An outbreak of primary photosensitisation in lambs secondary to consumption ofBiserrula pelecinus(biserrula)

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Case report

An outbreak of photosensitisation affecting approximately 25% of a flock of 120 meat lambs that was grazing a monoculture of the pasture legume Biserrula pelecinus var. Casbah (biserrula) was investigated. Blood samples were taken from sheep with moderate to severe clinical signs, and from apparently normal animals, for a complete blood count and biochemistry; 5 affected animals were subjected to a full necropsy. Histopathological investigation showed lesions consistent with photosensitisation of the exposed unpigmented skin of the face and ears. No histopathological or clinical pathological abnormalities suggestive of a hepatopathy were detected in any of the cases, indicating that the lesions observed in this flock were caused by a primary photosensitising agent present in B. pelecinus.


This is the first confirmation that photosensitisation caused by ingestion of biserrula is caused by a primary photosensitising agent.

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