Diverticulitis with rupture and fatal peritonitis in a Sumatran orangutan (Pongo pygmaeus)

S. Murray, J. M. Zdziarski, M. Bush, S. B. Citino, F. Y. Schulman, R. Montali

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


A 30-year-old male Sumatran orangutan (Pongo pygmaeus) presented with signs of depression, lethargy, anorexia, and diarrhea that progressed to acute colic. Exploratory laparotomy revealed fibrinopurulent peritonitis and 50 cm of devitalized small intestine. The surgically resected small intestine contained several mucosal diverticula along the mesenteric attachment; one had ruptured, resulting in peritonitis. Fifteen days after surgery, the orangutan's abdominal incision dehisced. Repeated laparotomy revealed dehiscence of the distal intestinal anastomosis site, as well as extensive adhesions and purulent exudate. The defect was repaired, and the abdomen was extensively irrigated and closed, but the animal died within 24 hours. To our knowledge, this is the first report of diverticulitis in a great ape. Diverticulosis should be considered in the differential diagnosis for great apes that present with signs of depression, lethargy, anorexia, and/or diarrhea.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)452-454
Number of pages3
JournalComparative medicine
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jan 1 2000

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • veterinary(all)


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