Liver biopsy for the diagnosis of Senecio brasiliensis (Asteraceae) poisoning in cattle cattle
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Liver lesions caused by Senecio spp poisoning in cattle are progressive and deaths may occur many months after the plant is ingested. Laboratory tests of liver function are not always reliable indicators of subclinical affected animals. Liver biopsy could be useful to identify cattle with hepatic lesions but without clinical signs and would have also a prognostic value since it is generally believed that hepatic lesions will eventually cause liver failure and death. Such animals could be picked out by liver biopsy before clinical signs develop and be sent to slaughter, minimizing economic losses. This study was aimed to evaluate the liver biopsy as a diagnostic and prognostic tool in cases of Senecio spp. poisoning in cattle. An outbreak of Senecio brasiliensis was diagnosed in dairy calves which ingested hay contaminated by 5-10% of this Senecio species. Liver biopsy using a Menghini needle by right transthoracic approach was carried out in 135 calves that ingested the contaminated hay. Biopsed calves were followed up for 26 months after the biopsy. Seventeen biopsied calves had typical lesions of Senecio spp poisoning (positive calves) and 118 had histologically normal livers (negative calves). Hepatic lesions of positive calves included fibrosis, hepatomeglocytosis, and biliary hyperplasia. Fifteen out of the 17 positive calves died with typical clinical signs of Senecio spp poisoning within 17-149 days after the biopsy; 13 of those were necropsied and had typical gross and histopathological lesions of Senecio spp poisoning. Two positive calves were clinically normal at the end of the post-biopsy observation period. The prognostic value (sensibility) of the test was considered high since 88.23% of the positive calves died. The specificity of the test was considered very high (99.16%) since only one of the 118 negative calves died in the observation period. In none of the biopsed calves a negative effect related to the biopsy technique was observed.
author list (cited authors)
Barros, C., Castilhos, L., Rissi, D. R., Kommers, G. D., & Rech, R. R.