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Research article2018Peer reviewedOpen access

Bronchopneumonia in Swedish lambs: a study of pathological changes and bacteriological agents

Lindstrom, Lisa; Tauni, Felicia Asp; Vargmar, Karin


Background: One of the most common post-mortem inspection finding of sheep and lambs in Sweden, following routine slaughter is pneumonia and its prevalence is increasing. To our knowledge, the aetiology of pneumonia in lambs is not well-known for Swedish conditions. Chronic bronchopneumonia, also known as "atypical" or chronic non-progressive pneumonia, is a common disease worldwide, affecting lambs up to 12 months old. It is therefore of interest to elucidate if this disease complex is also a common cause of pneumonia among Swedish lambs. Chronic bronchopneumonia has a characteristic macroscopic and histopathologic appearance, and Mycoplasma ovipneumoniae is the microbial agent most frequently found. Although this bacterium is important for the pathogenesis, multiple agents are presumed to be involved. The aim of this study was to describe the macroscopic and histopathologic lung lesions in routinely slaughtered lambs with pneumonia, and to determine the bacterial agents involved.Results: A total of 41 lungs with gross lesions consistent with pneumonia were examined. Of these, 35 lungs displayed the typical gross appearance of chronic bronchopneumonia, with several or all of the characteristic histological features. M. ovipneumoniae was detected in 83% of the 35 lungs and Mannheimia haemolytica was isolated in 71%. Pneumonia associated with M. ovipneumoniae could be correlated to specific gross lesions consistent with the gross description of chronic bronchopneumonia in lambs.Conclusion: In this study, chronic bronchopneumonia was the most common lung disease in routinely slaughtered Swedish lambs. This diagnosis was based on the characteristic macroscopic and histopathologic pulmonary findings and the frequent presence of the bacterium M. ovipneumoniae. The macroscopic appearance of chronic bronchopneumonia could therefore be used during routine investigation of the lamb carcasses at slaughter, to determine the most likely cause of pneumonia.


Chronic bronchopneumonia; Atypical pneumonia; Lamb; Mycoplasma ovipneumoniae; Respiratory disease

Published in

Acta Veterinaria Scandinavica
2018, Volume: 60, article number: 54
Publisher: BMC