Cattle Vaccines Based on Regional Disease Prevalence and Risk
Brucella Abortus (Brucellosis): Brucellosis, also known as Bang’s disease or contagious abortion, is a bacterial infection caused by Brucella abortus. In cattle, brucellosis primarily leads to reproductive issues, such as abortion, stillbirths, and infertility. Infected cows may experience late-term abortions or deliver weak and nonviable calves. The bacteria spreads through contact with contaminated tissues, fluids, or placental material from infected animals during calving or breeding.
Campylobacter fetus (Vibriosis): Campylobacter fetus is a bacterial pathogen that causes genital campylobacteriosis, known as vibriosis, which can lead to reduced fertility and reproductive failure in cows and bulls. C. fetus is mainly transmitted through breeding or artificial insemination. Infected bulls can carry the bacteria in their reproductive tract and transmit it to cows during mating. The bacteria can cause inflammation of the reproductive organs, leading to conditions such as endometritis – inflammation of the uterus – and abortion in pregnant cows.
Clostridium haemolyticum (Redwater): C. haemolyticum is a bacterial pathogen that can cause severe and often fatal disease in cattle, known as bacillary hemoglobinuria, Redwater disease, or bacillary hematuria. This bacterium is present in the soil and environment and typically enters the bloodstream through ingestion or wounds. The organism releases toxins that destroy red blood cells, leading to hemolysis – rupture of red blood cells – and the release of hemoglobin into the urine, giving it a characteristic reddish appearance. Bacillary hemoglobinuria is a rapid and acute disease, and affected cattle may exhibit symptoms such as sudden onset of fever, anemia, dark red or brown urine, weakness, and death if left untreated.
Clostridium tetani (Tetanus): C. tetani is a bacterium that causes tetanus, a life-threatening disease in cattle. The bacterium, commonly found in soil, enters the cow’s body through wounds and produces a potent neurotoxin that affects the nervous system, leading to muscle stiffness and spasms, particularly in the jaw and neck. These spasms can progress to affect the entire body, resulting in difficulty walking, severe pain, and difficulty eating and drinking.
Coliform Mastitis: Vaccination against coliform mastitis is one of the strategies dairy farmers use to reduce the incidence and severity of infections, often resulting in reduced milk production and altered milk quality. Coliform mastitis vaccines work by stimulating the cow’s immune system to produce antibodies against specific antigens present on the surface of Gram-negative coliform bacterial organisms. When the vaccinated cow is exposed to coliform bacteria, the antibodies recognize and neutralize the invading pathogens, helping to prevent or reduce the severity of the infection.
Coronavirus (BCoV): Bovine coronavirus (BCoV) is a type of coronavirus that primarily affects cattle. It is a member of the Coronaviridae family and is closely related to other coronaviruses that infect animals and humans. Bovine coronavirus can cause various clinical manifestations, including respiratory and digestive symptoms. Respiratory symptoms may include nasal discharge, coughing, and difficulty breathing, while enteric symptoms may manifest as diarrhea, dehydration, and reduced appetite. Bovine coronavirus infections are widespread in young calves, and outbreaks usually occur in crowded or stressful conditions, such as in calf-rearing facilities or feedlots.
Escherichia coli for K-99 Strain: To prevent K-99 strain E. coli diarrhea, which commonly affects calves within the first week of life, vaccination can be administered to the dam using approved vaccines during late gestation for both beef and dairy cows. Another approach is providing E. coli antibodies orally to the calf through bolus or gel at birth. The USDA also approves these oral antibodies for calves. Utilizing these vaccines and antibodies can effectively mitigate the impact of disease challenges posed by K-99 E. coli diarrhea in calves.
Histophilus somni: Histophilus somni is a bacterium that can cause several diseases in cattle, collectively referred to as Histophilosis. It is a significant pathogen associated with cattle respiratory, reproductive, and systemic infections. In respiratory infections, H. somni can contribute to bovine respiratory disease, causing symptoms like fever, nasal discharge, coughing, and pneumonia. In reproductive infections, the bacterium can lead to infertility, abortion, and stillbirths in pregnant cows. H. somni can also cause systemic infections affecting various organs, including joints and the central nervous system, leading to arthritis and meningoencephalitis.
Leptospira Species: Leptospirosis is a bacterial infection that affects cattle and other animals, including humans. Leptospira bacteria spread via the urine of infected animals, which can contaminate soil and water sources. Lepto infections can lead to various symptoms, such as fever, loss of appetite, reduced milk production, jaundice, and reproductive issues, including abortion and stillbirth.
Mannheimia haemolytica: M. haemolytica is a bacterial pathogen that can cause respiratory infections in cattle, primarily affecting the lungs and leading to a disease known as bovine respiratory disease (BRD). This bacterium significantly contributes to BRD, a complex and costly health concern for the cattle industry. M. haemolytica is commonly found in the upper respiratory tract of healthy cattle but can become pathogenic and cause disease under certain conditions, such as stress, viral infections, or exposure to adverse environmental factors. Once the bacterium becomes virulent, it can damage the respiratory tissues, leading to pneumonia and associated clinical signs such as coughing, nasal discharge, rapid breathing, and fever.
Moraxella Bovis and Moraxella Bovoculi (Pinkeye): Pinkeye, also known as infectious bovine keratoconjunctivitis, is a common and highly contagious eye infection in cattle. It is characterized by inflammation of the conjunctiva and cornea, leading to redness, tearing, squinting, and eventually if left untreated, ulceration and clouding of the eye. Several approved vaccines are available for Mycoplasma bovis, commonly in the form of liquid injectables or pellets. Although these biologic products undergo experimental challenge studies for licensure, the effectiveness of M. bovis vaccination to prevent infectious bovine keratoconjunctivitis (IBK) in real-world field conditions lacks strong support from published controlled clinical trials.
Mycoplasma bovis: Mycoplasma bovis is a significant contributor to respiratory disease, mastitis, and arthritis in cattle, leading to considerable morbidity and mortality. Although several M. bovis bacterins are approved for cattle use, their efficacy has not been convincingly supported by published controlled field trials, especially in dairy calves and stocker or feedlot cattle. While experimental challenge studies show promise, the translation to real-world field trials has not yielded the desired effectiveness.
Pasteurella multocida: P. multocida is a primary bacteria associated with bovine respiratory disease. P. multocida is naturally present in the upper respiratory tract of cattle and many other animals. However, it can become pathogenic and cause disease when the animal’s immune system is compromised or other factors, such as stress or viral infections, weaken its defenses. When it becomes virulent, P. multocida can lead to pneumonia and other respiratory symptoms, such as coughing, nasal discharge, and labored breathing.
Rabies: Rabies in cattle is a rare but fatal viral disease that affects the nervous system. Infected cattle may exhibit behavioral changes, such as aggression or extreme nervousness, followed by paralysis and death. Vaccination against rabies in cattle is not as common as it is for companion animals and horses. However, it should be carefully considered in regions with a high risk of rabies outbreaks, as well as for cattle that have frequent interactions with humans, such as show cattle or those in petting zoo exhibits.
Rotavirus: Bovine rotavirus is a viral infection that affects cattle, particularly calves. Bovine rotavirus primarily targets the small intestine, leading to gastroenteritis, characterized by diarrhea, dehydration, and reduced nutrient absorption. The virus is highly contagious and spreads through the feces of infected animals. Calves are especially susceptible, with outbreaks often occurring in areas of intensive calf rearing.
Salmonella Species: Salmonella infections pose significant health risks for beef and dairy herds, leading to high morbidity and mortality in cattle of all ages. Implementing enhanced sanitation measures, regular testing, appropriate treatment, and culling strategies can be effective in reducing or eradicating Salmonella. However, the use of vaccination to prevent and control Salmonella infections in beef and dairy farms has yielded mixed results in scientific studies, necessitating careful consideration by bovine practitioners. A 2015 study suggests that vaccinating dry cows can lead to the transfer of antibodies to calves via passive immunity. Still, the extent of protection against Salmonella challenge remains unclear and requires further investigation.
It’s important to note that even if your cattle have a mild infection, they can become immunosuppressed and more susceptible to bacterial co-infections that can progress into pneumonia, stunted growth, brain infections, reproductive disorders, reduced milk supply, and death. Proactive vaccinations help prevent and control infectious diseases, reducing the risk of illness, mortality, and economic losses.