Ruminant neurological disease: a retrospective cohort study

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Abstract

Between January 2006 and June 2016, 96 ruminants with neurological signs were donated to the Scottish Centre for Production Animal Health and Food Safety (SCPAHFS), University of Glasgow, by veterinarians in the field representing 5.4 per cent of all submissions. Forty-seven different neurological presenting signs were reported with 79 per cent of the donated patients presenting with abnormal gait. All cases presenting with abnormalities in more than 4 out of 10 neurological categories died or were euthanased on welfare grounds. Calves were significantly more likely to present with neurological disorders than adult cattle compared with the proportion of calves: cows in the Scottish cattle population and total case population donated to SCPAHFS. Lesions were most commonly localised to the spinal cord in sheep 47 per cent (16), the peripheral nervous system in cattle 45 per cent (28) and to the brain in the overall population 41 per cent (39). The most common aetiology of neurological pathologies observed was infectious or inflammatory 28 per cent (27). Definitive diagnoses could be reached in 84 per cent (81) of patients. When postmortem reports were available, they produced a diagnosis in 70 per cent (52) of cases and contradicted clinical diagnoses in 38 per cent (26) of cases. The most frequently diagnosed conditions in ruminants over the 10 years were spastic paresis, vertebral osteomyelitis and listeriosis.

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