ABSTRACT: The Italian Mediterranean Buffalo (Bubalus bubalis) has low fecundity and high incidence of abortion. Several studies have associated reproductive failure of water buffalo with viral infections but there is limited information on the role of chlamydial infections. To investigate the presence and the role of Chlamydiaceae in water buffalo a retrospective study was performed in a farm where, in the arch of 11 months, the pregnant heifers suffered an abortion rate of 36.8% in the 3rd and 5th month of pregnancy. Antibodies to Chlamydiaceae were detected in 57% of the aborted cows, while the rate of positivity was 0% in overtly healthy cows used as control. By a PCR assay 3 of 14 vaginal swabs from aborted animals tested positive for Chlamydophila agents and, additionally, 3 out of 7 aborted foetuses tested positive for Chlamydophila spp., with two being co-infections by Cp. abortus and Cp. pecorum and one being characterised as Cp. abortus. The presence of anti-Chlamydiaceae antibodies in 57% of the aborted animals and the detection of Chlamydophila agents in foetal organs and in vaginal swabs is consistent with the history of abortions (P<0.002) observed in the herd and may suggest a pathogenic role by Chlamydophila spp. in water buffalo.
Italian Journal of Animal Science. 01/2010;