Cerebral babesiosis in cattle: 20 cases

In a retrospective study carried out in 1,071 necropsies of cattle, 20 cases of cerebral babesiosis were found. All the cases were confirmed by examination of tissue smears from telencephalic cortex. Most of these cases occurred in the summer in adult cattle of European breeds and their crosses. Clinical signs included neurological disturbances, hemoglobinuria, anorexia, fever, tachycardia, tachypnea and drop in milk yield. Blood cell counts performed in five affected cattle revelead marked regenerative anemia with an average of 20% of Babesia bovis parasitized erythrocytes. At necropsy of all cases the gray matter of the telencephalic and cerebellar cortices and of the basal ganglia consistently had a typically pink-cherry discoloration due to sequestration of red blood cells in brain capillaries. Both in nervous tissue smears and in histological preparations, it was observed that the red blood cells that clogged the capillaries of the gray matter contained organisms with morphology compatible with B. bovis. Other necropsy findings included red urine, dark-red kidneys, enlarged liver and spleen, red-orange discoloration of the liver, icterus, epicardial and endocardial hemorrhages, and congestion and edema of mesenteric lymph nodes.

Babesia bovis; cerebral babesiosis; central nervous system; diseases of cattle; pathology


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