A study of "white spotted kidneys" in cattle

Francisco A Uzal, B. Dobrenov, L. Smythe, M. Norris, M. Dohnt, M. Symonds, D. O'Boyle, F. Schouten, W. R. Kelly

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


A study was performed at an abattoir in Australia, in an attempt to correlate focal chronic interstitial nephritis (FCIN) producing the so-called "white spotted kidney", with Leptospira spp. and other pathogens in cattle. Samples of kidneys, urine and blood were collected immediately after slaughter from 46 two-year-old heifers, and 72 cows and bulls with gross lesions consistent with FCIN. The same samples were also collected from nine heifers and 12 cows with no gross kidney lesions. Aqueous humour was also collected from the eye of 17 of the adult animals. The sera were processed by a microscopic agglutination test for leptospira antibodies, while all the other samples were cultured for Leptospira spp. and also processed for routine aerobic and anaerobic culture for other pathogens. Sub-samples from all the kidneys were fixed in 10% buffered formalin and processed histologically. Antibody titers of 1:400 or higher for Lepstospira borgpeterseni serovar hardjo were found in six adult animals with FCIN and in one adult animal with no gross kidney changes, while antibody titers of 1:400 to L. borgpeterseni serovar tarassovi were found in only one animal with FCIN. L. borgpeterseni serovar hardjo was isolated from the urine and kidney of one adult animal and from the urine of another adult animal, both with FCIN. No pathogens were isolated from any of the other samples. The histological lesions were consistent in most cases with FCIN. The results suggest that neither Leptospira spp. nor active infection by other bacteria are associated with the so-called "white spotted kidneys".

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)369-375
Number of pages7
JournalVeterinary Microbiology
Issue number4
StatePublished - May 24 2002


  • Cattle-bacteria
  • Focal chronic interstitial nephritis
  • Leptospira spp.
  • White spotted kidney

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Microbiology
  • veterinary(all)


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