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Diagnosis and treatment of liver abscesses in cattle


  • Phil Scott DVM&S CertCHP DSHP FRCVS

    1. Large Animal Practice, Royal (DICK) School of Veterinary Studies, Easter Bush Veterinary Centre, Roslin, Midlothian. EH25 9RG
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Ultrasonographic demonstration of abscesses within the liver in an animal with chronic weight loss/poor production should stimulate further ultrasonographic examination of the lungs and right kidney to assess bacteraemic spread although it is often difficult to afford a precise prognosis. Most liver abscesses are caused by Trueperella (formerly Arcanobacterium) pyogenes and the most effective treatment is procaine penicillin administered for 30–42 consecutive days. The mechanism of weight loss in animals with liver abscesses has not been reported, but a number of pathogenic mechanisms are plausible including gastrointestinal dysfunction, liver disease, and hypercatabolism. Anorexia, due to pain or chronic inflammation, is possible.