Omental torsion in a captive polar bear (Ursus maritimus)

Jose L Mendez-Angulo, Francisco J. Funes, Ava M. Trent, Michelle Willette, Kerry Woodhouse, Anna C. Renier

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


This is the first case report of an omental torsion in a polar bear (Ursus maritimus). A captive, 23-yr-old, 250-kg, intact female polar bear presented to the University of Minnesota Veterinary Medical Center with a 2-day history of lethargy, depression, and vomiting. Abdominal ultrasound identified large amounts of hyperechoic free peritoneal fluid. Ultrasound-guided abdominocentesis was performed and yielded thick serosanguinous fluid compatible with a hemoabdomen. An exploratory laparotomy revealed a large amount of malodorous, serosanguineous fluid and multiple necrotic blood clots associated with a torsion of the greater omentum and rupture of a branch of the omental artery. A partial omentectomy was performed to remove the necrotic tissue and the abdomen was copiously lavaged. The polar bear recovered successfully and is reported to be clinically well 6 mo later. This condition should be considered as a differential in bears with clinical signs of intestinal obstruction and hemoabdomen.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)169-172
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of Zoo and Wildlife Medicine
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 2014


  • Hemoabdomen
  • Ursus maritimus
  • laparotomy
  • omentum
  • polar bear
  • volvulus


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