Thirty-six cows with confirmed vegetative endocarditis at postmortem examination were examined in this study. In 33 cows, echocardiography showed lesions of the pulmonic, tricuspid and mitral valves. Ten healthy cows were enrolled in the study as controls. In diseased cows, clinical signs included recurrent fever, dyspnoea, epistaxis, tachycardia, murmurs, weight loss, decreased milk production, jugular and mammary vein distension with palpable pulse, and ventral and submandibular oedema. Laboratory abnormalities included neutrophilic leukocytosis, elevated protein concentrations, hypoalbuminaemia, hypergammaglobulinaemia, azotaemia and elevated serum creatinine concentration. High serum activities of aspartate aminotransferase, γ-glutamyl transpeptidase and lactate dehydrogenase were also detected. Echocardiography showed small, medium-sized or large hyperechogenicity, thickening, and proliferative or vegetative lesions of the tricuspid (n=11), mitral (n=5) and pulmonic valves (n=19). Confirmatory diagnosis was made at postmortem examination. Echocardiography could detect vegetations in 33 of the 36 cows (92 per cent). The sensitivity of ultrasound in detecting valvular endocarditis was 89 per cent for tricuspid valves, 83 per cent for mitral valves and 95 per cent for pulmonic valves.
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