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Unusual presentation of cerebrocortical necrosis in cattle in Northern Ireland

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Northern Ireland disease surveillance headlines, July to September 2019

  • Lungworm infection in cattle

  • Focal symmetrical encephalomalacia in cattle

  • Unusual cerebrocortical necrosis in cattle

  • Cerebrocortical necrosis in sheep

  • Cellulitis and phlegmon in sheep

  • Gastric ulceration in pigs


Respiratory diseases

Respiratory disease was identified in 34 cattle postmortem submissions between July and September 2019. The most common pathogens identified included parasitic pneumonia (14 cases), Pasteurella multocida (seven cases), Mycoplasma bovis (six cases), Mannheimia haemolytica (four cases), Trueperella pyogenes (two cases) and Histophilus somni (two cases).

Lungworm infection in cattle

Infection with Dictyocaulus viviparus (Fig 1) was the most common cause of bovine pneumonia diagnosed during the reporting period. Secondary bacterial infection with one or more of M haemolytica, P multocida and T pyogenes was commonplace.

Fig 1: Lungworm infection in an eight-month-old bullock

One case was noteworthy for a more complex aetiology. A four-month-old calf was submitted with a history of sudden death following chronic pneumonia. On gross postmortem examination myocardial and skeletal muscle lesions suggestive of myopathy were found and changes associated with congestive heart failure with thoracic and abdominal transudation were present. There were large numbers of lungworm present in the airways and D viviparus larvae were detected in the faeces.

About this report

This summary has been compiled by the Veterinary Sciences Division of the Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute of Northern Ireland (AFBI), and is based on diagnostic submissions to the AFBI’s veterinary laboratories at Stormont, Belfast and Omagh, County Tyrone. The AFBI operates a farm animal disease surveillance service on behalf of the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs in Northern Ireland.

Histological examination of the liver showed marked centrilobular congestion with associated cloudy swelling of hepatocytes, and scattered haemosiderin-loaded macrophages in the sinusoids.

There was an acute bronchopneumonia with marked bronchitis and bronchiolitis with many eosinophils present in the bronchiolar pus. Lungworm larval profiles were present.

There was evidence of cardiomyopathy in the sections of heart examined with fractional shortening and …

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