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Also known as: Plum-pudding Liver


Telangiectasis ('plum-pudding liver') is a condition of the liver affecting cattle, sheep, poultry and horses. The lesions are characterised by focal dilatation and congestion of the hepatic sinusoids. All animals may be affected by the lesions but they are more commonly seen in older animals. There is little clinical significance to the disease but affected animals are a significant cause of direct economic loss due to carcass condemnation at slaughter.


Various aetiologies for the condition have been suggested. It has been widely proposed that telangiectasis occurs due to ischaemic necrosis of the liver relating to a number underlying causes. These include thromboembolism, pregnancy, abdominal tympany and bacterial infection with Fusobacterium necrophorum. Other theories include high levels of vitamin A, metabolic disturbances and neoplastic or immune-mediated processes.

Following slaughter, animals with mildly affected livers may be passed for food following trimming but severely affected carcasses must be condemned.


Lesions commonly develop at the parietal portion of the liver or at the periphery. They usually appear as irregularly-shaped red depressions on the surface of the liver that extend into the parenchyma and consist of dilated sinusoids filled with blood and lined with epithelium. Livers containing a few lesions are commonly seen in young animals.

On histopathology, hepatocytes appear swollen and degenerate with intracytoplasmic vacuoles and dilated sinusoids. The dilated sinusoids are filled with erythrocytes and fibrin strands and leucocytes are occasionally seen. The hepatic parenchyma surrounding the lesions is frequently normal.

Literature Search

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Telangiectasis publications


  • Gracey, J. F., Collins, D. S., Huey, R. J. (1999) Meat Hygiene Elsevier Health Sciences
  • Hubbert, W. T. (1996) Food Safety and Quality Assurance: foods of animal origin Wiley-Blackwell