Bovine fetal encephalitis and myocarditis associated with protozoal infections.

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Bovine fetuses submitted to the California Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory System were evaluated during a 2-year period (1987 to 1989) for the presence of multifocal necrotizing nonsuppurative encephalitis, nonsuppurative myocarditis, or tissue protozoa. Eighty-two of 445 (18%) fetuses submitted met these histologic criteria. Fetuses were from 54 dairy and two beef herds located throughout the state. In 17 fetuses (21%) protozoa were found in fetal tissues. Protozoa were found in brain parenchyma of ten fetuses (12%), in endothelial cells in four fetuses (5%), in cardiac myofibers in one fetus (1%), and were associated with endothelial cells in two fetuses (2%). In most fetuses there were no significant gross pathologic findings other than autolysis. While aborted fetuses were from 3 to 9 months gestation, the majority were between 5 and 7 months gestation. They were submitted year round, but more were seen in the fall and winter months. Additional salient histologic features included portal nonsuppurative hepatitis, focal hepatic inflammation and necrosis, and focal nonsuppurative myositis. Nonsuppurative inflammation was also found in decreasing frequency, in the adrenal medulla, kidney, mesentery or abdominal fat, placenta, and lung. In two fetuses (Nos. 1 and 2), the location and morphology of the protozoa were compatible with Sarcocystis spp. The identity of protozoa in the remaining 15 fetuses is unknown. The histopathologic changes in these 82 fetuses and the presence of protozoa in 21% of the fetuses suggest these abortions are due to fetal protozoal infections.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)354-361
Number of pages8
JournalVeterinary Pathology
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 1990

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • veterinary(all)


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