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Border disease is caused by border disease virus (BDV, a pestivirus from the family Flaviviridae) infection in sheep and goats (Vantsis and others 1976). BDV infection causes sizeable economic losses in sheep production around the world. In Spain, serological surveys have found 100 per cent flocks and 8–93 per cent sheep seropositive, respectively (Valdazo-González and others 2006). BD is considered a congenital disease, but infections in healthy animals at all age groups may also occur. These are named acute infections and are characterised by transitory leucopaenia and fever associated with viraemia (Nettleton and others 1998). The aim of this study was to evaluate the impact of these acute infections in lambs in a commercial feedlot.
A longitudinal observational study in a feedlot located in Aragon (Spain) was carried out. Lambs were supplied to the feedlot at minimum 10 kg bodyweight (BW) (45 days old), housed in groups of 250–300 per pen and slaughtered at 25–35 kg BW (about 45 days later). Thirty-six male lambs were randomly selected, ear-tagged, weighed, clinically evaluated and sampled on days: 0 (day lambs entered the feedlot), 14, 27 and 41. From each lamb, whole blood in anticoagulant solution and serum samples for haematological, virological and serological studies were taken. Haematological analysis with an electronic counter …