Actinomycosis is a chronic bacterial disease that mostly affects dairy cows and causes swelling around the mandibular area, impairing their feeding ability. It causes rarefying osteomyelitis, a bone disease affecting cow skull bones. The bacteria Actinomyces bovis, which is often present in soil and can enter the body through wounds or other traumas, is generally responsible for the illness. Effective treatment often includes antibiotics and surgery to lower the risk of infection. In contrast, prevention includes excellent cleanliness and rapid treatment of wounds or injuries.
Actinomycosis Management in Cattle
Actinomyces are gram-positive bacteria, anaerobic bacteria that can cause disease primarily in cattle and other animals like buffalo, and swine. A lumpy jaw is a chronic and progressive abscess that commonly involves the mandible, maxillae, or other bony tissues in the head. Clinical signs can provide a presumptive diagnosis of the disease.
Still, a definitive diagnosis requires a culture of the organism from the lesion, which is difficult due to anaerobic growth conditions. Treatment aims to kill the bacteria and halt the spread of the lesion. AIn addition, antibioticsare commonly prescribed for an extended duration to eliminate bacterial infections.
Causes of Actinomycosis in Cattle
- The Actinomyces bovis bacteria is the principal cause of Actinomycosis in cattle. However, there may be a connection with other bacteria, such as Corynebacterium pyogenes and Staphylococcus.
- These organisms can enter the body through wounds or injuries, causing persistent infection and swelling around the mandibular area, hindering feed intake.
Disease Cycle of Actinomycosis in Cattle
Actinomycosis is a disease that mostly affects cattle between 2 and 5 years old. It is a rare disease that rarely spreads from one animal to another. The bacteria that cause the disease, called Actinomyces bovis, can live in an animal’s body and spread infection through cuts or wounds.
The infection can be caused by abrasions in the buccal mucosa caused by coarse food or surface material when chewing or by the dental alveoli when a tooth erupts. The bacteria can also be found in healthy cattle’s digestive systems. They can get into subepithelial tissues when things on the surface hurt them.
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What are the Symptoms of Actinomycosis in cattle?
- Actinomycosis shows up in cattle as hard, round, painless growths on the mandible or maxilla, usually at the level of the central molar teeth.
- As the infection worsens, it can damage the bone tissue and cause large granulomatous masses to form on the surface of the jaw. Then, sinus tracts can form.
- It can affect the process of chewing, which can hurt digestion and lead to a loss of health in general.
- Abscesses can grow and create sinus tubes that lead to the skin’s surface, where pus can drain. If you look in the mouth, you might find loose or missing teeth, and the animal might have bad breath, called halitosis.
- Loose teeth can cause drooling and trouble swallowing, which makes it hard to eat. The nearby bones may also be affected in cases that have gone on for a long time.
- The disease doesn’t spread through the lymphatic system and usually doesn’t affect nearby lymph nodes.