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Ovine lentivirus induced indurative lymphocytic mastitis and its effect on the growth of lambs
  1. JJ Pekelder,
  2. GJ Veenink,
  3. JP Akkermans,
  4. P van Eldik,
  5. L Elving and
  6. DJ Houwers
  1. Regional Animal Health Service West en Midden Nederland, Gouda, The Netherlands.


The effect of the indurative lymphocytic mastitis caused by infection with maedi-visna virus was quantified by comparing the pre-weaning growth of lambs from infected and uninfected ewes under the same conditions. A total of 73 infected, but clinically healthy, ewes and 75 ewes from a maedi-visna virus-free source were purchased to form a new flock; they were all three years old. The ewes were mated and the flock was managed as a normal field flock. Serum samples were taken at regular intervals and tested for antibodies to maedi-visna virus. The lambs were weighed at birth and at 14, 30, 50 and, finally, 80 days old, when they were weaned. The ewes were slaughtered, their udders were examined histologically, and the lesions were assessed by counting the typical lymphocytic follicles. Sixty-six per cent of the ewes that were seropositive at slaughter appeared to have follicles. A statistically significant association was found between the number of follicles in the udder and the reduction in the growth rate of the lambs. Lambs from ewes with the mean number of follicles weighed 1.7 kg less at weaning.

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