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Case Description—A sudden onset of extreme dysgalactia in gilts and sows in a 1,000-head farrow-to-wean herd was observed in December 2009. Signs of dysgalactia were identified in sows beginning 1 day after parturition and lasted 4 to 6 days. This resulted in a mean piglet preweaning mortality rate of 18% because of starvation.

Clinical Findings—Sows were neither off feed nor febrile. Udders were not inflamed or congested. Feed sample analysis did not find ergotamine, mycotoxin contamination, or ration formulation errors. Management practices were acceptable. Piglets attempted to stimulate milk production but none was elicited. Oxytocin (20 U) caused milk ejection but the effect was short-lived. Blood samples from sows with affected litters were positive for Mycoplasma suis (formerly Eperythrozoon suis) by PCR assay, and blood samples from sows with unaffected litters were negative.

Treatment and Outcome—Chlortetracycline fed to the entire sow herd at 22 mg/kg/d (10 mg/lb/d) for 2 weeks resulted in a near complete absence of dysgalactia in sows farrowing within 5 weeks after the start of treatment. Dysgalactia did occur in sows that received chlortetracycline > 5 weeks prior to farrowing. Currently, gestating sows and gilts receive chlortetracycline in feed at a dosage of 22 mg/kg/d for 2 weeks beginning 3 weeks prior to farrowing.

Conclusions and Clinical RelevanceM suis is spread primarily by blood contact from animal to animal, and diagnosis of infection with this organism can be easily missed by means of standard diagnostic protocols unless PCR assays or specific stains are used. Therefore, its current prevalence and impact are likely to be greatly underestimated.

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in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association


Objective—To describe clinical and epidemiologic features of an outbreak of feline calicivirus (FCV) infection caused by a unique strain of FCV and associated with a high mortality rate and systemic signs of disease, including edema of the face or limbs.

Design—Observational study.

Animals—54 cats naturally infected with a highly virulent strain of FCV.

Procedure—Information was collected on outbreak history, clinical signs, and characteristics of infected and exposed cats.

Results—A novel strain of FCV (FCV-Kaos) was identified. Transmission occurred readily via fomites. Signs included edema and sores of the face and feet. Mortality rate was 40%, and adults were more likely than kittens to have severe disease (odds ratio, 9.56). Eleven (20%) cats had only mild or no clinical signs. Many affected cats had been vaccinated against FCV. Viral shedding was documented at least 16 weeks after clinical recovery.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Outbreaks of highly virulent FCV disease are increasingly common. Strains causing such outbreaks have been genetically distinct from one another but caused similar disease signs and were resistant to vaccination. All cats with suspicious signs (including upper respiratory tract infection) should be handled with strict hygienic precautions. Sodium hypochlorite solution should be used for disinfection following suspected contamination. All exposed cats should be isolated until negative viral status is confirmed. Chronic viral shedding is possible but may not be clinically important. This and similar outbreaks have been described as being caused by hemorrhagic fever-like caliciviruses, but hemorrhage is uncommonly reported. Virulent systemic FCV infection is suggested as an alternative description. (J Am Vet Med Assoc 2004:224:241–249)

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in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association