Submitted to: Journal of Veterinary Diagnostic Investigation
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 5/1/2001
Publication Date: 7/1/2001
Interpretive Summary: Since the outbreak of mad cow disease (bovine spongiform encephalopathy, BSE) in the United Kingdom in 1985, there has been concern that the disease would occur in the United States. If this were to happen, loss to the cattle, sheep, and by-product industries would be catastrophic. Also, the concern for public health would be enormous. In an outbreak of BSE, the initial diagnosis of the disease would be made by veterinary pathologists and will be based on laboratory findings in the brain of the affected animal. It is therefore important that pathologists provide an accurate, early diagnosis of the disease so that control and eradication measures could be implemented immediately. This communication describes presence of BSE-like lesions in the brain of a newborn calf. However, further confirmatory tests (immunohistochemistry and electron microscopy) were negative for the presence of BSE or other similar rconditions. Therefore, it was concluded that this was not a case of BSE. Since such lesions have not previously been documented in newborn calves, veterinary pathologists should be aware of this non-BSE condition.
Technical Abstract: Histopathologic, immunohistochemical, and ultrastructural findings are described in a 6-day-old Holstein calf with severe vacuolation of the neuronal perikarya that was widely distributed throughout the central nervous system. Histopathologic and ultrastructural examinations did not show evidence of storage material within the vacuoles. Immunohistochemistry yand electron microscopy were negative for protease-resistant prion protein and scrapie associated fibrils, respectively. It was concluded that this was not a case of transmissible spongiform encephalopathy. Neuronal vacuolation has not previously been documented in calves.