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Sporadic juvenile lymphosarcoma in a set of triplet calves: haematopoietic chimerism or chance?


A set of four-month-old Angus-Hereford triplet calves, two freemartin heifers and one steer, was presented for generalised lymphadenomegaly and paraparesis. Cytology was consistent with lymphosarcoma and all calves were serologically negative for bovine leukaemia virus. Postmortem examination and histopathology findings confirmed the diagnosis of sporadic juvenile lymphosarcoma. Due to the rarity of sporadic bovine lymphosarcoma, it is unlikely that these three calves simply, spontaneously, developed lymphosarcoma within a month of one another. A shared genetic predisposition to develop lymphosarcoma is possible, but is unlikely given the synchronous development of disease among the triplets. The most parsimonious explanation is that one calf developed lymphosarcoma in utero and transmitted it to its siblings via placental vascular anastomoses, in the same way haematopoietic chimerism develops in freemartin calves. Regardless of pathogenesis, this case demonstrates that spontaneous bovine leukosis, like enzootic bovine leukosis, occasionally affects multiple animals within a single herd at one time.

  • Cattle
  • Lymphosarcoma
  • Pathogenesis
  • Pathology
  • Pregnancy
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