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Congenital dyserythropoietic anaemia and dyskeratosis in Australian Poll Hereford calves


  • Correction added after online publication 29 October 2012: The word ‘dykeratosis’ in the title and in the Discussion section has been changed to ‘dyskeratosis’.

Corresponding author.


Congenital dyserythropoietic anaemia (CDA) is a heterogeneous group of rare genetic disorders that in humans is characterised by ineffective haematopoiesis with morphological abnormalities in erythroid precursor cells and secondary iron overload. In the 1990s, a syndrome of CDA with dyskeratosis and progressive alopecia was reported in Poll Hereford calves in Canada and the USA. We report the clinical and pathological findings in two Poll Hereford calves with this syndrome from separate properties in South Australia. The animals had a variably severe anaemia, associated with abnormal nucleated red blood cells in peripheral blood, and large numbers of rubricytes and metarubricytes with a characteristic nuclear ultrastructure in the bone marrow. Both calves were born with a wiry hair coat and a progressively ‘dirty-faced’ appearance associated with hyperkeratosis and dyskeratosis (apoptosis).