An outbreak of a disease characterised by very high mortality occurred in a group of nine calves (1-4 months old) in a zero-grazing unit 2-3 weeks after an introduction of an apparently healthy alien sheep into the calf pen. Five of the six calves which contracted the disease died. The main clinical signs observed were marked depression, persistently high body temperature (40.5-41.5degreesC), copious mucopurulent nasal and ocular discharges, dyspnoea, bilateral keratoconjunctivitis with corneal opacity, enlargement of the superficial lymph nodes and marked erythema and/or superficial erosions of the buccal mucosae. At necropsy there were lesions in the upper respiratory and digestive tracts, lymph nodes, brain, eyes, liver, kidneys and the urinary bladder. The lesions were histopathologically characterized by fibrinoid vasculitis which was accompanied by lymphocytic infiltration in the parenchyma of the affected tissues. Based on the evidence of contact between the calves and the recently introduced foreign sheep, the characteristic clinical signs and histopathological findings, a diagnosis of sheep-associated malignant catarrhal fever was made.
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