Case Report

Acute hemorrhagic syndrome by bracken poisoning in cattle in Belgium

  • E. Plessers
  • B. Pardon
  • P. Deprez
  • P. De Backer
  • S. Croubels


In August 2007, two Belgian blue cows which had been on pasture for three months, showed highfever (41.4°C), epistaxis, melena, cutaneous bleeding, a stiff gait and red lesions on the udder. Bloodexamination revealed severe pancytopenia, and bluetongue virus serotype 8 could be demonstratedby PCR. Despite blood transfusion and supportive treatment, both animals died within 6 days afterthe initial symptoms. At necropsy, an explicit case of a blood coagulation disorder was observed.Inspection at pasture, one week later, showed the presence of numerous regenerated young fronds ofPteridium aquilinum. Whereas the stiff gait and the red lesions on the udder were likely bluetonguevirus associated, other symptoms were consistent with acute bracken poisoning (acute hemorrhagicsyndrome). The present report illustrates that also in Belgium, where the density of bracken fern isrelatively low, pastures should be carefully screened for the presence of young fronds.

How to Cite:

Plessers, E. & Pardon, B. & Deprez, P. & De Backer, P. & Croubels, S., (2013) “Acute hemorrhagic syndrome by bracken poisoning in cattle in Belgium”, Vlaams Diergeneeskundig Tijdschrift 82(1), 31-37. doi:

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Published on
27 Feb 2013
Peer Reviewed