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Lesions in the carcasses and viscera of very young slaughter calves condemned at post-mortem meat inspection

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The carcasses of 370 very young slaughter calves condemned for various diseases and defects at routine post-mortem meat inspection were subjected to further and more detailed macroscopic examination as well as histopathological examination of some tissues. Of the carcasses examined, 138 were condemned for “navel ill”, and in the majority of these cases the lesions extended beyond the umbilicus, particularly involving the umbilical vein and the urachus. Enzootic pneumonia was the most common cause of pleuritic lesions in the carcass, and 75 carcasses were condemned for this lesion. Arthritis, whether localised or involving a number of joints, was the primary lesion in 32 carcasses. Focal interstitial nephritis was observed in the kidneys of 36 carcasses, while 23 carcasses were condemned for wounds and bruising. A number of other miscellaneous diseases and defects, including generalised peritonitis, jaundice, hepatic abscesses and “fever”, were observed at low rates in condemned carcasses. Resolution or localisation of lesions had occurred at the time of slaughter on average in 35% of the condemned carcasses and the judgment of total condemnation was difficult to justify on a scientific basis and would not have been applied to other classes of slaughtered livestock. In the case of wounds and bruising, 95.6% of the carcasses could have been trimmed. There was also considerable variation in the likely pathogenesis and systemic effects of the diseases and defects observed. A need for clear and specific judgment criteria to be applied to the carcasses of very young slaughter calves at post-mortem meat inspection was identified.
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Keywords: Cattle - general; Meat; Meat hygiene; Pathology; Slaughter

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 1994-08-01

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