A polycystic disease of the liver was diagnosed in 12 adult, free-living chamois (Rupicaprae rupicaprae) from alpine regions in the Western part of Austria. The animals (eight female, four male), all in advanced age (average 13 yr old), were killed by local hunters, most because of emaciation or abnormal behavior. The livers of the animals were enlarged and contained multiple, thin-walled cysts of various sizes filled with serous, amber fluid. No evidence for parasites was found in the cysts. There were no cysts present in other organs. The cysts were lined by a single layer of flattened or low, cubical epithelium indicating biliary origin. Except in one case, no fibrosis was found in the adjacent liver tissue. In six cases, mild eosinophilic inflammation in the surrounding hepatic parenchyma suggested that the cysts could result from previous parasitic migration. Although nothing is known regarding heredity, these morphologic findings may also indicate an adult type of polycystic disease. To our knowledge, this is the first report describing polycystic liver disease in this species.
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Vol. 46 • No. 2