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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: High-Mountain Disease (Brisket Disease, Pulmonary Hypertensive Heart Disease)

Author
item Stegelmeier, Bryan

Submitted to: Merck Veterinary Manual
Publication Type: Book / Chapter
Publication Acceptance Date: October 1, 2002
Publication Date: September 1, 2005
Citation: Stegelmeier, B.L. 2005. High-mountain disease (brisket disease, pulmonary hypertensive heart disease). Merck Veterinary Manual.

Interpretive Summary: High-mountain disease or brisket disease is non-infectious, congestive heart failure (CHF) of cattle. It affects cattle that are on high mountainous ranges of the world and is seen most commonly at elevations above 2000 m. The incidence in cattle averages about 2% with variations between 0.5-5%. The pathogenesis is related to chronic hypoxia, hypocapnia and respiratory alkalosis of a high-altitude environment with subsequent pulmonary vasoconstriction, pulmonary hypertension and CHF. Primary contributing factors include: 1) Genetics- 2) Previous lung damage- and 3) Feed, toxic plants and specific toxins. Locoweeds (certain Oxytropis and Astragalus species that contain swainsonine) when consumed by cattle at high elevations markedly increase the prevalence and severity of CHF. The condition develops relatively more quickly within 1-2 wk, and the incidence may be as high as 100%.

Technical Abstract: High-mountain disease or brisket disease is non-infectious, congestive heart failure (CHF) of cattle. It affects cattle in mountainous ranges of the world and is seen most commonly at elevations above 2000 m. The incidence in cattle on high mountain pastures averages about 2% with variations between 0.5-5%. Though many factors seem to contribute, the pathogenesis is related to chronic hypoxia, hypocapnia and respiratory alkalosis of a high-altitude environment with subsequent pulmonary vasoconstriction, pulmonary hypertension and CHF. Primary contributing factors include: 1) Genetics- 2) Previous pulmonary damage- and 3) Feed, toxic plants and specific toxins. Locoweeds (certain Oxytropis and Astragalus species that contain swainsonine) when consumed by cattle at high elevations markedly increase the prevalence and severity of CHF. The condition develops relatively more quickly within 1-2 wk, and the incidence may be as high as 100%.

Last Modified: 12/22/2014
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