Systemic granulomatous disease in dairy cattle during a dicyandiamide feeding trial

Systemic granulomatous disease in dairy cattle during a dicyandiamide feeding trial
Peer reviewed


CASE HISTORY: Mature, in-calf, non-lactating, Friesian or Friesian-cross cows were fed dicyandiamide (DCD) at daily doses of 0.15 g/kg (Group 1; n=31), 0.45 g/kg (Group 2; n=21) and 0.75 g/kg (Group 3; n=12), as part of a safety trial, which also included a control group (n=15). Daily health observations were carried out on each cow until Day 86 of the study. On Day 28 one cow from Group 3 was observed with signs of disease, and subsequently disease was noted in other cows.

CLINICAL FINDINGS: Clinical signs in the first case included depression, pyrexia (40.9°C), salivation and dehydration, in addition to progressive weight loss, followed by death on Day 32. Other cows from all treatment groups developed clinical signs of disease resulting in euthanasia of seven animals. Disease occurred in 10/12 (83%) cows in Group 3, 11/21 (52%) cows in Group 2, and 7/31 (23%) cows in Group 1. Clinical signs were variable and included dermatitis and pruritus of the head and neck, petechial haemorrhages, pyrexia, weight loss, thrombocytopenia, neutropenia, and regenerative anaemia.

PATHOLOGICAL FINDINGS: Gross findings included generalised lymphadenopathy, subcutaneous oedema, petechiation of mucosal and serosal surfaces, and gastrointestinal haemorrhage. Histologically, multiple organs and tissues contained inflammatory foci characterised by infiltrates of lymphocytes, plasma cells, macrophages and occasionally prominent multinucleated giant cells and eosinophils.

DIAGNOSIS: Multisystemic granulomatous and haemorrhagic syndrome resembling cell-mediated hypersensitivity, associated with DCD ingestion.

CLINICAL RELEVANCE:: This is the first report of toxicity in cattle associated with ingestion of DCD. The proportion of affected cows increased with increasing dose of DCD, but not all cattle in the high dose group developed disease, therefore additional factors may determine whether or not an individual cow will develop DCD-associated disease.

KEY WORDS: Dicyandiamide, dermatitis, pruritus pyrexia and haemorrhagic syndrome, hypersensitivity, granulomatous, hairy vetch toxicity

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