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OVER the past decade we have seen cases of adult Holstein-Friesian cattle presented for postmortem examination with an acute fatal haemorrhage from a major artery. Since 2003, the Animal Health and Veterinary Laboratories Agency (AHVLA) has recorded 52 cases, with the greatest annual incidence in 2010 (16 cases), although increased awareness may be biasing recording. An increasing trend has been reported in North America, where there was an increase in the number of cases submitted for necropsy between 1980 and 2005 (Lamm and others 2007). Seventy-four cases of rupture of the cranial mesenteric or coeliac artery were recorded in the Netherlands from 2002 up to 2010 (K. Peperkamp, personal communication), three cases have been recorded in Scotland, one in Northern Ireland and two in the Irish Republic.
There appears to be no marked seasonality in the cases, but more have …