Pulmonary hypoplasia and anasarca syndrome in Cika cattle

Švara, Tanja; Cociancich, Vasilij; Šest, Katarina; Gombač, Mitja; Paller, Tomislav; Starič, Jože; Drögemüller, Cord (2016). Pulmonary hypoplasia and anasarca syndrome in Cika cattle. Acta Veterinaria Scandinavica, 58(1), p. 36. BioMed Central Ltd. 10.1186/s13028-016-0220-9

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Hydrops foetalis is defined as excessive fluid accumulation within the foetal extravascular compartments and body cavities. It has been described in human and veterinary medicine, but despite several descriptive studies its aetiology is still not fully clarified. Pulmonary hypoplasia and anasarca (PHA) syndrome is a rare congenital abnormality in cattle that is characterised by hydrops foetalis including extreme subcutaneous oedema (anasarca) and undeveloped or poorly formed lungs (pulmonary hypoplasia). Until now, sporadic cases of PHA were reported in cattle breeds like Australian Dexter, Belted Galloway, Maine-Anjou, and Shorthorn. This report describes the first known cases of PHA syndrome in Slovenian Cika cattle.


A 13-year-old cow aborted a male calf in the seventh month of pregnancy, while a male calf was delivered by caesarean section on the due date from a 14-year-old cow. The pedigree analysis showed that the calves were sired by the same bull, the dams were paternal half-sisters and the second calf was the product of a dam-son mating. Gross lesions were similar in both cases and characterized by severe anasarca, hydrothorax, hydropericardium, ascites, hypoplastic lungs, absence of lymph nodes, and an enlarged heart. The first calf was also athymic. Histopathology of the second affected calf confirmed severe oedema of the subcutis and interstitium of the organs, and pulmonary hypoplasia. The lymph vessels in the subcutis and other organs were severely dilated. Histopathology of the second calf revealed also lack of bronchus associated lymphoid tissue and adrenal gland hypoplasia.


The findings were consistent with known forms of the bovine PHA syndrome. This is the first report of the PHA syndrome occurring in the local endangered breed of Cika cattle. Observed inbreeding practice supports that this lethal defect most likely follows an autosomal recessive mode of inheritance. In the light of the disease phenotype it is assumed that a mutation causing an impaired development of lymph vessels is responsible for the hydrops foetalis associated malformations in bovine PHA.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


05 Veterinary Medicine > Department of Clinical Research and Veterinary Public Health (DCR-VPH) > Institute of Genetics
05 Veterinary Medicine > Department of Clinical Research and Veterinary Public Health (DCR-VPH)

UniBE Contributor:

Drögemüller, Cord


500 Science > 590 Animals (Zoology)
600 Technology > 610 Medicine & health
600 Technology > 630 Agriculture




BioMed Central Ltd.




Cord Drögemüller

Date Deposited:

01 Jul 2016 13:31

Last Modified:

24 Feb 2021 07:21

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