Infectious keratoconjunctivitis (IKC) has not been observed in European deer (Cervus elaphus). Our case concerned two red deer bulls in a natural environment, which had orientation disorders and/or circle movement. A detailed post-mortem examination of one of the bulls revealed extensive conjunctivitis in both eyes, clouding and ulceration of the cornea. There were no lesions in the other organs, particularly in the central nervous system (CNS). The histopathological examination of the eyeballs showed corneal epithelium erosions and vascularisation and an inflammatory infiltration of the stroma. Descemet’s membrane was found to be disrupted and the corneal stroma was fused with the iris. The remaining structure of the eye did not show any lesions. Furthermore, the polymerase chain reaction analysis for OvHV-1, BHV-1, BHV-5, CapHV-1, CcHV-1, and EHV-1 showed negative results. In the agar culture, only single bacteria were present. There were no Thelazia spp. worms in the conjunctival sac, but numerous Lipoptena cervi flies were present on the skin in the eye region and on the corneal surface. The findings of our case study and those reported in the literature suggest that IKC is a polyetiological disease, where the composition of the pathogenic agents may differ from case to case. The present study suggests that the mechanical irritation of L. cervi parasites could be a contributing factor to the corneal damage, infection and chronic inflammation resulting in a loss of vision in red deer.
Ababneh MM, Hananeh WM, Dalab AE. Molecular and histopathological characterization of sheep-associated malignant catarrhal fever (SA-MCF) outbreak in beef cattle. Transbound Emerg Dis. 2014 Feb;61(1):75-80. https://doi.org/10.1111/tbed.12005
Akerstad J, Hofshagen M. Bacteriological investigation of infectious keratoconjunctivitis in Norwegian sheep. Acta Vet Scand. 2004;45(1-2):19-26. https://doi.org/10.1186/1751-0147-45-19
Brown MH, Brightman AH, Fenwick BW, Rider MA. Infectious bovine keratoconjunctivitis: A review. J Vet Intern Med. 1998 Jul-Aug;12(4):259-66. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1939-1676.1998.tb02120.x
Dagnall GJ. An investigation of colonization of the conjunctival sac of sheep by bacteria and mycoplasmas. Epidemiol Infect. 1994 Jun;112(3):561-7. https://doi.org/10.1017/S0950268800051268
Dieterich RA. Alaskan wildlife diseases. Fairbanks, Alaska: University of Alaska; 1981. p. 246-7.
Dubay SA, Williams ES, Mills K, Boerger-Fields AM. Bacteria and nematodes in the conjunctiva of mule deer from Wyoming and Utah. J Wildl Dis. 2000 Oct;36(4):783-7. https://doi.org/10.7589/0090-3558-36.4.783
Edmunds DR, Williams ES, O’Toole D, Mills KW, Boerger-Fields AM, Jaeger PT, Bildfell RJ, Dearing P, Cornish TE. Ocular plague (Yersinia pestis) in mule deer (Odocoileus hemionus) from Wyoming and Oregon. J Wildl Dis. 2008 Oct;44(4):983-7. https://doi.org/10.7589/0090-3558-44.4.983
Evans AL, Bey RF, Schoster JV, Gaarder JE, Finstad GL. Preliminary studies on the etiology of keratoconjunctivitis in reindeer (Rangifer tarandus tarandus) calves in Alaska. J Wildl Dis. 2008 Oct;44(4):1051-5. https://doi.org/10.7589/0090-3558-44.4.1051
Giacometti M, Janovsky M, Belloy L, Frey J. Infectious keratoconjunctivitis of ibex, chamois and other Caprinae. Rev Sci Tech. 2002 Aug;21(2):335-45. https://doi.org/10.20506/rst.21.2.1338
Gupta S, Chahota R, Bhardwaj B, Priyanka P, Verma S, Sharma M. Identification of Chlamydiae and Mycoplasma species in ruminants with ocular infections. Lett Appl Microbiol. 2015 Feb;60(2):135-9. https://doi.org/10.1111/lam.12362
Munoz Gutierrez JF, Sondgeroth KS, Williams ES, Montgomery DL, Creekmore TE, Miller MM. Infectious keratoconjunctivitis in free-ranging mule deer in Wyoming: A retrospective study and identification of a novel alphaherpesvirus. J Vet Diagn Invest. 2018 Sep;30(5):663-70. https://doi.org/10.1177/1040638718787862
Hadwen S, Palmer L. Reindeer in Alaska. 1st ed. Washington: U.S. Dept. of Agriculture; 1922. 74 p.
Hughes DE, Pugh GW Jr. A five-year study of infectious bovine keratoconjunctivitis in a beef herd. J Am Vet Med Assoc. 1970 Aug 15;157(4):443-51.
Laak EA ter, Schreuder BE, Kimman TG, Houwers DJ. Ovine keratoconjunctivitis experimentally induced by instillation of Mycoplasma conjunctivae. Vet Q. 1988 Oct;10(4):217-24. https://doi.org/10.1080/01652176.1988.9694175
Loison A, Gaillard JM, Jullien JM. Demographic patterns after an epizootic of keratoconjunctivitis in a chamois population. J Wild Man. 1996;60(3):517-27. https://doi.org/10.2307/3802069
Neves CG des, Roth S, Rimstad E, Thiry E, Tryland M. Cervid herpesvirus 2 infection in reindeer: A review. Vet Microbiol. 2010 Jun 16;143(1):70-80. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.vetmic.2010.02.015
Ruehl WW, Marrs CF, Fernandez R, Falkow S, Schoolnik GK. Purification, characterization, and pathogenicity of Moraxella bovis pili. J Exp Med. 1988 Sep 1;168(3):983-1002. https://doi.org/10.1084/jem.168.3.983
Taylor SK, Vieira VG, Williams ES, Pilkington R, Fedorchak SL, Mills KW, Cavender JL, Boerger-Fields AM, Moore RE. Infectious keratoconjunctivitis in free-ranging mule deer (Odocoileus hemionus) from Zion National Park, Utah. J Wildl Dis. 1996 Apr;32(2):326-30. https://doi.org/10.7589/0090-3558-32.2.326
Tryland M, Das Neves CG, Sunde M, Mork T. Cervid herpesvirus 2, the primary agent in an outbreak of infectious keratoconjunctivitis in semidomesticated reindeer. J Clin Microbiol. 2009 Nov;47(11):3707-13. https://doi.org/10.1128/JCM.01198-09
Tschopp R, Frey J, Zimmermann L, Giacometti M. Outbreaks of infectious keratoconjunctivitis in alpine chamois and ibex in Switzerland between 2001 and 2003. Vet Rec. 2005 Jul 2;157(1):13-8. https://doi.org/10.1136/vr.157.1.13