Spongious degeneration in the central nervous system in Sindhi calves

Spongy degeneration (status spongiosus) includes many histological alterations characterized by vacuoles in the neuropile in different regions of the central nervous system (CNS). The vacuolization can be caused by intramyelinic edema, as in maple syrup urine disease and some toxic diseases, or by astrocytic edema, as in citrullinemia. This paper reports a spongy degeneration in two Sindhi calves, a female and a male. Both calves were offspring from the same bull, and the herd had high degree of inbreeding. The female calf was born normal, but progressive nervous signs were observed since 2 months old. The male calf had progressive nervous signs since it was born. Both calves were euthanized with severe nervous signs when 4 months old. At necropsy the liver was pale in the male calf. Histological alterations were mild to accentuated vacuolization, mainly in the deep cerebral cortex, cerebellar white matter, grey matter of the spinal cord, internal capsule, and brain stem. Fatty degeneration was observed in the liver of both animals. On electron microscopy it was found that the status spongiosus was caused by astrocytic edema. It is suggested that the disease is caused by a metabolic hereditary error.

Status spongiosus; astrocytic edema; congenital diseases; cattle

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