Abdominal catastrophe


A common cause of sudden death in adults is an abdominal catastrophe, characterized by a torsion/twist of the abdominal contents. The twist is commonly associated with the intestinal tract at the mesentery root or associated with a mesenteric tear. Occasionally, the spleen or a liver lobe can become associated with a twist.


Twist bloated pig 1

Twist general view

General view of an abdominal twist. The abdomen may be more bloated

Gross post-mortem view of the pig on the left demonstrating the intestinal torsion

Twist mesentery 1

Torsion spleen stomach

A twist at the mesenteric root

Twist/torsion of the spleen at the greater omentum

Liver torsion

Liver torsion 2

Torsion of the liver lobe appearance in the abdomen and the liver laid out note the dark congested left lateral liver lobe

Intestinal entrapment

Intestinal perforation

Hernia stricture 2

Peritonitis ruptured bowel

Intestinal entrapment (white arrow) in a scrotal hernia (black arrow)

This is uncommon, but can result in sudden death associated with an acute peritonitis and release of abdominal contents into the peritoneum. Plastic hard brush bristles have been found in a few cases

Septic peritonitis

Gastric Ulcerative Rupture

Peritonitis septic 3

Gastric rupture adult

Acute peritonitis associated with abscessation in the peritoneal cavity

Sudden death which revealed a large ruptured gastric ulcer releasing blood into the peritoneal cavity

Rupture of the urethra

Anat Urinary UVJnormal label

Urinary trauma clostridia uvj 12

This may occur during mating, the boar enters the urethra rather than the anterior vagina. Tearing of the urethra occurs, with the sow dying due to haemorrhage.