Effect of monensin sodium on histological lesions of naturally occurring bovine paratuberculosis.
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Of 19 adult cows naturally infected with paratuberculosis, 13 were treated with monensin sodium and six remained untreated. At the beginning of the study, the severity of the histological lesions was assessed from biopsy samples of ileum, liver, mesenteric lymph node and rectal mucosa. From the data acquired it was possible to assign the animals so that the lesions in the two groups were similar (P=0. 8323). Monensin was administered in the feed, which contained 147.5 mg/kg, and each treated cow received 450 mg of monensin daily for 120 days. At the end of this period all cows were killed and histopathological findings in the ileum, liver, mesenteric lymph node and rectal mucosa were compared with the initial findings. A scoring system showed that monensin had a beneficial effect in the ileum (P=0.077), liver (P=0.0322) and rectal mucosa (P=0.0578), but under the conditions of the experiment no such effect could be demonstrated in mesenteric lymph node (P=0.3599). There appeared to be an overall effect on all tissues taken together (P=0.1335). The effect of monensin may have been due to both a halting and a reversal of the pathological process. In all but one of the six untreated cows, the lesions worsened during the course of the experiment.