Navel ill

Joint ill, omphalophelbitis and polyarthritis
• Navel or joint ill is a disease of young calves, usually less
than one week of age. It occurs as a result of infection
entering via the umbilical cord at, or soon after birth and
characterized by development painful swelling or
abcessation (creamy white pus) of the navel, arthritis and
• The disease is caused by many microorganisms such as
Streptococcus sp., Staphylococcus sp., Proteus sp. and
Fusobacterium necrophorum.
• Distribution: The disease is worldwide distributed and
present in Egypt.
Animal susceptible: The disease is most common in
calve of 1-2 W. of age.
Mode of transmission: The infection can be transmitted
through contamination of umbilicus of calve by feces,
uterine discharge from infected dams, soils and bedding
of contaminated pens.
Predisposing factors:
This problem mainly develops due to the poor hygiene
conditions at calving and dirty umbilicus.
• Microorganisms enter the umbilicus and may result in a
local reaction at the point of entry into the body, between
the muscle layers, or in the peritoneum.
• Otherwise, the bacteria may pass via the umbilical vein to
the liver and then to systemic blood.
• When infection is present in the blood, it may cause
septicemia or result in chronic illness due to localization I
the organs such as heart, brain (cause meningitis), eye
(causing panophthalmia) and joints (causing arthritis).
Clinical signs
• The IP is variable, morbidity and mortality are generally
• Navel ill
• If infection stays mostly confined to the navel, the primary sign is a
swollen, painful navel that does not dry up
• An abscess may develop from which pus (often like thick custard)
may burst. The calf may have a high temperature and reduced
• Septicemic form:
• Calf suffer from anorexia, pyrexia (40.5 °C) accelerated respiratory
rate. The mucous membrane become redden and has petichial
hemorrhage. There are various degrees of dehydration followed by
acidosis and death.
Clinical signs
• Bacteremic form with localization in the internal
• The calve suffer from anorexia and fever 39-40 °C) and the
organism spread to various organs.
In case of localization in the heart give to endocarditis.
If the eye affected, there is panophthelmitis and hypopyon.
The commonest sites for bacteria to settle are the joints. This leads
to swollen stiff painful (often hot) joints. Aspiration of the affected
joint reveals thick pus.
In some calves infection spreads from the navel to the liver causing
a liver abscess. In this case problems may not be noted until the
calves are older (1 –3 months).
Postmortem leisons
• Swollen of umbilical vessels and filled with blood.
• There is localized peritonitis.
• Petichial and ecchymotic hemorrhage on subserosa and
submucosa of various organs.
• Field diagnosis: based on clinical signs and history of the
• Laboratory diagnosis:
• Samples: Swabs or pus from the swelling navel or joints, blood
and serum samples.
• Procedures:
• Microscopic examination of stained smear.
• Isolation of the causative agents on specific media.
• Serological examination.
• Histopathological findings.
• Separate the infected animals and isolate them.
• For large navel abscesses, veterinary intervention to drain and
remove the infected tissue is often necessary and the lesion is
washed with antiseptic such as betadin with local dressing
• In joint infection, the joint should be surgically opening with
removal of pus and affected tissue and joint flushing can be
• Septicemic form should be treated with intensive course of
broad spectrum antibiotics such as amoxicillin, ampicillin and
sulfonamides by the parental route for at least 5 days.
• Applying a disinfectant (such as iodine) to the navel can
reduce the risk of bacteria entering via the navel, applying
disinfectant two or three times to bulls can reduce the risk.
• Cattle must be born in clean environment that they aren’t
moved to other pens or contaminated pastures until the
navel has dried completely.
• Finally, like all diseases of young calves getting sufficient
colostrum is essential. Ensure that all calves get a good
suck in the first 6 hours of birth
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