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Congenital Accessory Tongue and its Surgical Removal in a Calf.


A fifteen days old calf was presented with an accessory tongue. It was ligated at the base and excised from the site. Congenital malformations of tongue are rare and an accessory tongue is extremely uncommon.

Keywords: Accessory; calf; tongue


The tongue is an important digestive organ of cow and other animals. It is musculomembranous in nature (Jabbar, 2014), acts as prehensile organ and helps in taking food, mastication, swallowing and rumination. Structural and functional disorders of the newborns are defined as congenital anomalies (Kapakin et al., 2009). Genetic, environmental, stress related factors (Arthur et al., 1996), nutritional disorders (Bellows, 1975), teratogens, radiation, use of medicinal products during pregnancy and erroneous selection for breeding the animals have been reported among reasons that cause such anomalies.

Development of Tongue

The tongue is formed by fusion of three structures in embryonic period. By the end of fourth week, anterior two thirds of tongue (oral part) develop from 2 distal and 1 median (tuberculum impar) tongue buds. These buds arise from proliferation of mesenchymal tissue of first pair of pharyngeal (branchial) arches. The posterior pharyngeal one third of tongue derives from two structures: the copula and hypobranchial eminence. These regions arise from proliferation of mesenchymal tissue of 2nd, 3rd and 4th pairs of pharyngeal arches. Following formation of tuberculum impar, two lateral swellings appear at both sides of first pharyngeal (branchial) arch, which extend into centre of primary oral cavity. These are named as tuberculae linguale laterales. The lateral lingual structures develop rapidly and gradually cover tuberculum impar. These three structures fuse to form free part of tongue which has ability to move within oral cavity. Any defect that occurs during embryonic development in this period leads to various malformations. Double or accessory tongue, which is a rarely encountered anomaly results from development of tongue from lateral swelling (tuberculum linguale) in two parts (Emmanouil and Kerameos, 1992 and Bartholdson et al., 1991).


In domestic animals, congenital anomalies present themselves in various types and severities. The most frequently encountered anomalies are those of skeleton-musculature, digestive and central nervous systems, whereas disorders of urogenital system, eyes and skin occur less frequently. The most common anomalies observed in cattle include arthrogryposis, hydrocephalus, dermoid cysts, atresia ani et recti, arqure, bouleture, hernia, umbilicalis and congenital cleft palate (palatochysis) (Aksoy et al., 2006).

The accessory tongue is a congenital anomaly rarely encountered in human and animals. Based on their examinations on children, Bartholdson et al. (1991) have reported that, the incidence of double tongue was found to be one in 50.000 children. To date, cases of double tongue in animals have been reported in a calf (Orhan, 2001) and miniature donkey (Farmand and Stohler, 1990).

Based on the results of research conducted, it has been determined that majority of cases of double tongue in animals and human being are associated with cleft palate, disorders in development of brain or other anomalies (Britto et al., 2000). The frequency of anomalies varies with species, environment in which the animal lives and also with various other factors. Since treatment is generally not preferred in all cases of anomalies in animals, current knowledge of frequency and types of congenital anomalies is limited. In fact, the main problems related to this issue is the limited number of cases reported, the inadequacy of genetic analyses and insufficiency of anatomo-pathological research. Recently, studies on congenital anomalies have increased and thereby, attention has been drawn to the significance of this subject.


A fifteen days old calf old was presented with an accessory tongue (Fig. 1). Ligation at the root part and simple surgical excision was made to remove the accessory tongue from the origin or attached site (Fig. 2). Bleeding was controlled by gauge pressure with long forceps and owner was advised to apply Glycerine at the site.

Biometrical Observation

The weight of the excised accessory tongue was measured to be 265 gms, length 32 cm. with variable diameter throughout the length.


Non syndromic tongue anomalies can be treated with simple surgical correction, but syndromic tongue anomalies need a multidisciplinary management.


The authors are very much thankful to the Dean, C.V.Sc. and A.H., OUAT, Bhubaneswar for providing necessary facilities to carry out the study and the owner of the calf for his kind cooperation.


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Arthur, G.H., Noakes, D.E., Pearson, H. and Parkinson, T.J. (1996). Veterinary Reproduction and Obstetrics. 7th ed., WB Saunders Co, London.

Bartholdson, L., Hellstrom, S.O. and Soderberg, O. (1991). A case of a double tongue. Scand J Plast Reconstr Surg Hand Surg. 25: 635.

Bellows, R.A., Rumsey, T.S. and Kasson, C.W. (1975). Effects of organic phosphate systemic insectisides on bovine embrionic survival and development. J. Amer. Vet. Med. Assoc. 36:1133-40.

Britto, J.A., Ragoowansi, R.H. and Sommerlad, B.C. (2000). Double tongue, intraoral anomalies and cleft palate-case reports and a discussion of developmental pathology. Craniofac J. 37: 410-15.

Emmanouil-Nikoloussi, E.N. and Kerameos-Foroglou, C. (1992). Developmental malformations of human tongue and associated syndromes (review). Int Rech Sci Stomatol Odontol. 35: 5-12.

Farmand, M. and Stohler, T. (1990). The median cleft of the lower lip and mandible and its surgical correction in a donkey. EV J. 22: 298-01.

Jabbar, A.I. (2014). Macroscopical and microscopical; observations of the tongue in the Iraqi goat (Capra hircus). International J. Adv. Res. 2: 642-48.

Kapakin, K.A.T., Saglam, Y.S. and Kapakin, S. (2009). Accessory tongue in a calf. Kafkas Univ Vet Fak Derg. 15:633-36.

Leipold, H.W. (1986). Neonatal disease and disease management. Congenital defects in cattle. In: Morrow DA (Ed): Current Veterinary Therapy 2. Food Anim Pract. 89:995.

Jayakrushna Das (1), Snehasis Pradhan and Srinivas Sathapathy (2)

Department of Veterinary Surgery and Radiology College of Veterinary Science and Animal Husbandry Odisha University of Agriculture and Technology (OUAT) Bhubaneswar - 751003 (Odisha)

(1.) Corresponding author. E-mail:

(2.) Department of Veterinary Anatomy and Histology
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Title Annotation:Short Communication
Author:Das, Jayakrushna; Pradhan, Snehasis; Sathapathy, Srinivas
Publication:Intas Polivet
Article Type:Clinical report
Date:Jul 1, 2016
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