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Clinico-therapeutic management of actinobacillosis in a bullock.


The domestic population of bovines has been reported to be affected by a variety of bacterial as well as haemoprotozoan diseases. Among bacterial infections, Actinobacillosis caused by Actinobacillus lignieressi, a gram-negative bacillus inhabiting oral cavity and rumen has been frequently documented to affect large ruminants. Besides cattle, the disease has also been reported in buffalo, sheep, horse, goats as well as dogs (Brown et al., 2007). It is characterized by granulomatous infection involving soft tissues of upper gastrointestinal tract, especially oral cavity (Taghipour et al., 2010). It may be clinically represented by a variety of clinical manifestation with hard/firm granulomatous infection of tongue i.e. 'wooden tongue' as a characteristic clinical findings of actinobacillosis (Margineda et al., 2013) along with general signs including anorexia, dysphagia, drooling of normal of food tinged saliva and proliferative cutaneous lesions.

Commensal Actinobacillus lignieresii inhabits the upper digestive tract of ruminants. Later lesions are capable of altering the oral mucosa or skin barrier integrity and can establish an infection (Radostits et al., 2007). Iatrogenic origin of Actinobacillus lignieresii infections has also been reported (De Kruif et al., 1992). Actinobacillosis has been reported to have lower prevalence with either endemic or sporadic types of outbreaks. Diagnostic confirmation of actinobacillosis depends on clinical examination as well as bacterial cultural isolation (Smith, 2009).

History and Observations

Four years old bullock of Kankrej breed was presented with history of anorexia since last two days, drooling of saliva, lethargy, hardening of tongue with an inability to retract it back and animal being unresponsive to other forms of treatment.

Clinical examination revealed characteristic granulomatous firm growth over tongue i.e. wooden tongue (Fig. 1 and 2), hyperthermia (103.6[degrees]F), peripheral lymphadenopathy, dehydration, pallor of visible mucous membranes and drooling of food tinged saliva.

Laboratory diagnosis included bacterial cultural isolation and haematobiochemistry. For bacteriological examination, secretions of granulomatous growth are collected and it cultured on blood agar under both aerobic and anaerobic conditions. Upon examination of culture with Giemsa staining revealed presence of gram negative rods and polymorph cocccobacilli. Bacterial cultural isolation and microscopic examination were consistent with actinobacillus like bacteria i.e. Actinobacillus lignieresisi (Fig. 3 and 4). Hematological parameters were Hb (6.18 g/dl), TEC (4.7*[10.sup.6]/ cmm), TLC (9.88* [10.sup.3]/cmm), platelet count (183*[10.sup.5]/cmm), lymphocytes (44.00%), neutrophils (56.00%), MCV (53.24 fl), MCH (18.04 pg) and MCHC (31.86 g/dl). Serum biochemical parameters were serum creatinine (1.53 g/dl), SGOT (124.74 IU/L), SGPT (42.38 IU/ L), total proteins (4.94 gm/dl) and BUN (10.18 mg/dl). Accordingly, based on clinical examination, bacterial cultural isolation and hematobiochemistry, it was diagnosed to be actinobacillosis and treated medicinally.




Therapeutic Management and Discussion

The bullock was treated with Oxytetracycline @ 11 mg/kg b. wt. given intravenously along with supportive therapy included (i) Inj. 5% Dextrose-normal saline (5% DNS) @ 1000 ml IV, Inj. 5% Dextrose-normal saline (25% DNS) @ 3000 ml IV once, Inj. Meloxicam (Melonex (a)) @ 2 mg/kg b.wt. IM, Topical application of 15 gm Potassium iodide powder for 10 days and administration of liquid supplement Zigbo (b) @ 100 ml drench orally twice daily for 5 days. Following 15 days post-treatment, bullock was subjected to peripheral blood smear examination as well as bacterial cultural isolation which revealed negative results.

Anemia with reduced levels of Hb, TEC and MCHC as well as lymphocytopenia may be due to infection affects soft tissue such as lymphnodes. Taghipour et al. (2010) reported the classical presentation of Actinobacillus infection affects the tongue (wooden tongue) and also soft tissues such as Lymph nodes (Retropharyngeal and sub-mandibular) and other tissues of head, pharynx, chest, flank, stomach, omentum and limbs can be affected. Increased neutrophil count (i.e. neutrophilia) is attributed to active bacterial infection by Actinobacillosis lignieressi. An increased level of liver specific enzymes SGOT and SGPT are indicative of hepatic involvement in disease progression and has been documented as a significant serum biochemical indicator of mixed infection with bacteria in bovines. Levels of BUN and serum creatinine were within normal range which nullifies possibilities of renal involvement in disease progression (Smith, 2009).

An active bacterial infection by Actinobacillus lignieressi persisting for a longer period of time only develops wooden tongue (Margineda et al., 2013). Thus, cases presented with classical signs of wooden tongue and neutrophilia on hematology should be subjected to a detailed diagnostic investigation of concurrent bacterial infections in order to plan out appropriate therapeutic protocol and better clinical outcomes. Microbiological examination and hemato-biochemistry has improved diagnostic significance and aids new insights for better understanding of disease progression.

Actinobacillosis is readily treatable and treatment can also involve surgical debridement as well as flushing with iodine. Administration of potassium iodide orally or intravenous injection of Sodium iodide are reported to be effective to stop the acute signs of disease within two days (Muhammad et al., 2006). Appropriate use of potassium iodide helped in alleviation of chronic wooden tongue condition in bullock. Oxytetracycline is by far the most commonly used antibiotic for treatment of bacterial diseases and has bacteriostatic effects by inhibition of bacterial protein synthesis. It was found effective in case of mixed infection.


Topical application of potassium iodide was effective for reversing 'wooden tongue' condition while antibiotic therapy with Oxytetracycline was effective against bacterial infection as well as in mixed infection. Antibiotic and supportive therapy was resolve, with the association of the traditional iodide cure, which is regarded as the treatment of choice for actinobacillosis. The bullock recovered uneventfully 15 days post-treatment with healthy and taking food and water normally.


Brown, C.C., Baker, D.C. and Barker. I.K. (2007). Alimentary system in: Maxie MG, Jubb, Kennedy and Palmers Pathology of Domestic Animals. 5th edn, Elsevier Saunders, p. 20-22.

De Kruif, A., Mijten, P., Haesebrouck, F., Hoorens, J. and Devriese, L. (1992). Actinobacillosis in bovine caesarean section. Vet. Rec. 131: 414-15.

Margineda, C.A., Odriozola, E., Moreira, A.R., Canton, G., Micheloud, F., Gardey, P., Spetter, M. and Campero, C.M. (2013). Atypical actinobacillosis in bulls in Argentina: granulomatous dermatitis and lymphadenitis. Pesq. Vet. Bras. 33: 1-4.

Muhammad, G., Saqib, M. and Athar, M. (2006). Fatal actinobacillosis in a dairy buffalo. Acta Veterinaria BRNO 75: 247-50.

Radostits, R.M., Gay, C C., Hinchcliff, K.W. and Constable, P.D. (2007). Veterinary Medicine, 10th Edn, p. 1046-48.

Smith, B.P. (2009). Large Animal Internal Medicine, 4th Edn, C.V. Mosby, Philadelphia. p. 782-84.

Taghipour, B.T., Khodakaram Tafti, A., Atyabi, N. and Faghanizadeh, G. (2010). An unusual occurrence of actinobacillosis in heifers and cows in a dairy herd in Tehran suburb-Iran. Archives Razi Inst. 65: 105-10.

(a)--Brand of Intas Animal Health, Ahmedabad

(b)--Brand of Natural Remedies, Bengaluru

B.R. Patel (1), J.S. Patel (2) and S.C. Parmar (3)

Department of Teaching Veterinary Clinical Complex

College of Veterinary Science and Animal Husbandry

Anand Agricultural University (AAU)

Anand--388001 (Gujarat)

(1.) Assistant Professor and Corresponding author. E-mail:

(2.) Professor and Head, Department of Veterinary Medicine, Veterinary College, JAU, Junagadh.

(3.) Research Associate, Department of Veterinary Gynaecology and Obstetrics
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Title Annotation:Short Communication
Author:Patel, B.R.; Patel, J.S.; Parmar, S.C.
Publication:Intas Polivet
Article Type:Report
Date:Jul 1, 2015
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