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Acute fasciolosis causes deaths of ewes in Northern Ireland

Statistics from

Northern ireland disease surveillance headlines, October to december 2019

  • Emphysematous abomasitis in calves

  • Pneumonia due to Mycoplasma bovis in calves

  • Yersiniosis in heifers

  • Urolithiasis in lambs

  • Dosing gun injury in lambs

  • Acute fasciolosis in ewes


Respiratory diseases

Respiratory disease was identified in 77 cattle postmortem submissions between October and December 2019. The most common pathogens identified included Mycoplasma bovis (24 cases), bovine respiratory syncytial virus (16 cases), Pasteurella multocida (13 cases), Mannheimia haemolytica (13 cases), lungworm (10 cases), infectious bovine rhinotracheitis (IBR) (five cases) and Trueperella pyogenes (four cases).

Mycoplasma bovis infection

A one-month-old Friesian calf in poor condition died and was presented for postmortem examination. There was ringworm and severe pediculosis with very large numbers of the sucking louse Linognathus species present. There was significant pneumonia. Gross and microscopic findings were highly suggestive of pneumonia due to M bovis.

On histological examination there were numerous bronchocentric foci of caseous necrosis circumscribed by degenerating leukocytes with ghosted nuclei, neutrophils, macrophages, lymphoplasmacytic cells and fibrosis.

There was also evidence of aspiration pneumonia with plant debris and cellulose in many airways with associated inflammatory infiltrate.

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.

There were caseous necrotic lesions in the tympanic bullae (Fig 1). These lesions are frequently associated with M bovis infections.

Fig 1:

Mycoplasma bovis infection in a calf; note the bilateral caseous necrotic lesions (*) in the tympanic bullae

M bovis nucleic acid was detected in the pneumonic lung by PCR.

Bovine respiratory disease due to IBR, M bovis, M haemolytica and T pyogenes was diagnosed in a beef heifer …

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