Review/Oorsig Volume 22, Issue 01 - Page 21

Volume 22 • Issue 01 • 2018 Sarcina Abomasitis and Cryptosporidiosis in a One Week Old Bonsmara Calf Dr Rick Last – BVSc, M.Med.Vet (Pathology) Specialist Veterinary Pathologist Multiple young calves had presented with inappetence, lethargy and had died. This one week old calf was presented for clinical examination at the referring vet who observed severe dehydration, dyspnea and marked leukocytosis on blood smear. The faecal wet prep and faecal flotation revealed no abnormalities. Figure 1: opened rumen to reveal fragments of clotted milk and discoloured fluid content with a few wooden twigs Figure 3: higher magnification to demonstrate the tetrad structure of the Sarcina like bacteria Small intestinal pathology was characterized by severe villous atrophy with heavy colonization of the surface enterocytes by Cryptosporidium species (Figure 4). The calf was euthanased and submitted or post mortal examination. Post-mortem examination was characterized by low body weight, severe dehydration, evidence of rumen indigestion with clotted milk and malodorous grey discolored fluid in the rumen (Figure 1). Figure 4: numerous spherical cryptosporidia evident colonizing the stubby atrophied villi In addition, there was a moderate catarrhal enteritis.The stand out features on histological examination were a marked lymphocytic abomasitis with associated transmural edema and colonization of the mucosal surface by large tetrads of bacteria resembling Sarcina species (Figures 2 and 3) Figure 2. Figure 2 Rumen: numerous numerous Sarcina Sarcina like bact eria like bacteria composed of large composed of tetrads of coccoid large tetrads of organisms evident coccoid organisms colonizing the evident colonizing rumen mucosa the rumen (arrows) mucosa Sarcina-like bacteria are emerging as an important cause of abomasitis (empyema)/abomasal emphysema and bloat, hemorrhage and ulcers in calves, lambs and kids. These bacteria are known commensals of the stomach of monogastrics and likely normal inhabitants of the rumen. They have been associated with gastric signs in many species and have been linked to gastric dilatation in dogs and horses. Organisms are usually only demonstrable in histological sections (very difficult to culture), as tetrads of gram positive cocci in groups of 4 to 20. This condition is predominantly a problem of bottle fed calves i.e. dairy calves or orphan beef calves, so this case is unusual in that these were range beef calves. However, vlei areas were identified within the camps that were overstocked, and this may have been a contributing factor to the rumen indigestion and subsequent Sarcina overgrowth in the abomasum. The concurrent intestinal cryptosporidiosis would have been a significant contributing factor to the clinical syndrome observed in these calves. 21