Bovis ISSN 2398-2993

Calf diphtheria

Synonym(s): Oral necrobacillosis, necrotic laryngitis, necrotic stomatitis

Contributor(s): Sophie Mahendran , Alexander Corbishley

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Introduction

  • Cause: fusobacterium necrophorum.
    • There are 2 forms:
      • Necrotic stomatitis (oral form).
      • Necrotic laryngitis.
  • Signs: foul smelling breath, cough, +/- pyrexia, difficulty swallowing, pneumonia.
  • Diagnosis: visualization of the lesion, culture of bacteria from lesion swab.
  • Treatment: systemic antibiotics.
  • Prognosis:
    • Necrotic stomatitis = good.
    • Necrotic laryngitis = guarded to poor, if it becomes chronic or if severe dyspnea is present.

Pathogenesis

Etiology

  •  Necrotic stomatitis (oral form) describes the necrotic ulceration of the cheek.
  • Necrotic laryngitis (laryngeal form) describes the ulcertion of the larynx.
  • Both caused by Fusobacterium necrophorum Fusobacterium necrophorum:
    • Gram negative anerobe.
    • Normal inhabitant of gastrointestinal tract (including the oral cavity) and the respiratory tract.
    • Secretes the following virulence factors; endotoxic lipopolysaccharides, hemolysin, hemagglutinin, adhesins, platelet aggregation factors, dermonecrotic toxin, leukotixin, proteases and deoxyribonucleases.
  • Other commonly associated bacteria include Truperella pyogenes (although usually a secondary infection) and Pasteurella multocida (also likely to be a secondary infection) Pasteurella multocida.

Predisposing factors

  • Unhygienic environmental conditions.
  • Dirty shared milk feeding vessels.
  • Dry rough grazing or forage.
  • Erupting teeth. Teeth
  • Animals suffering from other concurrent disease, especially coughing which can lead to ulceration of the larynx, or other deficiencies may be more susceptible.

Pathophysiology

  • Infection by F. necrophorum often follows injury to the mucosa.
  • Calf diphtheria is typically seen as ulcerative necrosis of the cheek, which appears as an external swelling on the side of the mandible, or a lesion on the tongue .
  • It causes necrosis of the mucus membrane of the larynx, especially the lateral arytenoids cartilage, and adjacent structures.
  • Edema and inflammation of the larynx occurs.
  • Visually the lesions appear as erosions progressing to ulcers and abscesses.
  • In severe cases, cattle can die from aspiration pneumonia Aspiration pnuemonia or asphyxiation due to laryngeal occlusion Larynx: diseases and disorders.

Timecourse

  • The infection can be acute or chronic.

Epidemiology

  • Generally only a few animals in a group are affected.
  • More common in housed animals.

Diagnosis

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Treatment

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Prevention

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Outcomes

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Further Reading

Publications

Refereed Papers

  • Recent references from PubMed and VetMedResource.
  • Nagaraja T G, Narayanan S K, Stewart G C & Chengappa M M (2005) Fusobacterium necrophorum infections in animals: Pathogenesis and pathogenic mechanisms. Anaerobe 11 (4) 239-246 PubMed.

Other sources of information

  • Blowey R & Weaver A D (2011) Color Atlas of Diseases and Disorders of Cattle. 3rd edn. pp 13-28.


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