Article Text

Haematogenous osteomyelitis in cattle
  1. EC Firth,
  2. AW Kersjes,
  3. KJ Dik and
  4. FM Hagens


The examination of 70 cattle with haematogenous osteomyelitis resulted in the classification of the bone lesions into two main groups: the physeal type, in which an infection, usually of metaphyseal bone, originated at or near the growth plate, usually in the distal metacarpus, metatarsus, radius or tibia, and the epiphyseal type, in which an infection originated near the junction of the subchondral bone and the immature epiphyseal joint cartilage, most often in the distal femoral condyle epiphysis, the patella and the distal radius. Combinations of physeal and epiphyseal defects and even diaphyseal involvement were occasionally seen. Epiphyseal osteomyelitis was mostly caused by salmonella infection, physeal by Corynebacterium pyogenes, salmonella and other bacteria. The salmonella affected animals were with one exception less than 12 weeks old and the majority had had some previous illness or came from a problem herd. The C pyogenes affected calves were in almost all cases more than six months old. The prognosis of the metaphyseal infection was in general satisfactory, and surgical intervention (osteotomy or sequestrectomy) was often required. The prognosis of the epiphyseal type was grave but two of the three animals in which physeal and epiphyseal defects were accompanied by diaphyseal lesions recovered.

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