Diaphragmatic lesions and fatal haemorrhage in Texel sheep

02 May 2019

Waine, K., Strugnell, B. W., Howie, F., Swinson, V., Millar, M.

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Twelve Texel sheep were found to have diaphragmatic lesions, with or without thoracic haemorrhage, at postmortem examination over a period of two-and-a-half years. Presenting clinical signs ranged from general malaise or mild respiratory stertor, to severe acute respiratory distress or sudden death. Gross postmortem findings included focal areas of diaphragmatic haemorrhage, diaphragmatic musculature necrosis or diaphragmatic rupture with herniation of abdominal viscera into the thoracic cavity. In some cases, acute severe fatal haemorrhage from either thoracic vessels or the diaphragmatic lesions was observed. Histopathology confirmed an acute event leading to the sudden death of affected animals, but also suggested a pre-existing chronic degenerative lesion of unknown aetiology affecting the diaphragmatic muscle. This case report suggests diaphragmatic lesions, with or without fatal thoracic haemorrhage, as a differential for respiratory distress or sudden death in young Texel sheep.