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Engerström, Elin, 2021. Effects of Elaphostrongylus spp. infection on haematology and blood chemistry – in moose (Alces alces), reindeer (Rangifer tarandus), goat (Capra aegagrus hircus) and sheep (Ovis aries). Second cycle, A2E. Uppsala: SLU, Dept. of Anatomy, Physiology and Biochemistry (until 231231)



The aim with this study was to investigate the effects Elaphostrongylus alces and Elaphostrongylus
rangiferi have on haematology and blood chemistry in experimentally infected animals. The
nematodes of genus Elaphostrongylus spp. can cause neurologic disease, myositis, verminous
pneumonia and increased mortality. Nine moose (Alces alces) calves, six reindeer (Rangifer
tarandus) calves, six goat (Capra aegagrus hircus) kids and five lambs (Ovis aries) were
experimentally infected with Elaphostrongylus alces. Three moose calves and one lamb were
infected with Elaphostrongylus rangiferi. Each animal was orally inoculated with approx. 1000
infective third-stage larvae, two moose calves received a lower dose (approx. 400 infective larvae,
E. alces). Blood samples were taken at around 14-day intervals from each animal and continued
until the animal died or was euthanized, 12 to 158 days post inoculation.
The blood samples were analysed for haematology and biochemistry parameters including
haemoglobin (Hb), haematocrit (HCT), total leukocyte count (LPK), band and segmented
neutrophils, eosinophils, basophils, lymphocytes, monocytes, aspartate aminotransferase (ASAT),
creatine kinase (CK), glutamate dehydrogenase (GLDH), total protein (TP), urea, cholesterol,
calcium, albumin, α1-globulin, α2-globulin, β1-globulin, β2-globulin, γ-globulin and albuminglobulin (A:G) ratio.
The analysed parameters from the E. alces and E. rangiferi infected moose calves were compared
with results from a control group of six uninfected calves. The six reindeer calves were their own
control, comparing samples taken before and after E. alces infection. For the infected goat kids and
lambs, changes over time after infection were studied; no samples were taken before infection.
The most marked finding in the blood analyses was eosinophilia, significantly elevated in the E.
alces infected moose calves, increased also in reindeer calves, goat kids, one lamb, and in E.
rangiferi infected moose calves, occurring one to three weeks after infection. In the reindeer calves
increased numbers of basophils were often seen with the elevated eosinophils. Higher haematocrit
levels compared to controls were seen in the moose calves, often together with clinical signs. The
moose calves had a significant decrease of urea levels in the blood 1 to 14 days after infection
compared to controls.
Less pronounced alterations occurring in moose calves, reindeer calves and goat kids were
increased neutrophils within two weeks of infection. A slight increase of α2-globulin (α1+2-globulin
in reindeer) in E. alces infected animals was seen mainly in goat kids and lambs week 5 to 6 of
infection, and less noticeable in moose calves and reindeer calves week 3 to 4 after infection. In E.
rangiferi infected animals the α2-globulin levels increase close to the animal’s death. No marked
alterations of analysed liver or muscle enzymes were observed.

Main title:Effects of Elaphostrongylus spp. infection on haematology and blood chemistry – in moose (Alces alces), reindeer (Rangifer tarandus), goat (Capra aegagrus hircus) and sheep (Ovis aries)
Authors:Engerström, Elin
Supervisor:Steen, Margareta and Lilliehöök, Inger
Examiner:Ytrehus, Bjørnar
Volume/Sequential designation:UNSPECIFIED
Year of Publication:2021
Level and depth descriptor:Second cycle, A2E
Student's programme affiliation:VY002 Veterinary Medicine Programme 330 HEC
Supervising department:(VH) > Dept. of Anatomy, Physiology and Biochemistry (until 231231)
Keywords:E. alces, E. rangiferi, elaphostrongylosis, muscleworm, brainworm, small ruminant, eosinophilia, biochemistry, serum chemistry
Permanent URL:
Subject. Use of subject categories until 2023-04-30.:Animal diseases
Nature conservation and land resources
Deposited On:04 Mar 2021 12:14
Metadata Last Modified:05 Mar 2021 02:00

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