Bacillary Hemoglobinuria (Red water disease)

Bacillary hemoglobinuria is an acute, infectious, toxemic disease caused by Clostridium haemolyticum ( C novyi type D).

It affects primarily cattle but has also been found in sheep and rarely in dogs. It occurs in the western part of the USA, along the Gulf of Mexico, in Venezuela, Chile, Great Britain, the middle East, and other parts of the world.Description Bacillary hemoglobinuria is an acute, infectious, toxemic disease caused by Clostridium haemolyticum ( C novyi type D). It affects primarily cattle but has also been found in sheep and rarely in dogs. It occurs in the western part of the USA, along the Gulf of Mexico, in Venezuela, Chile, Great Britain, the middle East, and other parts of the world

Cattle may be found dead without premonitory signs. Usually, there is a sudden onset of severe depression, fever, abdominal pain, dyspnea, dysentery, and hemoglobinuria. Anemia and jaundice are present in varying degrees. Edema of the brisket may occur. Hgb and RBC levels are quite low.The duration of clinical signs varies from about 12 hr in pregnant cows to about 3-4 days in other cattle. The mortality in untreated animals is about 95%. Some cattle suffer from subclinical attacks of the disease and thereafter act as immune carriers.

Diagnosis

The general clinical picture usually permits a diagnosis. The most striking sign is the typical port-wine-colored urine, which foams freely when voided or on agitation.

The presence of the typical liver infarct is sufficient for a presumptive diagnosis. The normal size and consistency of the spleen serve to exclude anthrax and anaplasmosis. Bracken fern poisoning and leptospirosis also should be considered.

Diagnosis can be confirmed by isolating C haemolyticum from the liver infarct, but the organism is difficult to culture. Rapid and accurate diagnosis can be made by demonstrating the organism in the liver tissue by a fluorescent antibody or immunohistochemical test or by demonstrating the toxin in the fluid in the peritoneal cavity or in a saline extract of the infarct.