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Sheep and goats
Inadvertent intrathecal injection of Gudair vaccine leading to recumbency and ataxia in replacement gimmers: a case of ‘OJD staggers’ in North East England
  1. Benjamin William Strugnell1,
  2. Mark Wessels2,
  3. Magdalena Reynolds3 and
  4. Pam Brown4
  1. 1 Farm Post Mortems Ltd, Durham, UK
  2. 2 Finn Pathologists, Diss, UK
  3. 3 Axiom Veterinary Laboratories Limited, Newton Abbot, UK
  4. 4 Alnorthumbria Veterinary Group, Northumberland, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr Benjamin William Strugnell; benstrugnell{at}


Five of 730 replacement gimmers in a 5000-ewe crossbred flock presented with progressive ataxia and recumbency over a two-week period. On gross postmortem examination, there was spinal cord compression and large fibrogranulomatous masses in the spinal canal of two lambs. Histological examination of one mass and the adjacent tissues revealed chronic active necrotising and granulomatous inflammation with acid-fast bacilli and severe granulomatous osteomyelitis, respectively. PCR of the mass was positive for Mycobacterium aviumsubspecies paratuberculosis (MAP). Lambs had been injected six weeks previously with a Johne’s disease vaccine (Gudair, Merial Animal Health). Gross and histological findings unequivocally suggest an intrathecal injection; the acid-fast bacilli and PCR-positive result for MAP confirm that the maladministration of vaccine was the cause of the pathology. Great care must be taken when injecting sheep in the neck region to avoid iatrogenic damage. Clinical signs may manifest some weeks or months after injection.

  • sheep
  • johnes disease
  • injection site complication
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  • Contributors All authors have made sufficient contributions to this paper to justify coauthorship.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; internally peer reviewed.

  • Data statement No additional data are available.

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