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Question of the Week:  What are some common conditions and terms related to beef diseases?

Glossary of Conditions and Terms

Anaplasmosis: An often fatal infectious disease of cattle caused by a microscopic parasite of red blood cells, spread by horsefly bites or by reusing needles or instruments between animals. The risk of the disease is low in most areas but may be higher near river systems. Vaccines are available, but unless the risk is high, a routine vaccination for anaplasmosis is not recommended.

Bacterin. A bacterial vaccine.

Blackleg: A highly fatal disease of young cattle caused by one type of Clostridium bacteria. See Clostridial disease.

BRSV (Bovine Respiratory Syncytial Virus): A virus which can cause severe, acute respiratory disease especially in young cattle.

Brucellosis: An infection resulting in abortion in females and inflammation and damage to the testicles in males, caused by the bacterium Brucella abortus. Also known as Bang's disease. See Calfhood Vaccination.

BVD (Bovine Virus Diarrhea): A disease caused by a virus, resulting in numerous problems, such as damage to the digestive and immune systems, pneumonia, abortions, calf deformities, and others. Incomplete vaccination programs, such as those omitting a needed booster vaccination, have led to BVD outbreaks in some herds.

Calfhood Vaccination (Official Calfhood Vaccination): Vaccination with Brucella abortus Strain 19 for heifers between 4 and 10 months old. The best age is 5 months. Calfhood vaccination must be by a federally accredited veterinarian (Most large animal veterinarians are federally accredited). Vaccination is necessary for heifers being shipped into some states; therefore, many sales require that all heifers sold be calfhood vaccinated so as not to restrict the potential market. Official calfhood vaccinates are marked in the right ear with an official orange ear tag and a special tatoo, denoting the quarter and year of vaccination. The decision to have heifer calves vaccinated for brucellosis should be based on the advice of the herd's veterinarian and depends on the marketing plan of the herd.

Clostridial disease: Fatal disease of young cattle caused by one of the Clostridium bacteria. Blackleg is the most well known, but other clostridial diseases are also highly fatal. Currently, the most commonly used clostridial vaccination in cattle is the 7-way type which protects against Clostridium chauveoi (blackleg), Clostridium septicum and Clostridium sordelli (malignant edema), Clostridium novyi (black disease), and three types of Clostridium perfringens (enterotoxemia).

Coronavirus: A virus which can cause diarrhea (scours) and dehydration in young calves. Some "scours vaccines" given to pregnant females will contain coronavirus. Vaccination of the pregnant dam raises the level of antibodies to coronavirus in her colostrum, the first milk she produces which is suckled by the calf after it is born. Antibodies from colostrum provide the calf's immunity for the first few weeks and months of life.

E. coli: A bacterium which can cause a life-threatening infection and diarrhea (scours) in newborn calves. Some "scours vaccines" given to pregnant females will contain E. coli. Vaccination raises the level of antibodies to E. coli in the dam's colostrum milk suckled by the calf after it is born. Antibodies from colostrum provide the calf's immunity for the first few weeks and months of life.

Haemophilus somnus: A bacterium which can cause respiratory, nervous system, and reproductive diseases. Vaccination may be recommended for breeding animals. On some dairy farms pregnancy rates may have increased following initiation of a vaccination program for Haemophilus somnus.

IBR (Infectious Bovine Rhinotracheitis): A disease caused by a virus, resulting in respiratory signs, reproductive failure, and abortions. Sometimes called "red nose." Often implicated as an infection which initiates the shipping fever complex. Many IBR vaccines include the IBR/PI3/BRSV/BVD virus complex.

Intramuscular (IM): Injection in the muscle, that is with a needle penetrating directly into the muscle usually at least 1 inch.

Leptospirosis (5-varieties): A bacterium causing abortion in pregnant females and sickness in calves. The five varieties include: hardjo, icterohaemorrhagiae, canicola, pomona, and grippotyphosa. Breeding animals should be vaccinated with a 5-way Lepto vaccine at least once a year before the breeding season. Booster vaccination later in the year is recommended. Leptospirosis vaccine is often combined with Vibriosis vaccine.

Pasteurella baemolytica: A bacterium causing "shipping fever" pneumonia, often after infection with one of the respiratory viruses such as IBR, PI3, BRSV, or BVD. Newer vaccines containing the leukotoxoid portion of Pasteurella haemolytica are more effective than the older vaccines, which did not provide adequate protection.

Pinkeye (Infectious Bovine Keratoconjunctivitis, or IBK): An infection of the eye caused by infection with the bacterium Moraxella bovis, spread by flies. Higher incidence of pinkeye may occur in herds not vaccinated for the IBR virus. Pinkeye vaccines are available. Good results with some of these vaccines have been claimed; however, published trials have not proven their effectiveness.

PI3 (Parainfluenza virus): A virus which can cause respiratory disease, sometimes implicated as an infection which initiates the "shipping fever" complex.

Rotavirus: A virus which can cause diarrhea (scours) and dehydration in young calves. Some "scours vaccines" given to pregnant females will contain rotavirus. Vaccination of the pregnant dam raises the level of antibodies to rotavirus in her colostrum, the first milk she produces which is suckled by the calf after it is born. Antibodies from colostrum provide the calf's immunity for the first few weeks and months of life.

Subcutaneous (SQ or subq): Injection under the skin, not deep into the underlying muscle. If approved as a route of injection on the vaccine label, subcutaneous injection is just as effective as the intramuscular route, and may avoid muscle damage.

Trichomonas: A protozoan organism transmitted during breeding which causes failure of early pregnancy, an extended breeding season as females come back into heat, and, less commonly, abortion. Although a vaccine is available to raise the resistance to Trichomonas in the breeding herd, unless the condition has been positively diagnosed, the vaccine is not routinely recommended.

Vibriosis: A bacterial disease caused by Campylobacter fetus venerealis, resulting in failure of early pregnancy and an extended breeding season as females come back into heat. Vaccinate breeding bulls and females at least once a year before the breeding season. Vibriosis vaccine is often combined with Leptospirosis in one vaccine.

Source of Information: “Vaccinations for the Beef Cow Herd” by James G. Floyd, Jr., Extension Veterinarian, Professor, Animal and Dairy Sciences, Auburn University http://www.aces.edu/department/extcomm/publications/anr/anr-968/anr-968.html

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