Acute basophilic leukaemia in a three-month-old calf

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A three-month-old female Holstein-Friesian calf was presented with acute tetraparesis. After neurological examination a multifocal lesion in the central nervous system was suspected with the most pronounced lesions between the third thoracic and the third lumbar vertebrae. Haematological examination revealed moderate anaemia as well as severe thrombocytopenia, neutropenia and leucocytosis. A blood smear and bone marrow aspirate exhibited predominantly blasts with basophilic granulation leading to a diagnosis of acute (myeloid) leukaemia with involvement of the basophilic lineage or an acute basophilic leukaemia. Magnetic resonance imaging revealed spinal cord compression; at necropsy, extensive localised haemorrhages extending into the thoracic vertebral canal were found. Histopathology revealed a large population of blast cells in several tissues including the meninges. Due to multifocal detection of neoplastic cells in the vascular system, neoplasia of the haematopoietic system was assumed in agreement with haematological findings. Signs of paresis could be explained by intramedullary spinal cord haemorrhage and myeloid infiltrations of meningeal vessels. In conclusion, despite its rarity, acute myeloid leukaemia with involvement of the basophilic lineage may be considered in diagnosing calves with progressive deteriorating general condition, paresis, leucocytosis with moderate basophilic differentiation or haemorrhagic disorders.




Laabs, E. M., Mischke, R., Dziallas, P., Maiolini, A., Tipold, A., Raddatz, B., … Rehage, J. (2015). Acute basophilic leukaemia in a three-month-old calf. Acta Veterinaria Scandinavica, 57(1).

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