Sepsis is defined as a systemic and often overwhelming 'infectious inflammatory response to infection by bacterial diseases in cattle. Formerly known as septicaemia, sepsis can often lead to DIC and has a high morbidity and mortality in cattle. Sepsis can thus be distinguished from noninfectious systemic inflammatory response syndrome (SIRS).
Sepsis may be a consequent of acute infection. In cattle, bacteria associated with sepsis include Escherichia coli, Pseudomonas spp, and gram-positive bacteria (Streptococcus spp and Staphylococcus spp).
Sepsis can also occur as a result of acute severe trauma such as motor vehicle accidents, burns, etc. Clinically, affected cattle presents with lethargy, hyperthermia (early) or hypothermia (in end-stage sepsis).
During Gram-negative sepsis, endotoxin or lipopolysaccharide (LPS), the glycolipid component of bacterial cell wall is released into the circulation, resulting in a systemic inflammatory response that can lead to multi-organ dysfunction and death.