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Bovine lymphosarcoma is a lymphoproliferative disorder in cattle divided into two distinct entities based on the underlying aetiology. Whereas enzootic bovine leukosis (EBL) has been found to be caused by the bovine leukaemia virus (BLV) and thus is considered an infectious disease, the aetiology of the sporadic bovine lymphoma (SBL) is not known (Mammerickx and others 1985). Because SBL cannot be linked to BLV as causative agent, SBL is considered non-contagious. SBL has been subdivided into the juvenile, the thymic and the skin form. The juvenile form occurs in calves up to six months of age but has occasionally been reported in animals up to two years (Grimshaw and others 1979, Bundza and others 1980). Typical signs are rapidly progressing and multicentric lymphadenopathy, leading to rapid demise and death (Grimshaw and others 1979). The thymic form predominantly affects cattle between 6 and 24 months of age and is characterised by massive lymphoproliferation of thymic tissue often with involvement of other organs (Dungworth and others 1964, Grimshaw and others 1979). Cutaneous SBL has been seen in cattle between 1 and 3 years of age and is characterised by multifocal cutaneous lymphoproliferation with or without involvement of other organs (Bendixen and Friis 1965, Grimshaw and others 1979, Stöber 1980).
In contrast to the USA, where BLV is endemic and EBL is the most common form of bovine leukosis, in large parts of Europe, including the Netherlands, this virus is considered to be eradicated, making EBL rare and SBL …