Bacteriologic and pathologic studies of hepatic lesions in sheep. Academic Article uri icon


  • At an abattoir, lesion specimens from 140 condemned sheep livers were collected for bacteriologic culture and for pathologic examination. Grossly, 23 lesions were abscesses; from 9 of which, Fusobacterium necrophorum biovar A (3 in pure culture and 6 in mixed culture) was isolated and from 14 of which, biovar B (6 in pure culture and 8 in mixed culture) was isolated. Escherichia coli was the predominant facultative anaerobic bacterium and Clostridium perfringens was the predominant obligate anaerobic bacterium isolated from the 14 lesions with mixed bacterial infection. Histologically, these lesions had a core of coagulation necrosis, encircled by a zone of necrotic phagocytic cells and bacteria with cellular characteristics of F necrophorum biovars A or B, and a connective tissue capsule. Of the 117 lesions without F necrophorum, 49 were culture-positive (for other organisms) and 69 were culture-negative. These 117 lesions were fibrous and were smaller than the 23 abscesses. A variety of gram-positive and gram-negative facultative anaerobic and obligate anaerobic bacteria was isolated from the culture-positive lesions, but always in low numbers. Eleven culture-negative and 18 culture-positive lesions were examined and had histologic characteristics of parasite-induced granulomas, with numerous eosinophils and epithelioid giant cells. Results of the study indicated that the histologic appearance of ovine hepatic lesions with F necrophorum was similar to bovine liver abscesses caused by F necrophorum, but unlike bovine liver abscesses, F necrophorum biovar B was isolated more frequently than was biovar A and often in pure culture. Most of the lesions in the condemned livers were parasite-induced granulomas.

published proceedings

  • Am J Vet Res

author list (cited authors)

  • Scanlan, C. M., & Edwards, J. F.

citation count

  • 13

complete list of authors

  • Scanlan, CM||Edwards, JF

publication date

  • March 1990