Camelid Stomach - Anatomy & Physiology

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Camelids have a similar digestive structure to other ruminants, although camelids only have three separate stomach compartments compared to the four found in domestic species. The first element of the camelid GI tract, known as C1, can be compared to the rumen whilst the second, known as C2 can be compared to the reticulum. The final element of the tract, C3 can be compared to the abomasum. Therefore camelids do not have a structure comparable to an omasum.

This first compartment acts as a 'hopper-like' container and is most comparible to the rumen, although with some notable differences. Dorsal regions have stratified squamous epithelium and are non-keratinized whilst ventral regions (glandular saccules) are lined by mucinous epithelial cells. There are no papillae present in C1. C1 is thought to be involved in absorption of water and solutes, but is not thought to play a role in bicarbonate formation. The contents of C1 are homogenous and fibrous and there is no dorsal gas cap as can be seen in ruminants. A single walled oesophageal groove is present.

This compartment is comprised of mostly glandular epithelium except for the area around the oesophageal groove. C2 also contains numerous glandular divisions forming a retiform pattern in a similar manner to the reticulum.

This compartment is entirely glandular and the terminal 1/5th portion contains gastric glands. The mucosa of the glandular area is reddish brown whilst the non-glandular area is pink.

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