Invasive Species Compendium

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Abstract

Destructive polyarthropathy in aborted bovine fetuses: a possible association with Ureaplasma diversum infection?

Abstract

Severe destructive polyarthropathy with fibrillation and erosion of articular cartilage, deformation of articular surfaces, and proliferation of periarticular soft tissue was diagnosed in 5 bovine fetuses aborted in the last trimester. There was involvement of a single coxofemoral joint in 2 fetuses, both elbows, and a stifle in 1, both stifles and tarsal joints in another, and, in the most severely affected fetus, both hips, stifles, and shoulders as well as 1 carpus. In affected joints, the articular cartilage was irregularly reduced in thickness and contained fibrovascular tissue and, in some cases, inflammatory cells and fibrin. Four of 5 fetuses had microscopic placentitis; all had mild lymphoplasmacytic conjunctivitis. Ureaplasma spp. was identified in 4 cases by polymerase chain reaction or culture. Fetal arthropathy and Ureaplasma diversum-associated joint pathology have not been previously reported in the veterinary literature; however, other Ureaplasma spp. are known to cause reproductive disease and arthritis in humans.