Retrospective analysis of the incidence, aetiology and risk factors of sepsis based on post-mortem examination records in ruminants
Keywords:sepsis, ruminants, Escherichia coli, Klebsiella pneumoniae, retrospective
Sepsis is an important disease in both humans and animals. In animals, it is usually caused by septicaemia after infection and has not been well-studied. This article describes a retrospective analysis of sepsis cases in small and large ruminants submitted to the Post-Mortem Laboratory, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Universiti Putra Malaysia between the years 2007 and 2017. The incidence of sepsis was found to be at 40.5% in small ruminants and 38.6% in large ruminants. In both small and large ruminants, sepsis was mainly caused by bacterial infection, which was significantly (p<0.05) higher compared to parasitic and viral infections. Most cases of sepsis occur due to infections originating from the gastrointestinal tract and this is followed by the respiratory tract. Escherichia coli has been found to be the most common bacterial pathogen of sepsis in ruminants; significantly (p<0.05) higher compared to other bacterial pathogens like Klebsiella pneumoniae, Pasteurella sp., and Staphylococcus aureus. Sepsis involving E. coli has often resulted in pure isolation of the pathogen, thus being suggestive of a single infection. Underlying or concurrent infection is the most important risk factor leading to sepsis in ruminants, with significant difference (p<0.05) compared to other risk factors such as stress or malnutrition. Associations between the gastrointestinal system as the point of entry and sepsis caused by either E. coli or K. pneumoniae have been noted. This study provides an insight into a basic understanding of sepsis in ruminants.