Background: Ascites due to thrombosis of the caudal vena cava is relatively seldom in cattle. To our knowledge, there have been no reports of ascites secondary to compression of the caudal vena cava by liver abscesses. This case report describes the findings in a 3.7-year-old Brown Swiss cow with this disease.
Case presentation: The cow had a distended, pear-shaped abdomen. Ultrasonography of the abdomen showed a massive accumulation of hypoechoic fluid and dilatation of the caudal vena cava. A tentative diagnosis of thrombosis of the caudal vena cava was made, and because of a poor prognosis, the cow was slaughtered. Incision of the abdominal wall released approximately 100 litres of yellow, clear, non-malodorous fluid from the peritoneal cavity. The liver was markedly enlarged, and two abscesses, approximately 10 cm in diameter, were situated immediately adjacent to the caudal vena cava causing compression of the vein. No microbiology culture was done. The final diagnosis was ascites secondary to compression of the caudal vena cava by two liver abscesses and secondary hepatic fibrosis.
Conclusion: This report suggests that compression of the caudal vena cava by liver abscesses should be included in the list of differential diagnosis of conditions associated with ascites and dilatation of the caudal vena in cattle.