoma City, OK, USA


A 13-year-old female Western lowland gorilla (Gorilla gorilla gorilla) presented with chronic intermittent purulent discharge around the vulva and perineum presumed to be due to a previous bite wound. An abscess isolated to the iliopsoas muscle was diagnosed by magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and Proteus mirabilis was cultured. A 45-year-old female Western lowland gorilla presented with acute onset posterior paresis caused by discospondylitis. A large retroperitoneal abscess involving the iliopsoas muscle was subsequently identified on computed tomography (CT) scan and Klebsiella pneumoniae was cultured. Both cases exhibited a leukocytosis, neutrophilia, anemia, hypocalcemia, and hypoalbuminemia. The gorilla with the isolated muscle abscess was treated medically long-term with enrofloxacin and amoxicillin-clavulanate. The gorilla with discospondylitis and large retroperitoneal abscess was treated with surgical drainage and long-term chloramphenicol and cefuroxime. Both gorillas recovered, however, the gorilla with the isolated abscess continues to have intermittent purulent drainage from the left inguinal lymph node.

Iliopsoas abscess is a rare condition in humans. It can be primary, from hematogenous spread of bacteria, or secondary to an infectious focus in the abdomen.1 The most common causes of iliopsoas abscess in humans are primary hematogenous spread, postoperative infection, Crohn’s disease, neoplasia, or spondylitis.1 Captive female gorillas appear to have a high prevalence of intraabdominal abscesses.2 Iliopsoas infection can lead to peritonitis and sepsis in human and may be a source for intraabdominal abscessation in captive gorillas.

Literature Cited

1.  Baier PK, Arampatzis G, Imdahl A, Hopt UT. The iliopsoas abscess: aetiology, therapy, and outcome. Langenbecks Arc Surg. 2006;391:411–417.

2.  Mylniczenko ND. A preliminary report on intra-abdominal abscesses in captive Western lowland gorillas (Gorilla gorilla gorilla). In: Proceedings of the American Association of Zoo Veterinarians. 2003:62–66.


Speaker Information
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Jennifer J. D’Agostino, DVM
Oklahoma City Zoo
Oklahoma City, OK, USA

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