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Detection of Chlamydia psittaci in Belgian cattle with signs of respiratory disease and milk drop syndrome
  1. H. Van Loo, DVM1,
  2. B. Pardon, DVM, Ph.D2,
  3. P. De Schutter, DVM2,
  4. K. De Bleecker, DVM1,
  5. D. Vanrompay, DVM, Ph.D3,
  6. P. Deprez, DVM, Ph.D, Dipl. ECBHM2 and
  7. J. Maris, DVM1
  1. 1Animal Health Center Flanders (DGZ Vlaanderen), Industrielaan 29, Torhout 8820, Belgium
  2. 2Department of Large Animal Internal Medicine, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Ghent University, Salisburylaan 133, Merelbeke 9820, Belgium
  3. 3Department of Molecular Biotechnology, Ghent University, Coupure links 653, Ghent 9000, Belgium
  1. E-mail for correspondence: hans.vanloo{at}dgz.be

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THE term ‘milk drop syndrome’ is commonly used to refer to a sudden drop in milk yield in dairy cattle that may or may not be showing signs of other disease (Gunning and others 1999). According to Radostits and others (2007), milk drop syndrome is a herd syndrome in which the milk yield falls precipitately without any clear clinical evidence of disease or deprivation of food or water. Leptospirosis (caused by Leptospira Hardjo), heat stress and summer fescue toxicosis are among the more common causes (Radostits and others 2007). In recent years, multiple outbreaks of milk drop syndrome with fever have been reported in dairy cattle in several European countries (Crawshaw and others 2008, Guyot and others 2011). Bovine viral diarrhoea virus (BVDV) (Moerman and others 1994), Leptospira Hardjo (Pearson and others 1980), Anaplasma phagocytophilum (De Schutter and others 2011, Guyot and others 2011) and Schmallenberg virus (Veldhuis and others 2013) have been identified in several of these case herds. A potential role of influenza A virus has also been suggested (Brown and others 1998, Gunning and others 1999, Crawshaw and others 2008). Within the context of the Flemish cattle health monitoring programme (Veepeiler Rund, Belgium), a substantial number of herds recently affected with milk drop syndrome remained undiagnosed after being tested for all of the aforementioned pathogens. Additionally, respiratory symptoms were frequently mentioned as clinical signs on these farms. Since Chlamydia psittaci has recently been identified as being involved in reproductive disorders and airway inflammation in calves (Reinhold and others 2011, Ostermann and others 2013), this short communication aims to report on clinical and environmental findings in seven dairy herds with milk drop syndrome with respiratory symptoms where C. psittaci was detected in bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL) samples from diseased cows.

Between June 2011 …

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