The etiology of "cara inchada", a bovine epizootic periodontitis in Brazil

A condensed version in Portuguese of an extensive review on "cara inchada"-periodontitis of cattle, published in English, is presented with some additional information. This disease was responsible for severe losses of young cattle especially in the 1970's and 1980's in central Brazil. Due to the progressive periodontitis and the loss of teeth, the animals cannot eat properly, loose condition and may die. This was believed to be due to mineral deficiency or imbalance. However, field and laboratory observations and experiments over 30 years showed that it is a multifactorial infectious disease which can be defined as Bovine Epizootic Periodontitis. It was concluded that there are three main factors required for its development: (1) Cattle affected are at the age when premolar and molar teeth erupt; (2) bacteria of the Bacteroides group are present in the subgingival spaces; (3) the ingestion with the forage of subinibitory concentrations of antibiotics, mainly streptomycin, produced by the large increase in the number of actinomycetes found in soils from pastures sown after recently cleared forest; this leads to an increased adherence of Bacteroides spp to the gingival epithelium and to the progressive destruction of the periodontal tissues. Nowadays, the disease has practically disappeared, because the disturbed soil microflora has reached the new equilibrium, and the occupation of virgin land for cattle raising has almost ceased. New outbreaks may occur with former problem-pastures when these are freshly cultivated as this again leads to a disequilibrium of the soil microflora and to increased antibiotic production. Other antibiotics such as spiramycin and virginiamycin, administered orally or added to a mineral supplement, can control the disease.

Cara inchada; periodontitis; cattle

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