February 02, 2017

Current understanding of Acute Bovine Liver Disease in Australia


angus cattle credit www.angus.org

Ashlee McEvoy ASAP/ASAS Intern 

A paper recently published in MDPI has outlined the current published and unpublished understandings of acute bovine liver disease (ABLD) and its links to certain types of grass, fungi and toxins that the disease may be associated with.

ABLD is a hepatotoxic disease principally affecting both beef and dairy grazing cattle. The affected can be of any age, sex and breed. This disease is most commonly observed in the southeastern states of Australia, however there have been possible occurrences in Western Australia. The cases of the disease are commonly found to occur in autumn/winter (April-July), beginning around times of first rainfall and lower temperatures that occur after summer.

The aim of this paper was to investigate the associations ABLD has with grasses found in the areas of grazing that are commonly found in the diagnosis of the disease, then further investigating the fungal infections these grasses may have. With this mycotoxins and fungal pathogens were then investigated for any association they may have with the disease. The investigation was carried out using forms of both published and unpublished findings regarding the disease and the pathogens mentioned.

The outcomes of the paper show that there is a small number of toxins that are known to cause periportal necrosis in bovines. However none of these had been further linked to ABLD. It was also found that ABLD was recurrently linked with the presence of dog’s tail grass (Cynosurus echinatus) and Drechslera spp. fungi, but it was still unknown if these are both etiological factors. The paper also shows that the majority of the knowledge about the disease is limited to case reports, with minimal experimental research. Overall the current and published as well as unpublished reports have been drawn together to suggest that there is possible fungi and mycotoxins association with the rise of ABLD.
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