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Haemagalactia associated with leptospirosis and its therapeutic management in a cow.


Leptospirosis is a worldwide zoonoses affecting almost all animal species and human beings but is most common in temperate and tropical climates. In India, majority of outbreaks are reported in coastal regions such as Gujarat, Mumbai, Kerala, Chennai and Andaman islands and the principal reservoirs include rats, banticoots, cattle, pigs, dogs and cats. In cattle, the disease is caused by a number of serovars of leptospira and clinical signs are mostly related to abortion, sudden drop in milk production, abnormal milk which is thick yellow orange or blood tinged and udder is soft and flabby in nature (Radostits et al., 2010). Leptospiral mastitis in cattle, caused by leptospires has been reported (Balakrishnan et al., 2009; Ellis et al., 1976). Disease is usually transmitted by contact of abraded skin or mucous membranes with water or materials contaminated with urine of infected animals, but may occasionally be transmitted by inhalation of contaminated aerosols or ingestion of contaminated foods (Chin, 2000).

Leptospirosis is an occupational hazard for humans working with animals such as farmers, Veterinarians, sewer workers etc. Human beings are susceptible to all pathogenic serovars from the domestic animals and transmission through milk is also possible. Appropriate intervention in dairy herds infected with leptospira include vaccination of dairy herds, isolation and treatment of infected animals, rodent control, disinfection of contaminated areas and herd management. This communication describes a case of haemagalactia, from all four quarters of udder due to leptospirosis in a cow.

History and Observations

A Holstein Friesian cow aged 6 years was presented with history of blood tinged milk from all four quarters of udder since two days. The animal was treated with Styptic, Styplona bolus for two days but no improvement was reported. The animal was in 5th month of lactation. On clinical examination, udder and teats were of normal consistency. Milk from all four quarters was blood tinged. The animal was off feed and there was reduction in milk yield from five liters to one litre. The milk samples were collected aseptically and subjected to culture and sensitivity examination. Peripheral blood smears were collected and examined for haemoparasites. Blood samples were also subjected to dark field microscopy for detection of Leptospires.

Results and Discussion

No haemoparasites could be detected in blood smears stained with Giemsa method. Dark field microscopy of blood revealed typical motility suggestive of leptospires. The animal was treated with Oxytetracycline @ 10 mg/kg b.wt. for 7 days and supportive treatment with Dextrose normal saline intravenously and Tri sodium citrate orally @ 300 mg/kg b.wt. Culture of milk in brain heart infusion agar did not yield any bacterial growth. Blood samples were collected on third day and serum was subjected to microscopic agglutination test, which gave a positive result with a high titre of 1:800 for serovar autumnalis. Improvement reported in the condition after 5 days of treatment and by 7th day milk became normal and dark field microscopy of blood revealed no motility suggestive of leptospires and the animal was successful managed.

In cattle the clinical signs of leptospirosis vary and clinical diagnosis is difficult. The signs observed in the study are similar to the report of Radostits et al. (2010). In the present study blood tinged milk was observed from all quarters which was suggested as a characteristic finding of leptospiral mastitis (Durfee and Allen,1980). But haemagalactia due to leptospirosis affecting only one quarter was also reported (Sivaraman et al., 2012). Even though Leptospira interrogans serovar harjo is the principal serovar associated with abortions and mastitis in cattle, present case was caused by serovar autumnalis. Association of serovar autumnalis in bovine leptospirosis was reported by Nakamura (2001) and Koizumi and Yasutomi (2012). A higher prevalence of serovar autumnalis was also reported from dogs in Kerala (Ambily et al., 2013). Treatment with Oxytetacycline was useful as reported by Alt et al. (2001).This article stress the need for early and accurate diagnosis of leptospirosis in agalactia and bloody milk conditions of cattle so that transmission of infection to other animals and human beings can be prevented.


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Sivaraman. S, Basheer Ahamad,D., Krishnakumar. K, Velavan. A, and Venagadabady. N (2012). Haemorrhagic Mastitis in a Gir Cow Due to LeptospiraA Case Report Proceedings of the National Seminar on Current Perspectives in Biological Sciences (NSOCPIBS--2012) 11th-12th October.

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

(a)--Brand of Himalaya Drugs, Bengaluru

P.V. Tresamol (1), R.L. Rathish and Siju Joseph

Department of Veterinary Epidemiology and Preventive Medicine

College of Veterinary and Animal Sciences

Kerala Veterinary and Animal Sciences University (KVASU)


Trichur--680651 (Kerala)
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Title Annotation:Short Communication
Author:Tresamol, P.V.; Rathish, R.L.; Joseph, Siju
Publication:Intas Polivet
Article Type:Report
Date:Jul 1, 2015
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