Haemorrhagic Septicemia (Pasteurellosis)

Haemorrhagic septicemia is also known as Shipping/transport fever, Stockyard’s disease, Barbone disease, and Galaghotu in Hindi. The name pasteurellosis was given to this disease in relation to the extensive work of Loius Pasteur (French Scientist) on the Pasteurella multocida. Haemorrhagic Septicemia is an acute highly fatal disease characterized by acute septicemia, high fever, swelling at the ventral aspect of throat, neck, and brisket causing dyspnoea. It is one of the most serious diseases that have acute septicemic occurring with resultant high mortality.

Haemorrhagic septicemia is caused by Pasteurella multocida which is a small gram-negative, coccobacillus, having short rod or filamentous shape. This organism is not resistant to heat, light, and adverse environments. These organisms are capsulated and they show bipolar staining by methylene blue. This organism is often present as a commensal in the animal body and may not be able to produce disease alone. The incidence of the disease is high during the rainy season due to high humidity and change in nutrition and management during this period.

Buffalo is most susceptible to this disease. Susceptibility sequence is mentioned as

Buffalo > Cattle > Pig > Horse > Sheep & Goat

Stress is a precipitating factor for this disease. Stress can be due to transportation, heavy worm, starvation, and viral infections like IBR, Parainfluenza-3. Shipping fever can affect any age and group of animals but young growing cattle are most often affected.


Carrier animals harbor the infective organisms in their nasopharynx and thus help in spreading the disease in the susceptible populations.

The organism → from the environment → enters into terminal bronchioles and alveoli → remain as commensal → cause changes in lungs in presence of predisposing factors → destroying the leucocytes and macrophages → and then release of histamines and PGF2alpha and sometimes fibroblastic elements → leading to septicemic changes in the body and inflammatory changes in lung parenchyma → and produce pneumonia with the help of secondary invaders (Parainfluenza-II, Bovine herpes virus, and other bacteria) → Death due to asphyxia

Shipping Fever Symptoms

  1. Sudden rise in temperature (Upto 42 Degree Celsius) (106-107º F)
  2. Shivering
  3. Petechiae om mucous
  4. Edematous swelling (Under throat, neck and brisket region)
  5. Swellings are hot and painful
  6. Profuse salivation
  7. Severe depression
  8. Conjunctiva shows deep red colour
  9. Lachrymation
  10. Nasal discharge
  11. Rapid respiration rate
  12. Grunting sounds followed by dyspnoea due to obstruction of respiratory passage (oedema causes obstruction)
  13. Death occurs within 20-24 hours.
Haemorrhagic septicemia

Treatment of Haemorrhagic septicemia

  • Various sulfonamides (130-150 mg/Kg, IV for 3-5 days) are used.
  • Oxytetracycline @ 5-10mg/kg is used.
  • Penicillin @ 10mg/kg and chloramphenicol @ 10mg/kg body weight are effective if administered early.
  • Anti-inflammatory drugs are suggested to relief respiratory distress e.g., Dexamethasone 1mg/5kg
  • Antihistamins
  • Supportive therapy

Prevention & Control of Shipping Fever

  • Prevention can be achieved by vaccination. Effective prophylactic vaccination of all susceptible animals should be done.
  • Three kinds of vaccine are widely used: plain vaccine (HS broth vaccine), alum-type precipitated vaccine, and oil-adjuvantvaccine.
  • The most effective bacterin is the oil-adjuvant-one dose provides protection for 9-12 month; it should be administered annually.
  • The alum-precipitated-type bacterin is given at 6 months intervals.
  • Age of vaccination: Above 5-6 months of age
  • Vaccination is advisable a month before the onset pf the rainy season.