TitleCharacterization of the microanatomy and histopathology of placentas from aborted, stillborn, and normally delivered alpacas (Vicugna pacos) and llamas (Lama glama).
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2012
AuthorsSchaefer DL, Bildfell RJ, Long P, Löhr CV
JournalVet Pathol
Date Published2012 Mar
KeywordsAbortion, Veterinary, Animals, Camelids, New World, Female, Fetal Weight, Gestational Age, Male, Mucins, Placenta, Placental Insufficiency, Pregnancy, Pregnancy Complications, Prospective Studies, Retrospective Studies, Stillbirth

From 2002 to 2007, 101 camelid abortions and stillbirths were submitted to the Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory at Oregon State University (84 alpacas [Vicugna pacos], 13 llamas [Lama glama], 4 unknown). For most cases (n = 67), a cause was not determined by routine testing. Eighty-five submissions included placenta for microscopic examination, of which 55 were from abortions to unknown causes (idiopathic). Microscopic features of placentas from abortion/stillbirth were compared with those from 19 camelids delivered normally (6 alpacas, 12 llamas, 1 unknown) and with those from 4 alpaca fetuses of known gestational age collected during the dam's necropsy. The most common microscopic findings in abortion/stillbirth placentas were mineralization (n = 57) and mucinous edema (n = 27) of the chorioallantoic stroma. One or more of these features were also observed in 22 of 23 placentas from normal pregnancies/deliveries and therefore interpreted as incidental findings. The comparison of alpaca placentas after matching for gestational parameters (crown-rump length, weight, days of gestation; n = 41) revealed hypoplasia of placental villi in 5 of 22 idiopathic abortions and in 1 abortion due to umbilical torsion; hypoplasia was further suspected in an additional 6 abortions of unknown cause and 2 abortions of known cause. The identified villous hypoplasia is assumed to have resulted in placental insufficiency. When placental insufficiency is included as cause, idiopathic abortions are reduced from 66.2 to 47.9% of alpaca cases with histopathologic examination of placenta and from 66.3 to 52.5% of alpaca and llama abortions overall. This study also permitted the generation of a linear regression curve correlating alpaca fetal crown-rump length with fetal age.

Alternate JournalVet. Pathol.
PubMed ID21551426