Isolation of Mycoplasma species from the lower respiratory tract of healthy cattle and cattle with respiratory disease in Belgium.
Between 1997 and 2000, a total of 150 healthy cattle and 238 animals with respiratory disease were examined for six Mycoplasma species. Attempts were made to detect Mycoplasma canis, M. dispar and Ureaplasma diversum in calves with recurrent disease, and all three of these species were identified in calves with recurrent disease and in healthy lungs. In healthy calves, 84 per cent of bronchoalveolar lavage fluids were mycoplasma free; when cultures were positive, M. bovirhinis was the only species isolated. Mycoplasmas were isolated from 78 per cent of animals suffering recurrent respiratory disease and from 65 per cent of acute respiratory cases. M. bovis was isolated from bronchoalveolar lavages from 35 per cent of calves suffering recurrent respiratory disease, and from 50 per cent of acute cases, and from 20 per cent of pneumonic cases examined postmortem. M. bovis was associated with other Mycoplasma species in 44 per cent of cases. M. dispar was also isolated from 45.5 per cent of calves suffering recurrent respiratory disease, often in association with M. bovis. M. canis was identified for the first time in diseased Belgian cattle. Other mycoplasmas, including M. arginini, M. alkalescens and U. diversum, were isolated less frequently. Associations between mycoplasmas and other pathogens were often observed. Among lungs infected with Pasteurella and/or Mannheimia species, more than 50 per cent were mixed infections with M. bovis.