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Disease surveillance in England and Wales, May 2019

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APHA disease surveillance report headlines

  • Metabolic bone disease in dairy heifers

  • Warning of a possible increase in cases of oestrosis (nasal bot fly) in sheep this summer

  • Mulberry heart disease in pigs found dead

  • Infectious bronchitis virus and colisepticaemia in broilers

  • Update on Klebsiella pneumoniae septicaemia in preweaned pigs

Highlights from the scanning surveillance network


Metabolic bone disease

Recumbent weaned animals were a feature of investigations by the APHA Shrewsbury Veterinary Investigation Centre (VIC) on four farms. Two of these cases were in fattening bulls, while, more unusually, two were in replacement dairy heifers.

The affected dairy heifers were between four and six months old. In the largest herd of 450 cows, five of a group of 60 heifers were reported to have become recumbent over a period of about three weeks. They made repeated attempts to rise without success. In the second dairy herd of 200 cows, three heifers in a group of 60 became recumbent. The calves remained bright and continued to eat and drink but were unable to stand.

Two animals were submitted for postmortem examination from each of the herds.

Postmortem examinations confirmed that each of the four calves had poorly calcified ribs, which were easily bent, and the cortical bone of the femurs was thinner than expected for the age and weight of the calves (Fig 1). In one calf, the femoral epiphyses had collapsed so that the distal part of the femurs was easily broken with manual manipulation, and a fracture of the distal femur was present in another animal.

About this report

This report is produced each month by the APHA Surveillance Intelligence Unit and the six Species Expert Groups (livestock and wildlife). The international horizon-scanning summaries are produced by the Defra/APHA International Disease Monitoring (IDM) team, notifiable disease reports by the APHA Veterinary Exotic and Notifiable Disease Unit (VENDU), and threat analysis by the cross-agency Veterinary Risk Group (VRG). …

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