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Bovine spastic syndrome: a review
  1. Victoria Goeckmann,
  2. Sophie Rothammer and
  3. Ivica Medugorac
  1. Population Genomics Group, Department of Veterinary Sciences, LMU Munich, Munich, Germany
  1. E-mail for correspondence; ivica.medjugorac{at}


Bovine spastic syndrome (BSS) was described for the first time in 1941. The disease occurs in various—maybe even all—cattle breeds and is a chronic-progressive neuromuscular disorder that commonly affects cattle of at least three years of age. Typical clinical signs of the disease are clonic-tonic cramps of the hindlimbs that occur in attacks. Since BSS does not recover, affected animals can only be treated symptomatically by improving welfare conditions and management factors, or with physical therapy or drugs. Although still not irrevocably proven, BSS is assumed to be a hereditary disease. Therefore, affected animals should be excluded from breeding, which negatively affects economics and breeding. Besides epidemiology, clinical signs, aetiopathogenesis, diagnosis and treatment, this review discusses genetic aspects and differences to the similar disease bovine spastic paresis. Furthermore, this review also picks up the discussion on possible parallels between human multiple sclerosis and BSS as a further interesting aspect, which might be of great interest for future research.

  • spastic syndrome
  • krämpfigkeit
  • crampiness
  • stretches
  • cattle
  • hereditary diseases

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  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

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