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Sheep and goats
Pathological observations of tick-borne fever and intercurrent bacterial infections in lambs


Eighteen lamb deaths were recorded in a group of 250 ewes and lambs, following turnout onto newly rented upland pasture, in the spring of 2016. Three lambs were presented for postmortem examination and found to have heavy tick infestations. Some of the lesions found grossly at postmortem examination were similar to those described in a single lamb investigated by the Wales Veterinary Science Centre at Aberystwyth during the spring of 2015, from a different farm. Gross lesions identified in these three lambs included splenomegaly, lymphadenopathy, pneumonia, fibrinous pericarditis, pleurisy, peritonitis and meningitis. Laboratory findings included positive PCR results for Anaplasma phagocytophilum, the causal organism of tick-borne fever (TBF), in all three lambs, and secondary bacterial infections. This report describes a range of lesions, some of which are different to those commonly associated with TBF infection. The pathogenesis and means of diagnosis are also discussed.

  • Tick-borne fever
  • Secondary bacterial infection
  • Sheep
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