Comparative Clinical Pathology

, Volume 22, Issue 6, pp 1155–1163 | Cite as

A field outbreak of aflatoxicosis with high fatality rate in feedlot calves in Iran

  • Mohamad Tolouei KaleibarEmail author
  • Javad Ashrafi Helan
Original Article


An outbreak of aflatoxicosis is reported in calves in Iran. Aflatoxicosis is caused by aflatoxins and is the most important disease resulting from ingestion of feed contaminated with Aspergillus spp. Two hundred 4- to 10-month-old male Holstein calves of approximately 150 kg were kept in a farm and were fed a ration consisting of alfalfa hay and sunflower cakes. A total of 35 calves (17%) died 4 months after presenting a disease characterised by general unthriftiness, diarrhoea and death. Necropsy findings included firm, pale livers and hydrothorax. Lymphopenia, monocytosis, high levels of serum sorbitol dehydrogenase (SDH), alkaline phosphatase (ALP) and SGOT in the serum and congestion, necrosis, fatty change and megalocytosis in the necropsied livers were found on laboratory examination. Reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction detected bovine viral diarrhoea (BVD) virus genome in the affected calves. Toxicogenic species of Aspergillus (mainly A. flavus) grew in the culture from sunflower feeds. The analysis of the feed revealed 1,130 μg of AFB1/kg. A diagnosis of aflatoxicosis due to the immunosuppressive effects of the BVD-MD infection was made based on the characteristic clinical signs, pathology, virology, haematology, biochemistry and mycology, and on the presence of high levels of aflatoxin B1 in the sunflower fed to the calves. Providing aflatoxin-free feeds to calves prevented further clinical cases. This report demonstrates the need for careful quality control of feed products and the susceptibility of immunosuppressive calves to the effects of aflatoxins.


Aflatoxicosis Holstein calves BVD-MD infection Iran 



The authors thank the research vice counselor of the University of Tabriz for the financial support and Mrs. M. Hashemian, Mycological Department, University of Tehran, for her assistance.

Conflicts of interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag London Limited 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mohamad Tolouei Kaleibar
    • 1
    Email author
  • Javad Ashrafi Helan
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Clinical Sciences, Faculty of Veterinary MedicineUniversity of TabrizTabrizIran
  2. 2.Department of Pathobiology, Faculty of Veterinary MedicineUniversity of TabrizTabrizIran

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