Open Access Highly Accessed Research article

Relationship between clinical signs and postmortem test status in cattle experimentally infected with the bovine spongiform encephalopathy agent

Timm Konold1*, A Robin Sayers2, Amanda Sach3, Gemma E Bone1, Steven van Winden4, Gerald AH Wells1, Marion M Simmons1, Michael J Stack1, Angus Wear5 and Steve AC Hawkins1

Author Affiliations

1 Veterinary Laboratories Agency Weybridge, Host Pathology and Susceptibility Department, New Haw, Addlestone, KT15 3NB, UK

2 Veterinary Laboratories Agency Weybridge, Centre for Epidemiology and Risk Analysis, New Haw, Addlestone, KT15 3NB, UK

3 ADAS Drayton, Alcester Road, Stratford upon Avon, CV37 9RQ, UK

4 Royal Veterinary College, Department of Veterinary Clinical Sciences, North Mymms, Hatfield, AL9 7TA, UK

5 Veterinary Laboratories Agency Newcastle, Laboratory Services, Longbenton, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, NE12 9SE, UK

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BMC Veterinary Research 2010, 6:53  doi:10.1186/1746-6148-6-53

Published: 9 December 2010

Additional files

Additional file 1:

Assessed signs. Clinical signs used for comparison and definition of the sign.

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Additional file 2:

CN1150 (suspect-BSE positive). Steer, examined prior to cull at 47 months after intracerebral inoculation with a pool of palatine tonsil collected from cattle orally exposed to BSE affected brainstem and killed 10 mpi. The steer does not over-react to testing of facial sensation although it retracts its head in the yoke of the crush and later becomes agitated. A mild spontaneous startle occurs during locomotion after the steer crosses the hose on the floor. Ataxia is evident when it jumps over the hose and approaches its pen mates (released into the corridor because of the steer's reluctance to walk). Note the steer's apprehension when close to the camera at the end of the clip. It also shows poor bodily condition. This steer was positive for BSE by postmortem tests with vacuolar changes in the obex.

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Additional file 3:

CP1503 (suspect-BSE negative). Steer, examined prior to cull at 87 months after intracerebral inoculation with a pool of spleens collected from cattle orally exposed to BSE affected brainstem and killed 18 mpi (study 2). This steer is slightly over-reactive to cranial nerve testing. It also over-reacts to touch on the neck (recorded as "nervous on neck prick"). It does not over-react to sudden flash light but a head tremor is evident during the procedure. The steer displays marked hind limb hypermetria, which is most pronounced as it reaches the end of the corridor. The steer also appears apprehensive in the corridor, as indicated by hesitation in passing the examiner and a very alert facial expression with ear movements when close to the camera. Note also the head and neck tremor when the animal stands near the camera at the end of the clip. This steer was negative for BSE by postmortem tests. Histopathologically, there was no evidence of a cerebellar lesion which may have produced hypermetria and head tremor.

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Additional file 4:

143 (BSE positive-IHC). Steer, examined prior to cull at 42 months after oral dosing with 100 g of BSE affected brainstem homogenate (study 1). This steer does not over-react to cranial nerve testing but repeatedly startles at a sudden metallic sound (recorded as "repeated over-reactivity to sound"). It appears apprehensive in the corridor, circles on the spot and startles when it is encouraged to move away from the gate by hand clapping. The histopathological diagnosis was inconclusive for BSE (minimal vacuolation in the obex) but BSE was confirmed by other postmortem tests.

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Additional file 5:

139 (BSE positive-HP). Steer, examined prior to cull at 39 months after oral dosing with 100 g of BSE affected brainstem homogenate (study 1). This steer is apprehensive in the corridor and very reluctant to approach the crush, seemingly afraid of the channel and later the wet patch on the floor. Note the spontaneous startle while approaching the crush. Its reaction to menace response testing is exaggerated and it over-reacts to facial stimuli with repeated rapid, forceful upwards head movements (head bobbing, recorded as 'nervous on head tests'). Exposure to a flash of light elicits startle, even on repeated tests. This steer was positive for BSE by postmortem tests with vacuolar changes in the obex.

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Additional file 6:

10 (control). Undosed control steer, examined prior to cull at 45 months of age. It over-reacts to facial stimuli, but not menace response testing. The head tossing activity does not resemble the head bobbing movements of steer 139. During locomotion the steer appears calm and stops to explore various objects along its path. This steer was negative for BSE by postmortem tests.

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Additional file 7:

138 (BSE negative-HP&IHC). Steer, examined prior to cull at 42 months after oral dosing with 100 g of BSE brainstem homogenate (study 1). The steer's behaviour during cranial nerve testing is unremarkable. It appears apprehensive in the corridor, particularly on approaching the channel and drain and the hose across the floor. Trembling of the rump muscles is visible from behind when the animal stops in front of the channel before crossing it. Note also the mild startle when the examiner walks in front of the steer whilst it is exploring the channel. This steer was negative for BSE by postmortem tests upon examination of the brain. In a separate study, PrPd was found in the lymphoid follicles of the ileum of this steer, which suggests that it was infected with the BSE agent (GAH Wells and M Stack, unpublished observation).

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