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Can Vet J. 1986 November; 27(11): 440–442.
PMCID: PMC1680310

Leptospirosa pomona Abortion Storm in a Cattle Herd in Saskatchewan


Abortions occurred in 18% of 131 beef cows and heifers during two months, on a farm in southern Saskatchewan. The losses began two weeks after acute febrile illness and agalactia in a dairy cow to which the beef herd had been exposed. A diagnosis of Leptospira interrogans serovar pomona infection was made on the basis of serology in cows and the finding of leptospires in fetal tissues by fluorescent antibody test. Tentative diagnosis of infectious bovine rhinotracheitis delayed treatment and prophylaxis until infection attained high intensity in the herd and severe losses to the farmer occurred. Abortions ceased after vaccination against pomona and oxytetracycline treatment of pregnant cows, although chronic debility followed the acute phase of the disease in some cows. Recrudescence of infection was suspected four months later, when acute agalactia occurred in one cow and debility in calves and cows was recurring. Pomona infection was not proven, but dihydrostreptomycin treatment and revaccination were applied to the whole herd. Seroconversion and IgM antibody continued to indicate a persistent source of infection and susceptibility in a minority of the population one year after onset. The source of the original infection is believed to have been a carrier beef cow, or a dairy cow which was leptospiruric at the time of contact with the beef herd. With the exception of one aborted calf, no evidence of pomona infection was found outside the farm, in cattle or wild mammals tested serologically within a radius of 30 km, during one year following the outbreak.

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