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Stillbirth/perinatal weak calf syndrome: a study of calves infected with Leptospira
  1. A. Smyth, MVB, PhD, DipECVP, MRCVS1,
  2. D. A. Fitzpatrick, MSc2 and
  3. W. A. Ellis, BVMS, PhD, FRCVS1
  1. 1 Veterinary Sciences Division, Department of Agriculture for Northern Ireland, Stoney Road, Belfast BT4 3SD
  2. 2 Biometrics Division, Department of Agriculture for Northern Ireland, New Forge Lane, Belfast


Leptospiral infection has been reported in calves which were either stillbom or dead from perinatal weak calf syndrome; 356 such calves were examined for evidence of associations between leptospiral infection and macroscopic, histological and microbiological findings, and the parity of the dam. Calves in which leptospiral antigen was detected in the placenta were significantly lighter by an average of 6 to 10 kg than calves with no antigen in the placenta. Calves infected with Leptospira were more likely to be infected by Actinomyces pyogenes or Bacllus species. No other significant associations were detected. The adrenal gland, lung and placenta were the most useful organs to examine for leptospiral antigen. The placenta was the only antigen-positive tissue 8.9 per cent of the calves submitted with their placenta.

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