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Sarcina-like bacteria associated with bloat in young lambs and calves
  1. G. T. Edwards, BSc, MSc, BVSc, PhD, CertSHP, MRCVS1,
  2. N. G. A. Woodger, BVetMed, BSc, MRCPath, MRCVS2,
  3. A. M. Barlow, BVSc, MSc, MRCVS3,
  4. S. J. Bell, BVMS, MRCVS3,
  5. D. G. Harwood, BVetMed, MRCVS4,
  6. A. Otter, MA, VetMB, PhD, MRCVS5 and
  7. A. R. Wight, BVM&S, CertVA, MRCVS4
  1. 1 VLA — Aberystwyth, Y Buarth, Aberystwyth, Ceredigion SY23 1ND
  2. 2 VLA — Bury St Edmunds, Rougham Hill, Bury St Edmunds, IP33 2RX
  3. 3 VLA — Langford, Langford House, Langford, Somerset BS40 5DX
  4. 4 VLA — Winchester, Itchen Abbas, Winchester SO21 1BX
  5. 5 VLA — Shrewsbury, Kendal Road, Harlescott, Shrewsbury SY1 4HD


Sarcina species are fastidious Gram-positive anaerobic bacteria that occur in cubical packets of eight or more cells. In 2006 to 2007, they were associated with cases of acute abomasal bloat in young lambs and calves. Two incidents were in lambs aged three to six weeks that were found dead, with one or two cases in each of a group of 15 and 100 lambs. Three incidents were recorded in small groups of calves up to 10 days of age, two cases in each incident, with the calves found dead or dying after a short illness characterised by bloat. Their gross lesions included emphysema and oedema of the abomasal wall, mucosal hyperaemia and haemorrhage, and rupture of the abomasum. Histological lesions included abomasitis with congestion, haemorrhage, emphysema and oedema. Bacteria characteristic of Sarcina species were observed in sections associated with the superficial mucosa of these cases, but the bacteria were not detected in cultures.

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