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Acute rumen fluke causing scour and death in store lambs

Statistics from

SAC C VS disease surveillance report for October/November 2017

  • Concurrent acute rumen fluke and acute fasciolosis in store lambs

  • Systemic Histophilus somni infection in finishing cattle

  • Maedi visna infection causing illthrift in ewes

  • Malignant catarrhal fever in a Pere David’s deer

Meteorological Office records show that October 2017 was a generally warm month in Scotland, with the mean temperature 1.8°C above the long-term average. Rainfall was below average in the east, but above average in the west. It was a cloudy month, especially in the west, with only 75 per cent of average sunshine overall. In contrast, the mean temperature in November 2017 was 0.8°C below the 30-year average, but most regions were sunny, with 121 per cent of average sunshine overall.


Toxic conditions

Four three- to four-day-old dairy calves died within 24 hours of being given an oral mineral supplement. A postmortem examination carried out on farm identified green diarrhoea and greenish clotted abomasal contents. A second carcase was submitted to Dumfries but, other than greenish staining of the perineum, gross examination was unrewarding.

The amount of copper in intestinal contents should reflect the copper content of the diet but excessive amounts were detected in this case – 1420 mg/kg dry matter (DM). Kidney copper content was significantly elevated at 3070 µmol/kg DM (reference range 141–314 µmol/kg DM) confirming a diagnosis of acute copper toxicity. The lethal oral dose in cattle is 200 to 800 mg/kg.1

Ayr suspected acute bracken poisoning in a seven-month-old Highland-cross calf that was reported to be recumbent, with pale mucous membranes and evidence of haemorrhage from the vulva, nares and rectum. Haematology confirmed non-regenerative anaemia, neutropenia with a lack of band forms, and thrombocytopenia. The animal was on rough grazing and would have had access to bracken. Confirmation of bracken toxicity requires histopathology of bone marrow but was not carried out in this case …

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