Hepatic lipodystrophy has been recognised in pedigree Galloway calves since 1965. Between 1975 and 1984 15 cases from five farms were examined. The calves initially appear normal and in good bodily condition but invariably die by five months of age. The characteristic clinical and neurological changes lead to body tremors, opisthotonus, and dyspnoea before the animals become recumbent and die. On postmortem examination the most significant finding in all cases was an enlarged, pale and mottled liver weighing up to 2.75 kg. Limited histopathological examinations of the brain and liver revealed changes suggestive of hepatic encephalopathy. Exhaustive investigations of the farms failed to reveal any significant findings and the small number of cases made it impossible to determine whether the disease was genetically determined; limited evidence suggests that a ‘storage disease’ cannot be excluded.
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