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An outbreak of dictyocaulosis in lactating cows on a dairy farm

Wapenaar, W., Barkema, H.W., Eysker, M. and O'Handley, R.M. (2007) An outbreak of dictyocaulosis in lactating cows on a dairy farm. Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association, 231 (11). pp. 1715-1718.

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Case Description - The owner of a herd of 74 Holstein-Friesian cattle reported decreased milk production, weight loss, and coughing among lactating cows. Owner-initiated antimicrobial treatment was unsuccessful; 1 lactating cow died, and 50% of the lactating cows had clinical signs of respiratory distress, such as tachypnea and coughing. Clinical Findings - On the basis of history, physical examination findings, and fecal examination results, affected animals were determined to have Dictyocaulus viviparus (lungworm) infestation. The disease history suggested that the herd contained cows with subclinical patent lungworm infestations; after introduction of susceptible heifers, the pastures had become heavily infested with D viviparus and clinical problems subsequently developed in both newly introduced and resident cows. Treatment and Outcome - Affected and unaffected heifers and adult cows were treated with a pour-on formulation of eprinomectin (0.5 mg/kg [0.23 mg/lb]). One animal died, but 2 weeks after treatment, clinical signs among affected cattle were markedly improved. Ten weeks after treatment, milk production improved from 23 kg/cow/d (51 lb/cow/d) to 28 kg/cow/d (62 lb/cow/d). Clinical Relevance - The outbreak provides additional evidence that dictyocaulosis is becoming more common among adult dairy cattle, rather than almost exclusively affecting young stock. This may be attributable to anthelmintic use and management practices on dairy farms. Combined with anecdotal reports of an increase in the incidence of dictyocaulosis among adult cattle in North America, D viviparus infestation should be included as a differential diagnosis for decreased milk production, weight loss, and coughing among adult dairy cattle.

Item Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation(s): School of Veterinary and Biomedical Sciences
Publisher: American Veterinary Medical Association
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