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J Am Vet Med Assoc. 1990 Feb 15;196(4):590-6.

Thrombocytopenia and hemorrhages in veal calves infected with bovine viral diarrhea virus.

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Diagnostic Laboratory, New York State College of Veterinary Medicine, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY 14853.


The relationship between bovine viral diarrhea virus (BVDV) infection and thrombocytopenia was studied in 18 veal calves experimentally infected with BVDV. All calves were free of BVDV, and 13 calves were free of serum neutralizing antibodies to BVDV before virus inoculation. Calves were inoculated at approximately 10 days of age, and platelet counts were monitored over a period of several weeks. Ten additional calves housed in close proximity were kept as uninoculated controls. A profound decrease in platelet counts by 3 to 11 days after inoculation was seen in all calves that had neutralizing antibody titers less than 1:32 before infection. Severe thrombocytopenia (less than 5,000 platelets/microliter) was seen in 12 calves, 11 of which also developed hemorrhages. Necropsy findings in 3 severely thrombocytopenic calves that died included multiple hemorrhages throughout the body. Calves that recovered had increased platelet counts, and in most instances, a corresponding increase in neutralizing antibody titers to BVDV. At 11 days after inoculation, BVDV was detected on platelets by use of immunofluorescence, but evidence of surface-bound immunoglobulin was not found. The results suggest that a nonimmunoglobulin-mediated method of platelet destruction or sequestration develops as a sequela to BVDV infection.

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