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Relationships between clinical signs, pathological changes and tissue distribution of Mycobacterium avium subspecies paratuberculosis in 21 cows from herds affected by Johne's disease
  1. C. Brady, MVB, MVM1,
  2. D. O'Grady, MSc1,
  3. F. O'Meara, BSc1,
  4. J. Egan, MVB, MVM, PhD, FRCVS1 and
  5. H. Bassett, MVM, PhD, MRCVS2
  1. 1 Central Veterinary Research Laboratory, Abbotstown, Castleknock, Dublin 15, Ireland
  2. 2 Department of Veterinary Pathology, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, University College Dublin, Belfield, Dublin 4, Ireland


Twenty-one cows from eight herds affected by Johne's disease were assigned to four groups: seven were not thriving and had persistent diarrhoea, six were not thriving and had intermittent diarrhoea, four were not thriving but did not have diarrhoea, and four were clinically normal. Postmortem, macroscopic lesions consistent with Johne's disease were identified in 17 of the cows and Mycobacterium avium subspecies paratuberculosis (map) was isolated from all of them. However, except for the fact that diarrhoea was correlated with the presence of lesions in the large intestine there was little correlation between the presence or absence of clinical signs and the lesions associated with Johne's disease. The tissue distribution of map was also poorly correlated with either the clinical signs or the lesions. The organism was widely distributed in 17 of the 21 cows, including three of the clinically normal animals, and was present in the mammary tissues of seven cows including two of the clinically normal animals. Three distinct histopathological patterns were observed in the affected intestines: infiltration of the lamina propria with giant cells, tuberculoid lesions, and lepromatous lesions; the lepromatous lesions were associated with extensive pathological changes.

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