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THE cause of porcine reproductive disease is frequently not determined. Bidewell and others (2005) examined veterinary investigation diagnosis analysis (VIDA) data for 2003 and concluded that a diagnosis was reached in only 20 per cent of relevant porcine submissions. Worldwide, a number of bacterial pathogens have been identified that can induce porcine abortion, either directly by infecting the fetus/placenta or indirectly by causing fever in the dam. These include Brucella suis, Leptospira species, Chlamydia/Chlamydophila species, Actinobacillus species, Haemophilus parasuis, Lawsonia intracellularis, Erysipelothrix rhusiopathiae and Listeria species (Almond and others 2006). Palmer and others (1979) observed placentitis but saw no gross or microscopic fetal lesions in a case of porcine abortion associated with organisms thought most likely to be Actinomyces naeslundi; neutrophil infiltration of fetal lung was detected in a different case of porcine abortion associated with an unidentifiable Actinomyces species. A recently characterised pathogen, Actinomyces hyovaginalis, has been associated with rare cases of porcine abortion (Hommez and others 1991), but there do not appear to be any accounts of the type of fetal pathology caused by this organism. The purpose of this report is to describe the gross and histopathological features of a case of porcine abortion caused by an organism believed to be A hyovaginalis. Details are given of the difficulties encountered in isolating and identifying the isolate.
A herd of about 30 sows (all vaccinated against porcine parvovirus and erysipelas) experienced two abortions in a month. Both farrowings were about two to three weeks early; the farmer did not report any history of mummification and apparently the majority of fetuses were stillborn. Four fetuses (A, B, C and D) from the second abortion were presented for postmortem examination. A placenta was attached to three of them (A, B and C). Estimates of …