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  • 11/26/18: (North America) Equine Parvovirus Hepatitis. A novel viral etiology for equine serum hepatitis (Theiler's Disease) has been identified as equine parvovirus-hepatitis (EqPV-H) (Divers et al, 2018). Two epidemiological presentations of EqPV-H are recognized in adult horses; cases either present 4-12 weeks after administration of an equine biologic product (such as tetanus antitoxin or equine plasma) or the cases may occur as small outbreaks lasting 1 or more weeks during warmer months where no biologics were administered. EqPV-H is hepatotropic and pathogenic but the great majority of recently infected horses (within 4-12 weeks) have non-clinical hepatitis with 2 or more weeks of elevated serum liver enzymes. Clinically affected horses may represent only 1-2% of the infected horses and typically present with clinical signs of lethargy, anorexia, and jaundice, or neurologic symptoms characteristic of hepatic encephalopathy. Mortality of clinically affected horses is nearly 50%. The epidemiology behind equine serum hepatitis outbreaks where no biologics have been administered remains under investigation by Drs. Thomas Divers, Joy Tomlinson and Gerlinde Van de Walle at Cornell University. In addition to transmission by infected blood products, other proposed alternative mechanisms for EqPV-H transfer include insect vector, or possible spread via nasal or fecal shedding from infected horses.

    Another recently discovered equine hepatitis virus is non-primate hepacivirus (NPHV), renamed as equine hepacivirus (EqHV). EqHV is phylogenetically the closest known virus to the human hepatitis C virus. EqHV may cause subclinical disease in adult horses with transient mild elevations in liver derived serum enzymes.

    Horses with both EqPV-H and EqHV can be healthy carriers with no clinical signs, and could serve as reservoirs for infection of other horses. In an attempt to eliminate the risk of equine serum hepatitis secondary to equine biologic product administration, the USDA Center for Veterinary Biologics has proposed that all licensed equine blood products be tested for EqPV-H and EqHV. The Cornell AHDC offers PCR assays for EqPV-H and EqHV that meet the proposed APHIS Center for Veterinary Biologics regulation for testing of equine origin products. Please contact Cornell AHDC Veterinary Support Services at (607) 253-3900 with any questions regarding the Virology Laboratory's equine hepatitis PCR panels.

    The recent report by Divers et al. in the Center for Disease Control and Prevention's Emerging Infectious Disease journal is available to the public at https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/eid/article/24/2/17-1031_article.

    Two other articles have been accepted for publication in the Journal of Veterinary Internal Medicine:
    1. Viral Testing of 18 consecutive cases of equine serum hepatitis - a prospective study (2014-2018)
    2. Viral testing of 10 cases of Theiler's disease and 37 in-contact horses in the absence of equine biologic administration - a prospective study (2014-2018) Horses in field.

  • 11/26/18: (North America) Strongyloides papillosus has recently been implicated as the cause of an outbreak of sudden death in 3-month old dairy calves on a well-managed farm in New York State. During this outbreak, previously healthy calves were often found dead or presented suddenly weak and recumbent with increased respiratory rate followed by death or were observed to die abruptly after a brief period of convulsions. All heifer calves effected also had apparent precocious udder development. These calves were group-housed in a barn that collected standing water in the scrape alley during heavy rain and were bedded on wood shavings. Extensive diagnostic evaluation was performed at the Cornell AHDC using New York State Contract subsidy pricing. Multiple necropsy submissions were largely unremarkable on gross examination and histopathology, however a consistent finding among deceased calves was heavy fecal loads of S. papillosus eggs and vascular congestion of the udder. Further investigation revealed the remaining living cohort of calves were also heavily parasitized with S. papillosus.

    A series of publications out of Japan by Taira et al documented several nearly identical outbreaks of sudden death in calves housed in similar conditions with heavy burdens of S. papillosus, and ultimately demonstrated sudden death in calves following experimental infection with S. papillosus. The third larval stage of this parasite penetrates the skin, often in the coronary band region of the limb, and migrates to the gastrointestinal tract where it matures to the adult stage. The condition of standing water in the recorded outbreaks may have eased larval migration. Experimental studies by Naotoshi et al demonstrated that calves infected with adult female S. papillosus worms experienced cardiac arrhythmias 1-2 days prior to death along with ventricular arrhythmias immediately preceding respiratory arrest. It is hypothesized that S. papillosus may produce a cardiac toxin that leads to cardiac death of infected calves.

    Deworming the calves in the New York State herd with doramectin pour-on resulted in immediate cessation of sudden death cases, resolution of mammary enlargement and the elimination of S. papillosus from fecal float evaluation. The Veterinary Support Services group at the AHDC encourages veterinarians to consider S. papillosus as a differential for sudden death in dairy calves, and submit feces for evaluation. Further investigation is underway at AHDC to elucidate the pathophysiology of this disease process.


  • 9/19/18: (North America) Equine Coronavirus in horses. The Cornell University Animal Health Diagnostic Center (AHDC) has seen a rise in the diagnosis of equine enteric coronavirus cases since initial outbreaks were investigated starting in 2010. The AHDC Veterinary Support Services veterinarians are attributing this increase in equine enteric coronavirus in our area of the Northeast to improved awareness of the disease and therefore diagnostic submissions. Since 2013, nearly 2000 samples have been submitted to the AHDC for equine coronavirus testing, of which approximately 18% have tested positive.

    Equine coronavirus is commonly seen during the cold weather months, October through April, but cases are also diagnosed in the heat of the summer.

    Equine Coronavirus Seasonality Chart
    Equine coronavirus manifests as an enteric disease in the horse, with common clinical signs of fever, anorexia, lethargy, soft manure and mild colic. Transmission of equine coronavirus is via the fecal-oral route. Clinical signs of equine coronavirus are seen 48-72 hours after exposure and fecal viral shedding begins 3-4 days after exposure.

    Clinical signs generally resolve in several days to 1 week with supportive care. The sample for equine coronavirus testing is fresh feces for equine enteric coronavirus PCR submitted in an unbreakable leak-proof container to the laboratory by overnight courier on ice packs.

    For more detailed information on equine coronavirus please visit: https://ahdc.vet.cornell.edu/news/equine_enteric_coronavirus.cfm

    For a printable PDF on equine coronavirus see the AHDC fact sheet.

  • 8/31/18: (North America) West Nile Virus in Horses. Equine Arbovirus season is upon us and 23 cases of West Nile Virus (WNV) have been diagnosed in the past month at the AHDC. Two cases have been reported in New York. The first was in Steuben County in an unvaccinated 15-year-old gelding who was hospitalized for ataxia and generalized muscle fasciculations. The horse recovered. The second was in Suffolk County, in a 5-year-old mare who presented with a fever, dysphagia and recumbency, and died within 24 hours. The mare was also unvaccinated.

    Other cases have been diagnosed in PA, CT, DE, MD, OH, WI, GA, MT, TX and Alberta, Canada. Most horses have no recent West Nile vaccine history. Clinical signs have been varied and include the following: fever, ranging from low grade to 106 F, moderate to severe ataxia, muscle fasciculations, occasional body tremor, urine dribbling, absent tail tone and anal tone, recumbency, lip droop and eyelid droop, inability to swallow an esophageal tube, and head shyness. Horses have ranged in age from 2 years to 27 years old and include a variety of breeds.

    The WNV IgG/IgM capture ELISA, run on serum, is the test of choice. A positive IgM antibody value is diagnostic for recent infection with WNV. Each report contains the following:

    ''West Nile Virus IgG and IgM Capture ELISA interpretation statement:
    <2.5 = Negative
    2.5-3.3 = Inconclusive
    >3.3 = Positive

    WNV IgG antibodies in horse serum can originate from infection with WNV or from vaccination. Most infected horses with WN IgM positive results also have WNV IgG antibodies in their serum.''

    IgG antibodies can be used to measure vaccine response; a value of >20 on the WNV IgG ELISA is considered a reasonable response to vaccination.

    Distribution of WNV IgG/IgM capture ELISA results over the past six years:



  • 7/26/2018: (NY) The Longhorned tick, (Haemaphysalis longicornis), is an exotic tick reported for the first time in the United States in November, 2017. It was found on a NJ sheep farm. Recently (July 2018), this tick has been found in New York State. This tick is known to feed on variety of mammals and birds and in its native range (south-east Asia) has been implicated in the transmission of diseases of economic importance to farm animals. If veterinarians encounter this tick, or any other ticks in their practice, the Parasitology section of the AHDC at Cornell University can provide identification. Ticks should be submitted in ethyl alcohol or rubbing alcohol in a leak proof container. See this link for photos of ticks: https://ahdc.vet.cornell.edu/programs/tick/.

    To learn more about the Longhorned tick, follow the link to the Northeast Regional Center for Excellence in Vector-Borne Diseases (NEVBD) http://neregionalvectorcenter.com/longhorned-tick, a cooperative agreement center with CDC and Cornell University.


    Adult female Haemaphysalis longicornis tick. Photo provided by Mani Lejeune, AHDC Parasitology

  • 7/16/2018: (NY) Marked selenium deficiency was diagnosed in a 27 year old Arabian mare. The horse was found in lateral recumbency, unable to move into sternal without assistance. She had been apparently normal the day before. Muscle fasciculations were present over the neck. The horse was current on vaccinations for Rabies, Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE), Western Equine Encephalitis, Tetanus, and West Nile Virus (WNV). Serum and EDTA whole blood were collected prior to euthanasia. Ancillary testing for Equine Herpesvirus-1 and EEE were negative. Antibody testing for WNV was consistent with previous vaccination. The vitamin E concentration was at the low end of the reference range and the selenium concentration was markedly low at 2.72 ug/dL (reference range 14-24 ug/dL). Although the brain was not submitted to definitively rule out rabies and other etiologies for this clinical presentation, we are presuming that the selenium deficiency was a significant factor in this case. As we head further into Arbovirus season in the northeast, this example highlights the importance of keeping non-infectious causes of neurologic illness on your differential list as well.

  • 7/12/18: (NY) Brucella canis: An adult male and two adult female breeding dogs from the same facility were diagnosed with Brucellosis. All of the dogs were born at the kennel. The Brucella (B.) canis testing is a two-step process performed on serum. The first test is the Canine Brucella 2 mercapto-ethanol (ME) Slide Agglutination test, which is an antibody test. It is prone to false positives because it may cross react with antibodies to other bacteria. The confirmation test is an Agar Gel Immunodiffusion test (AGID II), which uses cytoplasmic antigens and is highly specific for detecting Brucella antibodies. Blood cultures can also be performed to confirm infection.

    Dogs become bacteremic within weeks of infection and can remain bacteremic for years. Intact male dogs harbor B. canis in the prostate and the scrotum. They may develop testicular swelling and epididymitis, infertility and abnormal sperm. Bitches infected with B. canis typically have late term abortions. Uveitis and diskospondylitis can occur as well. The bacteria are shed in abortion fluids, vaginal discharge, semen and urine, and enter the body via mucous membranes. Offspring from infected females will not become reliably seropositive until six months of age.



    If Brucellosis is diagnosed in a New York breeding kennel, the kennel must be quarantined and the state officials notified. Options for infected dogs are euthanasia or sterilization to decrease shedding, and a prolonged combination antibiotic treatment course. B. canis is zoonotic and the risk of transmission to humans needs to be relayed to owners. In 2012, a three-year-old girl living in New York City contracted B. canis from the family dog. Brucellosis has vague clinical signs in people, including fever, headache and fatigue. Human laboratories use smooth Brucella antigens for serologic assays; therefore B. canis is potentially under-diagnosed in the human population.

  • 7/9/2018: (Central USA) Severe von Willebrand factor deficiency, known as "Type 3" von Willebrand disease (VWD), was recently diagnosed in a one-year old male Australian shepherd. The sample was submitted for VWD screening from a referral laboratory from the central USA. Although VWD is often included in the differential for bleeding in Doberman pinschers, the VWD trait is found in many different breeds. Type 3 VWD refers to the complete absence of circulating VWF protein. Clinical signs of bleeding often manifest when affected puppies are teething, with potentially fatal hemorrhage developing after surgery. Transfusion with fresh frozen plasma or cryoprecipitate will control or prevent bleeding in VWD-affected dogs. More information on VWD screening is available at the Comparative Coagulation web page https://ahdc.vet.cornell.edu/sects/coag/clinical/vonwill/labdiag.cfm

  • 6/28/2018: (NY) Lead Poisoning: Lead (Pb) toxicosis in a four-month-old Hereford calf was confirmed through diagnostics at the AHDC, following a rule out of rabies at the public health laboratory. The calf presented with circling, blindness, and bruxism, and died after drinking a bottle. On necropsy, the veterinarian found metal pieces in the stomach. Two other cows in the herd were acutely blind and down. One of the cows was tachycardic (heart rate 120) and displaying muscle tremors. Upon walking the pasture, the veterinarian found an old lead battery plate, similar to what was seen in the calf's stomach. The calf's liver was submitted to the AHDC and the Pb concentration was 56.82 mg/kg, which is consistent with toxicosis.

    Because cattle are curious and indiscriminate eaters, they are prone to acute lead poisoning, which causes encephalopathy. Top differentials include polioencephalomalacia, hepatoencephalopathy, and rabies. When lead is ingested, adult cattle absorb 1-2%, but milk calves absorb up to 50% systemically. Lead binds to erythrocytes and when red blood cells die, it is stored primarily in bone as triphosphate salt. Eventually, 90% percent of lead is distributed to the bone and the remainder is in soft tissues. Lactating cows resorb bone to release calcium and can have fluctuating Pb concentrations in milk depending on stage of lactation. The half-life of lead can vary tremendously in cattle and can be excreted in milk for months to years after exposure. Treatment is chelation therapy via intravenous or subcutaneous calcium disodium ETDA, which removes Pb from bone. Bovine lead toxicosis is reportable in New York.

    Lead battery plate bits from abomasum. Photo courtesy of B.Thompson, DVM
    Lead battery plate bits from abomasum. Courtesy of B.Thompson, DVM

  • 6/25/2018: (NY) Potomac Horse Fever (PHF; Neorickettsia risticii) was diagnosed in a sixteen-year-old Thoroughbred mare via PCR performed on an EDTA whole blood sample. The mare presented with a fever of 102.6 F, lethargy, and severe diarrhea. PCR is the optimal test to diagnose an acute infection of PHF. Serum can also be submitted for PHF Indirect Fluorescent Antibody (IFA) testing. Because the incubation period is 10-18 days, acutely ill animals often have an elevated PHF IFA titer. Vaccinated animals may have a titer in a similar range. Paired acute and convalescent titers will help sort out response to infection versus a vaccine or previous exposure. N. risticii is an intracellular bacterium found in snails and aquatic insects. Horses accidentally ingest the emerged adult aquatic insects and become infected. Other ancillary tests were negative in this mare, and she was responding to IV oxytetracycline and clinically normal as of 6/21/18. This mare has received the PHF vaccine annually. It's a good reminder to keep PHF on your differential list regardless of vaccine status. Per the American Association of Equine Practitioners (AAEP) vaccination guidelines: "Vaccination against this disease has been questioned because field evidence of benefit is lacking. Proposed explanations for this include lack of seroconversion and multiple field strains whereas only one strain is present in available vaccines."

  • 6/4/2018: (NC) Potomac Horse Fever was presumptively diagnosed by a positive serum titer of 6400 by indirect fluorescent antibody (IFA). The sample was collected from a clinical animal on 4/30/2018 and reported by the laboratory on 5/4/2018. The horse presented with diarrhea, fever, and laminitis. Blood chemistry revealed hypoproteinemia, hyperbilirubinemia, increased creatinine, BUN, and electrolyte abnormalities.

    EDTA whole blood for PHF PCR is the preferred sample of choice for acute infections, but both EDTA whole blood and serum may assist in the diagnosis if the animal is seen later in the course of the illness or animal recovers without an initial diagnosis. Ancillary testing for equine beta corona, fecal parasites, Salmonella, Clostridial toxins and enterotoxins were negative. There was no history of PHF vaccination.

    Per the referring veterinarian, the weather had been unseasonably warm at the time of presentation. Unusually warm weather may cause aquatic insect hatches earlier than typically seen at that time of year; therefore, PHF should be on the differential diagnosis for horses with signs compatible with a diagnosis of PHF. Oxytetracycline was administered along with supportive care. At the time of contact with the referring veterinarian, the animal was alive.

  • 5/31/2018: (NY) Vitamin E/Se deficiency. Two adult dromedary camels died over the course of 3 weeks. The first one died without any prior clinical illness noted and a necropsy was not performed. The second one died after being slightly "off" for one day and abnormalities were not appreciated on gross necropsy. The most significant histologic lesion was severe myocardial degeneration, necrosis, fibrosis and mineralization, which could have been consistent with ingestion of cardiotoxic plants, ionophore toxicity, or nutritional deficiencies in vitamin E and/or selenium. The animals were all housed on a dry lot, fed dry hay only and provided with salt blocks. Liver selenium for this animal was at the low end of the reference range for camels. Selenium levels in EDTA whole blood samples taken from additional live cohort animals ranged from mild to moderately deficient. About three weeks after the second camel died, a third adult camel on the premises presented with vague clinical signs including increased periods of recumbency. His serum vitamin E level was moderate to markedly low and he was diagnosed with presumptive Vitamin E deficiency. His clinical condition returned to normal following oral vitamin E supplementation. The remainder of the herd was started on oral vitamin E and selenium supplementation with the plan to recheck levels in 6 to 8 weeks. These cases highlight the importance of the interplay of selenium and vitamin E in the overall health of many species.

  • 5/25/18: (NY) Canine Influenza (CIV; H3N2) has been detected by multiple laboratories in respiratory samples from dogs in the New York City area. Most cases are in Brooklyn with at least one confirmed case on Long Island. The number of confirmed cases exceeds 40 at this time. So far, all of the positive influenza typing is H3N2. Influenza virus can typically be detected in acutely ill dogs by PCR testing of nasal swabs. Dogs with clinical signs for >7 days should be also be tested for CIV by Hemagglutination Inhibition antibody test on serum, as the virus may be undetectable in later stages of illness. Influenza vaccination history should be provided for all dogs tested for CIV antibodies. See frequently asked questions or get additional information.

  • 5/15/2018: Duck Viral Enteritis (Duck Plague) confirmed in approximately 15 dead ducks in Onondaga County, New York since 4/27/18. DVE affects waterfowl species - ducks, geese, and swans. It is not a human health risk, and is not known to affect poultry. It is caused by a herpesvirus (anatid herpesvirus 1) and is spread through direct contact with infected birds and contaminated water, food, or feces. Signs include a bloody vent or bill area, diarrhea, ataxia, and inability to fly. Mortality rate can be up to 90%, with many acute deaths before the onset of clinical signs. This virus can persist in the environment for up to 60 days. The last major mortality event in the US from this virus was in 1994 in the Finger Lakes region of NY. Report unusual waterfowl mortality in New York to the Cornell Wildlife Health Lab: https://cwhl.ahdc.vet.cornell.edu/article/confirmed-case-duck-plague-duck-viral-enteritis-onondoga-county-ny

  • 5/4/2018: Equine Disease Communication Center( EDCC) April 2018 summary report. This summary is the compilation of the cases reported to the EDCC for April 2018. This site is “an industry-driven initiative which works to protect horsesâ€� providing a resource for all interested parties. Visit the site http://www.equinediseasecc.org/ to find current information on diseases, biosecurity, and other important equine information. You can sign up to receive the email outbreak alerts.

  • 4/23/18: (Multistate) Beta coronavirus continues to be detected in equine fecal samples via PCR at the AHDC. The positive cases from January 1, 2018 through April 20, 2018 were examined to better characterize the clinical signs that practitioners are currently observing in the field. During this time, our laboratory detected 59 new cases of beta coronavirus in horses from 16 different states (NY, OH, WI, PA, VT, MD, ME, MI, MA NH, CT, ID, CA, FL, KS, VA ) and one Canadian province. Here is a summary of the clinical signs observed in the affected horses as described on the submission forms:
    • 40% had anorexia
    • 38% had fever
    • 24% failed to provide a history or description of clinical signs on the submission form
    • 22% had lethargy or dullness noted
    • 14% had some degree of diarrhea
    • 10% had some signs of colic
    • 6% were re-tests; these were non-clinical at time of submission but had tested positive for coronavirus on a fecal PCR previously and had associated clinical signs in the past
    • 5% had decreased manure production
    • 5% were non-clinical and were only being tested due to proximity to another horse who had tested positive
    • 2% died following a period of fever, anorexia and subsequent neurologic signs
    • 2% were humanely euthanized due to neurologic signs (head-pressing, staggering)
    • 2% demonstrated muscle fasciculation (along with a fever and anorexia)

    Interestingly, the four horses who were re-tested were still fecal PCR positive 6, 26, 48 and 84 days respectively after their initial positive test. Also, they were all non-clinical at the time of the re-test.

  • 4/10/2018: (CT) Feline Influenza virus was confirmed by PCR testing (3/29/18) on a nasal swab from a cat sick with signs of respiratory illness and fever, and radiographic evidence of pneumonia. Additional efforts are being made to sequence the virus. The submission form indicated that the owner of the cat had been ill with a respiratory illness and fever the previous week.
    5/25/18 Update: Sequencing has typed the influenza virus in this cat as a seasonal human influenza H1N1 virus.

  • 3/5/2018: (NY, VT, MA, CT, ME, PA, ID, CA, OH, MO, MI, FL) Beta coronavirus has been detected via PCR of fecal samples from horses in multiple submissions to our laboratory during the months of January and February, 2018. Specifically, we have detected 34 fecal PCR positive cases from 12 states during this 2-month period. The typical clinical signs associated with beta coronavirus infection in horses include fever, lethargy, and inappetance with some showing mild colic signs as well. In rare instances, however, horses may display more severe clinical signs including diarrhea and even neurologic abnormalities (likely associated with hyperammonemia secondary to infection) including dullness, head-pressing and ataxia. In these rare occurrences, infection can be fatal. Infected horses tend to shed coronavirus in their feces for up to 3 weeks but can shed for even more prolonged periods of time in some cases. Some infected horses do not display any apparent clinical signs but may still be shedding the virus in their feces.

  • 2/22/2018: (NY) Congenital Tremor Pestivirus of pigs was determined to be the cause of piglets born with congenital shaking or tremors. The virus was confirmed by PCR test for the virus, on a sample of tissue from an affected piglet, at the Iowa State Veterinary diagnostic Laboratory, where the virus was first characterized. The condition is now referred to as congenital tremors but has been variously referred to as myoclonia congenital, “shaker pigs” or “dancing pigs.” A video of affected piglets provided by the Iowa State Veterinary diagnostic Laboratory is available on YouTube.

  • 2/5/2018: (NH and NY) Two cases of Dicrocoeliosis caused by the Little liver fluke or the Lancet fluke, Dicrocoelium dendriticum have been diagnosed at the AHDC in the past week. One case involved 100s of adult lancet flukes (<10mm long) recovered from the livers submitted of three dead sheep from a flock in NH. Clinical signs typically include loss of body condition in most domestic species but acute fatal infections in sheep have also been reported. The next case involved a bison who died with a history of chronic weight loss. Adult lancet flukes were once again recovered from the liver that was submitted and Dicrocoelium dendriticum eggs were detected in the feces by a fecal floatation test.

  • 2/1/2018: (NH) Bovine Leptospirosis abortion outbreak was diagnosed in a large dairy herd. This herd had experienced an unusually high rate of abortions over a 2-week period of time in cattle that were 6-8 months pregnant. Leptospira were detected by PCR of placenta from 2 abortions. Also, several dams who had aborted had L. Pomona MAT titers of 3200 and 1600. Some breeding bulls on the farm were also tested with the Lepto MAT and several had L. Pomona titers ≥ 12,800. Testing for other causes of infectious bovine abortions were unremarkable.

  • 1/22/2018: (CA, KY, OH) Canine Influenza (CIV) has been detected in multiple submissions to our laboratory during the last few weeks from California dogs. In addition, we continue to see positive cases from Kentucky and Ohio. All of the recent positives that have had their typing completed are N2 positive, consistent with Influenza A H3N2.To see a map of cases in the past 45 days, go to Canine Influenza Virus Update.

  • 1/9/2018: (NY; PA) Recently we have diagnosed Cache Valley Fever virus in two sheep flocks based on the presence of antibodies to the virus in heart blood or pleural fluid from stillborn fetuses. The positive serum neutralization tests on the fetal fluids, along with the gross fetal abnormalities, which have included arthrogyrposis, mandibular brachygnathism, scoliosis, and hydranencephaly together confirm the diagnosis of Cache Valley Fever. Positive antibody tests run on serum from the affected ewes only indicates exposure, but by itself is not enough to obtain a definitive diagnosis for the cause of the current abortion or stillbirth. This virus is a mosquito-transmitted cause of infertility, abortions, stillbirths and congenital abnormalities in sheep and goats. It is most commonly diagnosed in sheep and goats who are due to give birth in the winter, usually prior to February in the northeast. This corresponds to exposure of the pregnant dams (during the first 2 months of gestation) to infected mosquitoes during the late summer/early fall.

  • 1/2/2018: (NY) Selenium deficiency: Three 3-5 month old beef calves were found dead in a small herd with about 10-12 adults. The animals did not have any prior signs of illness. A necropsy was performed on one of the calves and no gross abnormalities were detected. Histopathology of skeletal and heart muscle revealed moderate, multifocal, myocyte degeneration and mineralization. In addition, the selenium level in the liver was 0.38 ppm, consistent with a moderate to marked deficiency. All of the animals appeared to be in good body condition with a diet of hay only and access to a mineral block.

  • 1/2/2018: (NY; VT) Copper deficiency continues to be diagnosed in Northeast livestock, as exemplified in the following 3 recent cases.
    • The first (NY; Tioga County) was an adult bison with a history of chronic diarrhea and weight loss, submitted for complete necropsy and ancillary testing. The liver copper was 8.21 ppm with the normal range of 100-500 ppm, on a dry matter basis. Additional ancillary testing has not identified other causes for the diarrhea and weight loss, including testing for paratuberculosis, BVD, heavy parasitism, malignant catarrhal fever, or salmonellosis.
    • The second submission (NY; Cattaraugus County) included samples from 1 dead and 2 live adult Herford/Angus crossbred beef cattle with unexplained diarrhea, poor appetites and poor body condition. In addition to mild parasitism diagnosed in both live animals with fecal exams, the dead animal had marked copper deficiency (liver copper 5.26ppm w/ 100-500 ppm normal, on a dry matter basis) and moderate selenium deficiency (liver selenium 0.59 ppm w/ 1.0-2.5 ppm normal on a dry matter basis). The dead animal had evidence of terminal septicemia with E. coli, as well as Coronavirus infection. Other causes of diarrhea were ruled out.
    • A third submission (VT) included samples from 2 adult sheep euthanized and necropsied with a history of severe respiratory disease. Both had pneumonia and evidence of septicemia histologically. Both were seropositive for Ovine Progressive pneumonia (OPP) virus, however the pneumonia seen histologically was not consistent with OPP. In addition, liver copper levels were 12.54 and 17.0 ppm, w/ normal being 100-500 ppm on a dry matter basis.
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Profound primary copper deficiency, or secondary copper deficiency associated with an excess of dietary molybdenum has been associated in ruminants with chronic diarrhea and weight loss, as well as a poor hair coat that may also exhibit changes in hair color. In addition, anemia, reduced fertility, and sudden death have been reported. Copper is also considered an important micronutrient for immune function. Adequate copper in diet formulations or trace mineral supplements provided to pasture-fed livestock contribute to providing adequate copper for livestock. NYS soils and forages are expected to be variable in copper content based on specific location. For a map with soil copper in the US, see: https://mrdata.usgs.gov/soilgeochemistry/#/detail/element/29

  • 12/22/2017: (CT) Bovine Respiratory Syncytial virus (BRSV) infection was confirmed by PCR of lung tissue from a 5-month-old heifer that was representative of 10 sick calves with temperatures ranging from 103.4-105.5 and respiratory signs. In addition to the BRSV detection, Mannheimia hemolytica and Pasteurella multocida were cultured from lung tissue. This animal died spontaneously prior to treatment, briefly after being detected as sick. Others are being treated with antibiotics and some are reported to be responding favorably to treatment.

  • 12/18/2017: (NY) Selenium deficiency continues to be diagnosed in cattle in NY, as exemplified in the following 3 recent cases. The first (Lewis County) was a submission of tissues from a 3-day-old dead Holstein heifer calf with apparent septicemia and Cryptosporidium colonization described on histopathology examination of fixed tissue. Her liver selenium was 0.66 ppm with the normal range for her age 1.5-6 ppm, on a dry matter basis. The second submission (Herkimer County) included samples from a 5-yr-old cow and a 5-mo-old calf, both with unexplained weight loss and recumbency. In addition to mild parasitism diagnosed in both, and Johne’s disease confirmed by fecal PCR in the cow, both were deficient in whole blood selenium, with the calf’s selenium level being below the limit of detection of the assay. A third submission (Orleans County) requested screening of 4 adult beef cows for whole blood selenium. Two out of 4 animals were markedly deficient, and the selenium level in the third was also below the level of detection in the assay.

    Adequate selenium in diet formulations, trace mineral supplements provided to pasture-fed livestock, and proper colostrum feeding all contribute to providing adequate selenium for livestock. Most NYS soils and forages are expected to be deficient in selenium. For a map with soil selenium by county in the Notheastern US, see: https://mrdata.usgs.gov/geochem/doc/averages/se/northeastern.html
  • 12/15/2017: (NY; Clinton county) Equine coronavirus infection was confirmed by PCR on fecal samples of 2 out of 3 horses submitted from an outbreak in which several horses presented with fevers and signs of mild colic for multiple days. Additional PCR testing for respiratory pathogens, Anaplasma phagocytophilum and Ehrlichia risticii were all negative. There was one recent introduction of a new horse into the stable, as well as the return to the stable of one horse from temporary stabling elsewhere.

  • 12/15/2017: (NY) Anaplasmosis: Anaplasma phagocytophilum was diagnosed via PCR on EDTA whole blood from a 7 month old foal. The foal was febrile (104 F) with soft, pale, fetid manure for one day. A hemogram and chemistry panel revealed a few mild abnormalities worth noting. A mild regenerative anemia, thrombocytopenia, toxic changes in neutrophils, and a mild hypoalbuminemia were detected. The serum amyloid A result was very elevated at 2149 (normal range 0-8) and the fibrinogen was also markedly elevated at 700 (normal range 0-200). This foal tested negative for coronavirus, rotavirus, salmonella and endoparasites.

  • 12/08/2017: (NY) Listeria welshimeri was isolated on Listeria culture of the brain of a fresh two-year old Holstein dairy cow. This animal was not quite right at 6 days fresh. She had difficulties eating and drinking. About 3 days later she became more neurologic and recumbent and was humanely euthanized. Her brain tested negative for Rabies. Histopathology of the brain revealed a lymphoplasmacytic meningoencephalitis. Although this bacterium is not a common cause of meningoencephalitis in cattle, it has been described as a cause of neurologic disease in sheep, and the distribution and composition of the inflammatory infiltrates are similar to those seen in Listeriosis cases caused by Listeria monocytogenes.

  • 12/08/2017: (NY) Listeria monocytogenes was isolated on Listeria culture of the brain of a 3 year old Holstein dairy cow. The cow was in mid-lactation, with acute onset of neurologic signs. The cow was weak, ataxic, with hypersalivation. Menace response was lacking in one eye. The brain tested negative for Rabies.

  • 12/06/2017: (NY) Equine Leptospirosis abortion was presumptively diagnosed based upon extremely elevated titers on the Lepto MAT test acutely (L. pomona ≥ 12,800) and histologic placentitis. Leptospira were not detected by PCR of the placenta and no organisms were observed on histopathological examination. Testing for other infectious causes of equine abortion were unremarkable. Convalescent serology is pending and an update will follow.
    Update: Lepto PCR was added to lung tissue from the fetus and was positive at the Moderate level, confirming this as a Leptospirosis abortion.

  • 12/04/2017: (NY) Anaplasma phagocytophilum and Borrelia burgdorferi coinfection is likely in an 8 month old TB colt that presented with edema in all 4 legs. EDTA blood was positive by PCR, confirming the Anaplasmosis. Both Osp C and Osp F antibodies against Borrelia burgdorferi (lyme disease) were detected in the Lyme Muliplex assay, which is an indicator of subacute infection. Additionally, a Serum Amyloid A test was also requested and it was markedly elevated at 1391 ug/mL, with 0-8 being the typical reference interval.

  • 11/17/17: (NY) Canine Influenza was detected in a 10 week old puppy which had had a respiratory illness of approximately 10 days duration. The puppy probably entered NY already infected, based upon the travel history provided for the puppy, onset of illness, and low level of virus detected consistent with a sub-acute infection. The influenza virus in this case cannot be typed due to the extremely low viral load detected. Many positive cases have been detected recently in submissions from Kentucky and Ohio. Recent positives also include individual cases from Indiana and Illinois. To see a map of cases in the past 45 days, go to Canine Influenza Virus Update.

  • 11/16/2017: (NY; Tompkins County) Leptospirosis was diagnosed in a 3 year old male Labrador Retriever/crossbred dog by Lepto PCR on a free-catch urine sample. The dog presented sick with evidence of acute kidney disease.

  • 10/31/2017: (NY) Two cows from a 2400 head dairy herd were sampled because of a several week history of diarrhea without fevers. One of the cows was inappetent. Both cows were detected as heavy shedders for Mycobacterium paratuberculosis with the Johne’s Fecal PCR, and both also had Coronavirus detected by PCR and Salmonella detected by fecal culture. Clinical Johne’s disease is expected to cause immunosuppression, and in this case it may be contributing to the environmental contamination or transmission of multiple pathogens in the herd.

  • 10/30/2017: (NY, Orange county) Reindeer: Fascioloides magna liver fluke infection was confirmed in a dead reindeer with a Quantitative Fecal Exam. Additional testing, including histopathology and other ancillary tests on submitted tissues, is continuing since Fascioloides magna is not expected to kill cervids. The AHDC has reported previous cases of Fascioloides magna in the NY Adirondack Park region and extending to areas just south of the NY Thruway (I-90). This case would represent further southern spread of this parasite, whether by animal translocation or infection on site.

  • 10/30/2017: (NY & PA) Anaplasmosis: Anaplasma phagocytophilum infection was confirmed in 4 different horses. Two of the 4 were detected on blood smear evaluation for complete hemograms. All 4 were confirmed using the Anaplasma phagocytophilum PCR test. Horses were located in Delaware and Seneca Counties in NY and Schuylkill County in PA. We expect to see a spike in confirmed equine and canine Anaplasmosis cases in October, November and December in the Northeast US.

  • 10/30/2017: (NY & NH) Bovine Virus Diarrhea virus infection was confirmed in individual animals in two dairy herds. The NY heifer was 4 months old, died with severe pneumonia and tested positive by BVD PCR on lung tissue. The NH heifer exhibited diarrhea, weight loss and crusts on her nose and tested positive by both BVD PCR and BVD Antigen Capture ELISA (ACE) on blood specimens. She is, therefore, expected to be persistently infected since birth, which is especially unfortunate as she has been exhibited on the show cattle circuit.

  • Update to 10/24/17 post on Equine Coronavirus:
    Subsequent testing one week later on 16 other horses in the barn indicate that 3 other horses are shedding Coronavirus. They are exhibiting diarrhea also.

  • 10/26/2017: (NY) Bovine Respiratory Syncytial Virus (BRSV) and Dictyocaulus viviparus (lungworms) were both detected in a fresh lung sample from an adult Holstein cow who had been euthanized while in severe respiratory distress. BRSV was detected by PCR on the lung tissue. The lungworms were seen grossly upon examination of the tissue on arrival in our Receiving section and were confirmed to be Dictyocaulus viviparus within our Parasitology section. Multiple animals in this herd have been affected and two have died.

  • 10/24/2017: (NY) Equine Coronavirus was detected by PCR on a fecal sample from an adult horse with a history of a high fever and one swollen leg. This horse tested negative for Potomac Horse Fever (Neorickettsia risticii) and Anaplasma phagocytophilum via PCR tests performed on EDTA whole blood samples taken the same day as the fecal sample. This horse was a new addition to the farm about 30 days prior to the onset of clinical signs.

  • 10/24/2017: (NY) Bovine Respiratory Syncytial Virus (BRSV) was detected via PCR performed on lung tissue from a 2 year old Angus cow. Histopathologic lesions consistent with BRSV infection were also noted on the fixed lung tissue. This herd is not up to date on vaccinations and multiple animals have been affected.

  • 10/20/2017: (NY) Unusually high numbers of dead Eastern bluebirds, Sialia sialis, were reported to the Cornell Wildlife Health Laboratory (CWHL) this past summer. The reports came mostly from people who have monitored nest boxes for years and knew this was a cause for concern. Postmortem examination of several birds revealed the cause of death was severe damage to the inner wall of the intestine: an ulcerative, or necrotizing, enteritis. Looking at data collected though our New York Wildlife Health Surveillance Program, no cases of necrotizing enteritis or high bluebird mortality have been recorded in the last 7 years. For more information, visit the CWHL's Disease Watch

  • 10/11/2017: (NY) Potomac Horse Fever (PHF) was confirmed with both a positive Ehrlichia risticii PCR on EDTA whole blood and PHF IFA result of a positive titer of 1600 in a horse from Cayuga county. The 12 yr old mare had a clinical history of 12 hrs of lethargy, anorexia, and decreased fecal production with abnormal PE findings of a dull attitude, a temperature of 102.6 °F, heart rate of 52bpm, absence of gut sounds and presence of dry fecal balls in rectum.

  • 10/9/2017: (NY) Leptospirosis: Positive Leptospira PCR on a cystocentesis urine sample from a dog in Tompkins County with a clinical history of several weeks of polyuria/polydipsia, lethargy, inappetence, vomiting and renal azotemia (Creatinine 6.1, BUN 47, urine Sp. Grav. 1.010).

  • 10/2/2017: (NY) Leptospirosis as a cause of bovine abortion confirmed by positive PCR of placenta. This herd experienced several late term abortions recently in both their cows and heifers and is currently completely unvaccinated.

  • 9/28/2017: (NY) Salmonella Dublin: Since 9/1/17, Salmonella Group D1 (presumptive Salmonella Dublin) has been isolated from 12 different dairy farms in New York State. For two of the farms, this was the first detection. For the remainder, Salmonella Dublin has been previously detected and these new cases are evidence of persistence and ongoing clinical challenges due to Salmonella Dublin. Serotyping is pending to confirm that the recent Salmonella D1 isolates are Salmonella Dublin. Detection was primarily in young calves ranging from 4 days to 3 months in age, with a single isolate from a fecal sample of a first lactation cow. All NYS isolates in recent years exhibit a severely multi-drug resistant antimicrobial susceptibility pattern.

  • 9/22/2017: (VT) Hypocholesterolemia was confirmed with cholesterol analysis of a serum sample from a 3 month old, unthrifty Holstein calf with chronic diarrhea. This condition is a recently recognized congenital genetic disorder of Holsteins. In this case, the dam to this calf was a known carrier (heterozygote) but the bull was not thought to be a carrier.

  • 9/22/2017: (NY) West Nile Virus (WNV)
    Clinton county 19 yr. old horse. This horse was euthanized.
    Livingston county 13 yr. old horse. This horse was recovering at last update.
    St. Lawrence county 2yr. old horse. The current condition of this horse has not been provided.
    Genesee county 1yr. old horse. This horse was recumbent and was euthanized.
    Erie county 1.5 yr. old horse. This horse was recumbent with seizures and was euthanized.

    Please also see the NYS Dept. of Health Mosquito-Borne Disease Activity Report

  • 9/21/2017: (NY) Case 1: Feline Lungworm (Aelurostrongylus abstrusus) detected by parasitological examination of a fecal sample from the cat from Tompkins County. A Fecal Qualitative exam was performed, consisting of double centrifugation flotation in both sugar and zinc sulfate solutions. Concurrent heavy infections with Toxocara cati (cat roundworm) and Ancylostoma tubaeforme (cat hookworm) were detected. Interestingly, the cat was also infected with Eucoleus aerophilus (another lungworm), Toxoplasma gondii and Aonchotheca putorii.

  • 9/21/2017: (NY) Case 2: Eucoleus boehmi was diagnosed in a dog by parasitological fecal analysis. This parasite has predilection for nasal turbinates and sinuses of dogs and wild carnivores and could cause clinical signs of sneezing and mucopurulent nasal discharge.

  • 9/18/2017: (NJ) Hemophilia A (Factor VIII deficiency) was identified as the cause of non-traumatic hemorrhage in a 16-week old male Pitbull mix puppy from NJ. The puppy had a history of shifting leg lameness, and had subcutaneous and intramuscular hematomas at presentation. An in-house APTT and PT were normal, however testing at the Comparative Coagulation Lab revealed a specific prolongation of APTT and severe Factor VIII deficiency (FVIII =1% of normal) thereby confirming a diagnosis of hemophilia A.

  • 9/15/2017: (NY) Tompkins County: West Nile Virus was confirmed as the cause of neurologic illness in a horse based on elevated IgG and IgM antibodies detected in a serum sample collected acutely during the course of disease. This mare had marked twitching of the muzzle as well as the muscles of the neck and front legs. She was very reluctant to move and had not been vaccinated for West Nile Virus in the past several years. The horse is recovering well at this point.

  • 9/15/2017: (NY) Orleans County: West Nile Virus was confirmed as the cause of neurologic illness in a horse. Once again, this diagnosis was confirmed based on elevated IgG and IgM antibodies detected in an acute serum sample. This gelding presented with stiffness in the front limbs, quivering lips, twitching of the head and a mild fever. This horse had not been vaccinated for West Nile Virus. This horse is also reported to be recovering fully.

  • 9/14/2017: (MD) Leptospirosis confirmed by serum MAT as a cause of bovine abortions. The Leptospira Pomona titers ranged from 800 to greater than or equal to 12,800. This herd is currently completely unvaccinated.

  • 9/14/2017: (NY) Bovine Virus Diarrhea (BVD) was identified in tissues from an aborted Holstein fetus submitted for a complete abortion work-up. Subsequently 8 persistently infected (BVD PI) animals have been found in this dairy herd, comprised of 1800 adult animals and 1800 young stock. Testing is ongoing.

  • 9/13/2017: (NY) Infectious bronchitis virus (IBV) and Mycoplasma co-infection was confirmed in 2 of the 10 chickens that died with respiratory signs from a flock of 30 birds. The diagnosis was confirmed based on compatible necropsy lesions, Mycoplamsa culture, and IBV PCR, as well as testing to rule out other pathogens.

  • 9/13/2017: (NY) Infectious laryngotracheitis (ILT – herpesvirus) associated with respiratory signs was confirmed by histopathology (intranuclear inclusions) following necropsy of a 3-month old chicken from a multi-age and multi-species flock of 50 that were all showing respiratory distress. Gross lesions of a caseous exudate blocking the proximal trachea was typical of ILT.

  • 9/11/2017: (NY) West Nile virus (WNV) infection was confirmed in a Red Tailed Hawk from Long Island New York. PCR testing along with compatible gross and histologic lesions in the heart confirmed the diagnosis.

  • 9/7/2017: (NY) Blackleg (Clostridium chauvoei infection) was confirmed by anaerobic culture, fluorescent antibody tests, and histologic lesions in multiple 3-4 mo. old Angus calves following necropsy exams on the farm of origin by the attending veterinarian and multiple necropsies also performed at the AHDC. Approximately 15 out of 40 suckling calves died over several days. Skeletal muscle lesions were minimal, but cardiac muscle was affected in all calves where it was examined.

  • 8/30/2017: (OH) – West Nile Virus infection associated with neurologic illness was confirmed in a horse from Ohio with elevated WNV IgM and IgG antibodies on the WNV IgM/IgG capture ELISA test using a serum sample collected from the acutely ill horse. We received an update that the horse has made a good recovery.

  • 8/30/2017: Brucella Fluorescence Polarization Assay (FPA) testing is now available at our AHDC laboratory for testing animals for export to Canada. Testing is available M-F with a 1-2 day report lag time for Negative results.

  • 8/28/2017: (ME) Porcine multisystemic wasting syndrome associated with porcine circovirus-2 (PCV-2) infection was diagnosed in piglet tissues submitted by a Maine veterinarian, based on histopathology and PCV-2 fluorescent antibody test results.

  • 8/28/2017: (NY) Monensin toxicosis has been presumptively diagnosed in dead heifers from a NY dairy farm based upon histopathological lesions in multiple animals, elevated cardiac troponin in an antemortem sample, and a lack of other findings to explain sudden deaths in animals without significant gross or histologic lesions. Rumen content and total mixed ration monensin quantitative analysis are consistent with elevated levels in the diet in some samples.

  • 8/21/2017: (NY) Potomac horse fever was presumptively diagnosed in a horse from Clinton County, NY based on positive serum titer (Potomac Horse Fever IFA) of 6400 5-6 days after onset of febrile illness. Horse subsequently died due to devitalized and perforated bowel.

  • 8/21/2017: (VT) Leptospirosis diagnosed by PCR of urine specimen in 17 day old dead beef calf from Vermont. Calf was icteric and had dark red urine on necropsy. No lepto vaccines were used in the herd for several years.

  • 8/18/2017: (VT) Vermont goat herd. Clinical history: all goats are coughing. Muellerius capillaris lungworm larvae were identified in 2 out of 3 trans-tracheal wash samples. Inflammatory response was consistent with a lungworm infection in all 3 goats.

  • 8/18/2017: Start of Current Animal Health News service.