Science International  Volume 1 Issue 6, 2013

Research Article

Clinicopathological and Serobiochemical Investigation of Naturally Occurring Cutaneous Papillomatosis in Dromedary Camels (Camelus dromedarius)
S.E.M. Barakat
Department of Pathology, College of Veterinary Medicine and Animal Resource, King Faisal University, Al-Ahsa, Saudi Arabia

F.A. AL Hizab
Department of Pathology, College of Veterinary Medicine and Animal Resource, King Faisal University, Al-Ahsa, Saudi Arabia

S.M. El-Bahr
Department of Physiology, Biochemistry and Pharmacology (Biochemistry), College of Veterinary Medicine and Animal Resource, King Faisal University, Al-Ahsa, Saudi Arabia

Camel papillomatosis has been studied previously, but the clincopathological aspects of the disease have not been well described. Therefore, the present study aimed to investigate selected clinical, hematological and serobiochemical parameters as well as histopathological alterations in twenty naturally infected and twenty healthy camel calves. Inappetence, restlessness, followed by localized skin warts in the lips and lower jaw and intermittent scratching of the affected area were the main clinical signs of the disease. The obtained results indicated that, the diseased camel calves showed a significant decrease (p<0.001) in Total Erythrocyte Count (TEC), Hemoglobin concentration (Hb), Packed Cell Volume (PCV), Total Leucocyte Count, (TLC), neutrophil%, lymphocyte%, total proteins, sodium and potassium. The biochemical findings indicated that affected camel calves had significantly (p<0.001) higher values for Alanine aminotransferase, ALT (15.9±0.50 IU L-1), Aspartate aminotransferase AST (175.1±3.1 IU L-1), Gamma glutamyl transferase, GGT (33.1±1.40 IU L-1) and Alkaline phosphatase, ALP (106.2±2.4 IU L-1) compare to healthy camel calves, respectively (12.4±3.1, 137.0±3, 22.4±2.3 and 42.2±1.90 IU L-1). However, affected camel calves had significantly (p<0.001) lower values for total protein (5.4±0.07 g dL-1), sodium (101.5±11.1 mEq L-1) and potassium (5.5±0.82 mEq L-1), when compared to healthy camel calves, respectively (7.11±1.77 g dL-1; 130±12.1, 7.1±0.85 mEq L-1). The biopsy samples revealed multiple papillary proliferations covered with keratinized zone of epithelium. Hyperkeratosis, acanthosis and dermal fibrosis were also observed. This study confirms that papillomatosis occurs in camels in Saudi Arabia and is associated with hematological, serobiochemical and clinicopathological changes.
    How to Cite:
S.E.M. Barakat, F.A. AL Hizab and S.M. El-Bahr , 2013. Clinicopathological and Serobiochemical Investigation of Naturally Occurring Cutaneous Papillomatosis in Dromedary Camels (Camelus dromedarius). Science International, 1: 212-216
DOI: 10.17311/sciintl.2013.212.216

Papillomatosis, (common warts) is an infectious skin disease caused by papilloma viruses and associated with a number of hyperplastic and neoplastic lesions of the stroma and epithelium, in a wide variety of vertebrate species1,2. The disease was first recognized in equines in South Africa, further reports of the disease in equines were presented3,4,5. Several authors have investigated the disease in goats and sheep6,7,8. In addition, extensive studies were carried out on bovine papillomatosis9,10,11,12,13,14,15. Papillomatosis in camels has been reported in Somalia16, Sudan17,18 and in South America19. However, the clinicopathological aspects of the disease in camels have not yet been thoroughly investigated. The camels (Camelus dromedarius) found in Al-Ahsa region of Kingdom of Saudi Arabia are mainly of Magaheem breed, a hardy animal with a unique physiological constitution. It is well adapted to the hot, dry desert areas of the gulf where it is isolated from many disease vectors and contagious diseases. Recently several camel rearing areas were established at the outskirts of big cities in Saudi Arabia. Although camels are an important source of milk and meat and socioeconomically, a very import animal, their potentials and diseases have not been extensively studied20. The aim of this study is to describe the biochemical and clinicopathological alterations during a naturally occurring outbreak of camel papillomatosis among a small herd at a private farm in Al Ahsa region, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

Animals: Twenty camel calves suffering from Camel Papillomatosis and twenty healthy camel calves, all of Majaheem breed, 3-9 month old were included in this study. The animals were kept in a private farm at Al-Ahsa region in Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and provided with Lucerne and concentrate (16% crude protein) with ad libidum supply of water.

Blood samples collection: Blood samples were collected daily by jugular venipuncture from the healthy and affected camel calves for hematological and serum biochemical analysis for thirty days. For hematological parameters blood samples were collected in dry test tubes containing ETDA for determination of Hb concentration, PCV, TEC and TLC. For biochemical parameters, sera were separated by centrifugation of the clotted blood and stored at -20°C till time of analysis. These samples were then analyzed for the concentration of serum proteins, creatinine, Blood Urea Nitrogen concentration (BUN), sodium, potassium and the activities of serum AST, ALT, ALP and GGT.

Clinical assessment: The animals were closely observed twice daily for appearance of any clinical abnormalities. Pulse rate was recorded twice a day from coccygeal artery. Rectal temperature (using an electronic thermometer) and respiration rates were recorded twice a day.

Hematological analysis: TEC, Hb concentration and PCV were determined by coulter counter (Model 2BL Coulter Electronics, Hialeah, FL USA). TLC and differential leukocyte counts were determined following the method described by Benjamin21.

Serobiochemical methods: Commercial diagnostic kits (United Diagnostic Industry, UDI, Dammam, Saudi Arabia) were used for determination of Glucose (EP37L-660), total proteins (EP56-660), Albumin (EP03-570), ALT (EP07-500), AST (EP15-500), ALP (EP04L-660), BUN (EP20-420), Creatinine (EP33K-660), Cholesterol (EP24-660), Calcium (EP22-660), Magnesium (EP50-660), on ELIPSE full automated chemistry analyzer (Rome, Italy). Concentration of the biochemical constituents was calculated according to the manufacture instruction. GGT was determined spectrophotometrically using commercially available kits (Randox Laboratories Ltd.) according to manufacturer’s instructions. Sodium and potassium were determined by flame photometric method as described by Tennant et al.22.

Histopathological methods: Skin biopsies were taken from tumors at the affected sites of the skin, for histopathological examination. These were fixed in 10% neutral formalin, mounted in paraffin, sectioned and stained with hematoxylin and eosin.

Statistical analysis: Data were analyzed by the ANOVA procedure23. Means+Standard errors were calculated and tested for significance between groups using the “t” test24.

Clinical signs: The onset of the disease started as small numerous nodular elevations on the face at the upper and lower lips of young calves. The lesions were first seen as round and smooth but soon become rough and horny in the form of cauliflower-like nodules, spreading to all the other remaining calves in the farm (Fig. 1). The affected calves were in appetent and intermittently scratching the affected area of the face. No remarkable changes were observed in body temperature, respiratory and pulse rates in all animals.

Hematological findings: These results were shown in Table 1. Affected calves showed a remarkable reduction in Hb concentration, PCV, TEC, TLC, neutrophils and lymphocytes values.

Table 1: Hematological parameters in diseased and healthy camel calves (n = 20)

Figure 1: Papillomatosis lesions in the face of an infected camel

Figure 2: Skin of camel, showing A: hyperkeratosis, B: Hydropic degeneration of keratinocytes, acanthosis and C: Dermal fibrosis

Figure 3: Skin of camel showing multiple papillary proliferations (arrows), covered with a thick layer of keratinized epithelium

Biochemical findings: The data summarized in Table 2 indicated that affected camel calves had significantly (p<0.001) higher values for ALT (15.9±0.50 IU L-1), AST (175.1±3.1 IU L-1), GGT (33.1±1.40 IU L-1) and ALP (106.2±2.4 IU L-1) compare to healthy camel calves, respectively (12.4±3.1, 137.0±3, 22.4±2.3 and 42.2±1.90 IU L-1). However, affected camel calves had significantly (p<0.001) lower values for total protein (5.4±0.07 g dL-1), sodium (101.5±11.1 mEq L-1) and potassium (5.5±0.82 mEq L-1), when compared to healthy camel calves, respectively (7.11±1.77 g dL-1; 130±12.1, 7.1±0.85 mEq L-1). The rest of biochemical parameters remained comparable in both groups.

Table 2: Selected Biochemical indicators in diseased and healthy camel calves (n = 20)

Histopathological findings: Histopathological examination of the biopsy samples revealed multiple papillary proliferations covered with keratinized zone of epithelium (Fig. 3). In addition there were hyperkeratosis, acanthosis and dermal fibrosis (Fig. 2).

Camel papillomatosis has been investigated in different parts of the world. However, its clinicopathological, aspects are still unknown. The clinical signs, microscopic alterations and gross lesions observed in this study are similar to those described by many workers16,17,18. The disease was diagnosed as papillomatosis according to the typical clinical picture of the disease and histopathological findings. However, the samples of skin biopsies sent to the virology laboratory were confirmed to be positive for the disease. The present study showed that papillomatosis in camels resulted in significant alteration in the blood constituents. A remarkable decrease in TEC, Hb concentration and PCV was observed in the affected camel calves. Incidence of anemia in association with camel papillomatosis may be attributed to the marked decrease in food intake and inappetence during the course of the disease. The development of leucopenia due to neutropenia and lymphopenia, suggests that the disease had an action on the formation of the circulating leucocytes or it may be attributed to release of endogenous corticosteroids in response to stress25,26. Anemia and leucopenia have been previously reported in camels in association with, several skin diseases, e.g., in mange and contagious skin necrosis27 and in dermatophilosis28. AST and ALT are imported and critical enzymes in the biological processes. These enzymes are involved in the breakdown of amino acids into Keto acid which are routed for complete metabolism through the Kreb’s cycle and electron transport chain. Consequently, they are considered as a specific indicator for hepatic dysfunction and damage29,30. The increment of the activities of AST and ALT in plasma is mainly due to the leakage of a these enzymes from the liver cytosol into the blood stream31 which indicated liver damage and disruption of normal liver function32. The present study showed that camel papillomatosis produced significant elevations in the activities of serum ALT, AST, ALP and GGT. This finding may suggest a systemic involvement. However previous reports have shown that the range of reference values of these enzymes varies considerably in dromedary dessert camels33. Factors such as age, sex, health care, fitness, feeding, geographical location and test procedures may contribute to the wide variations in the levels of serum enzymes in camels34,35. The observed hypoprtinemia and decreased electrolytes levels in the affected camel calves may be due to the inappetence and undernourishment during the course of the disease. Regarding the kidney function parameters, no change was observed in the values of urea and creatinine (Table 2). Previous reports have shown that the camel is able to withstand harsh desert conditions because of its highly specialized kidneys which conserve water by producing highly concentrated urine36. This may render the camel kidney capable of withstanding extreme conditions that might cause mild tissue damage. Further studies on the release of enzymes from injured camel tissues and to elucidate the exact diagnostic importance of biochemical indicators in the serum of camels, are needed.

The current research was financially supported by a grant (No. 130035) from The Scientific Research Deanship, King Faisal University, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.


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