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Clinical-pathological findings of otitis media and media-interna in calves and (clinical) evaluation of a standardized therapeutic protocol

Bertone, I., Bellino, C., Alborali, G. L., Cagnasso, A., Cagnotti, G., Dappiano, E., Lizzi, M., Miciletta, M., Ramacciotti, A., Gianella, P., D’Angelo, A.
BMC veterinary research 2015 v.11 no.1 pp. 297
Mycoplasma bovis, Pseudomonas, Staphylococcus, Streptococcus, bacteria, calves, ears, field experimentation, interviews, otitis media, oxytetracycline, pathogens, pet ownership, prospective studies, respiratory system, respiratory tract diseases, risk factors, therapeutics
BACKGROUND: The aims of this field trial were to describe the clinical-pathologic findings in calves with otitis media (OM) and media-interna (OMI), to evaluate, through the development of a scoring system, the effectiveness of a standardized therapeutic protocol, and to identify the causative pathogens and their possible correlation with concurrent respiratory disease. All animals underwent physical and neurological examinations at three experimental time points: at diagnosis/beginning of treatment (T0), 1 week (T1) and 2 weeks (T2) after therapy was started, respectively. Follow-up telephone interviews with animal owners were conducted 1 month later. The therapeutic protocol consisted of tulathromycin (Draxxin®; Zoetis), oxytetracycline hydrochloride (Terramicina 100®; Zoetis), and carprofen (Rimadyl®; Zoetis). RESULTS: Twenty-two calves were enrolled. Physical and otoscopic examination at T0 revealed monolateral and bilateral otorrhea in 16 and 6 calves, respectively, with peripheral vestibular system involvement in calves presenting with neurological signs (n = 17; 77 %). A significant improvement of clinical and neurological scores was observed in 20 (90 %) calves, a full recovery in only 1 (5 %). One calf worsened between T0 and T1 and it was removed from the study. None of the other animals showed a worsening of clinical conditions and/or required further treatments at one month follow up. Mycoplasma bovis was isolated in 89 % of the affected ears either alone or together with P. multocida (n = 5), Streptococcus spp. (n = 1), Staphylococcus spp. (n = 1), and Pseudomonas spp. (n = 1). M. bovis either alone or together with these bacteria was also isolated from the upper and/or lower respiratory tract in 19 (86 %) calves. CONCLUSIONS: This is the first prospective study to evaluate the effectiveness of a standardized therapeutic protocol for the treatment of OM/OMI in calves. The therapy led to clinical improvement in the majority of the calves. Persistence of mild clinical-neurological signs did not compromise productive performance. The numerical scoring system for clinical and neurological signs permitted objective evaluation of response to therapy. M. bovis was the pathogen most often isolated. This finding should be considered in the treatment of OM/OMI in calves. Moreover, respiratory tract infection should not be underrated, since it is one of the major risk factors for the development of OM/OMI.