Prevention and Control of Specific Cow Calf Diseases

TABLE OF CONTENTS:

 

Foreign Animal Diseases

Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD):

Risk: The risk in the USA is very low but constant vigilance is critical to keep the disease out. The FMD risk is associated with visitors with a history of foreign travel. Sheep are carriers and swine multiply the virus as well as spread it.
Training: Provide employee education to understand and identify FMD symptoms. FMD signs include blisters or ulcers in the mouth and between the toes. Cattle will salivate, appear depressed and move stiffly. The disease spreads very rapidly so expect several cattle to exhibit the same symptoms either at the start or within 24 hours.
Resistance: Although animals recover they spread the virus. No vaccines are available for use in the United States.
Isolation: Optimally, isolate new cattle for four to eight weeks to protect against all diseases.
Traffic Control: People with a history of foreign travel should be kept away from livestock for one week. Wash and disinfect (bleach according to label directions) clothes after travel. Thoroughly clean and disinfect footwear worn during travel.
Sanitation: Wash and sanitize processing equipment and facilities between each set of incoming cattle.
Action Trigger: FMD symptoms, (salivation, depression and stiff movement – with erosions or ulcers in the mouth or between the toes).
Rapid Response Procedures for Suspect Situation: When signs similar to FMD are found, notify your veterinarian or a local animal health officer. If necessary they will contact the state and local USDA-APHIS official. Stop all movement and handling of cattle immediately, including cattle on the outside of the operation. Stop all movement of people and vehicles in the vicinity of the suspect cattle.
Comments: FMD typically has a short, 72-hour incubation, but may be as long as twelve days. It is highly contagious and rapidly spread in a large area.
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Domestic Diseases Being Eradicated Nationally

BRUCELLOSIS (BANGS)

Risk: Relatively low in well managed cow/calf herds. The disease can be spread by wild carnivore movement and purchasing carrier replacements. Bison and elk are potential carriers in certain areas e.g. Yellowstone National Park.
Training: Train employees to understand these diseases and the importance of personal protection and sanitation when working around abortion cases.
Resistance: Infected animals recover and develop immunity but are potential carriers as well as their offspring. A vaccine is available and can be used in replacement heifers under certain situations.
Isolation: Isolate all cattle that abort until cause is determined or risk is evaluated by a veterinarian.
Traffic Control: Special traffic control is not needed. Isolation of the aborting animal is required and attention must be paid to preventing dogs and coyotes from fetus and placenta. Also prevent cross contamination of excretions from aborting animals to other cattle.
Sanitation: Strictly sanitize all equipment and instruments that may transfer contaminated material.
Action Trigger: A single abortion(s) should be a note of caution.
Rapid Response Procedures for Suspect Situation: Notify a veterinarian when abortions occur to determine procedures to be taken.
Comments: Brucellosis in cattle is nearly eradicated from the U.S. but must be considered. Brucellosis can cause a serious disease in humans called “undulant fever”. It is important to protect yourself and others from abortion-associated fluids. There are other diseases that may be associated with abortion including IBR and BVD (see others below). Minimizing stress, avoiding commingling cattle, adequate nutrition and proper vaccination are important in controlling abortion diseases.
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Emerging Diseases

Johnes Disease:

Risk: The disease has a low prevalence in beef herds but poses an increased risk of spread. Clinical signs rarely develop in young animals (less than two or three years of age). Herd additions and contact with other ruminants (sheep/goats) are a potential source of the disease as well as storing and feeding colostrum from infected cows. Fecal shedding, crowding and contaminated corrals offer a source of infection to cattle.
Training: Provide employee education to understand and identify signs of the disease. These include chronic diarrhea, weight loss, and poor condition in spite of good nutrition. Include training that emphasizes the importance of minimizing fecal contamination and proper sanitation.
Resistance: Vaccines are of minimal value and approved only in infected herds.
Isolation: Isolate and cull all cattle with signs of Johne’s.
Traffic Control: Restrict movement of sick cattle.
Sanitation: Do not let fecal material from Johne’s suspects contaminate other animals.
Action Trigger: Animals with severe chronic diarrhea and loss of condition.
Rapid Response Procedures for Suspect Situation: Notify herd veterinarian and confirm diagnosis in cases of diarrhea and weight loss.
Comments: Johne’s disease has an extremely long incubation period. Most cattle that develop clinical Johne’s were infected as calves, but older animals can become infected with Johne’s. Therefore detailed attention to preventing fecal-oral contamination is the best defense. Herd testing, control measures, and purchasing animals from clean herds is the best method of prevention.
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Bovine Enzootic Leucosis (BEL):

Risk: The risk is low in most beef herds but the disease can be prevalent under some circumstances. Transferring blood between cattle increases the risk of infecting cattle with bovine leucosis. New herd additions may introduce disease.
Training: Train employees to understand this viral disease and to avoid transferring blood between cattle during examination or treatment. This includes needles, rectal sleeves, nose tongs, etc. Signs of clinical disease include swelling in the lower neck and enlarged lymph nodes or tumors under the skin.
Resistance: No vaccines are available.
Isolation: Special isolation is not needed.
Traffic Control: Special traffic control is not needed.
Sanitation: Strictly sanitize all equipment and instruments that may transfer blood between cattle. This includes needles, instruments, ob sleeves, nose tongs, oral speculums, etc. Use disinfectant sponges for needles and disinfectant buckets for other items.
Action Trigger: Leucosis symptoms, (swelling in the lower neck and enlarged lymph nodes or tumors under the skin).
Rapid Response Procedures for Suspect Situation: Discuss the suspect animal with the operation’s veterinarian.
Comments: Not typically an issue in most beef herds but may be important in seedstock or replacement livestock development. Focus on prevention by not transferring blood between cattle through needle use or palpation sleeves.
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Infectious Diseases Associated with Respiratory Infection

Respiratory Disease Complex - IBR, BVD, PI3, BRSV, Pasteurella, Mannheimia, Haemophillus, Mycoplasma

Risk: Respiratory disease is most commonly associated with the weaning period but may occur in younger calves. Assume all cattle are exposed to these inherent diseases. Vaccines may be appropriate for control or to decrease the severity of some of these diseases. Good management to minimize stress and exposure reduces risk.
Training: Provide employee education to understand and identify signs of these diseases. Include training on health management of clinically affected cattle. Most cattlemen are familiar with the symptoms of these common inherent diseases. Specific questions should be directed to the operation’s veterinarian.
Resistance: Good husbandry and management especially when working, weaning and shipping cattle can have great benefit in prevention and control of respiratory disease. Most micro-organisms are common in cattle herds and cause disease when stress periods occur. Properly vaccinating cattle at the correct times with modified live virus (MLV) products will protect from the viral diseases. Newer pasteurella vaccines may moderate the disease when used prior to a disease challenge. Other vaccines have not provided documented protection from the respiratory disease complex.
Isolation: Special isolation is not needed. Most respiratory infections are highly contagious and spread rapidly. Cross contamination of excretions and secretions from clinically ill cattle should be avoided and contaminated equipment and clothes may be a short term method of indirect transmission.
Traffic Control: Special traffic control is not necessary. Equipment or loaders used for sick or dead animals must be cleaned and sanitized before using around healthy cattle or feed supplies.
Sanitation: Clean and sanitize instruments, equipment and facilities after working with clinically ill cattle.
Action Trigger: Bovine respiratory disease signs which usually starts with depression and loss of appetite.
Rapid Response Procedures for Suspect Situation: Notify herd veterinarian when signs of respiratory disease are apparent to examine sick cattle and discuss treatment plans.
Comments: Minimizing stress by proper care and handling techniques improves the ability of cattle to resist infectious disease. The signs of respiratory disease may mimic other diseases that would be a biosecurity threat. Be on guard for any differences in the signs presented by an animal that may be an indication of a biosecurity threat. Review all cases with the operation’s veterinarian.
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Bovine Virus Diarrhea (BVD) – PI (Carrier animals)

Risk: The disease is perpetuated and spread by unapparent carrier animals which are born “persistently infected” (PI) with BVD. Susceptible dams infected during the first trimester of pregnancy that fail to abort result in PI offspring. The risk of cattle becoming BVD carriers after birth is extremely low. The virus is common in cattle populations throughout North America.
Training: Provide employee education to understand and identify the symptoms of BVD. Symptoms may include non-responsive pneumonia or diarrhea and abortion during early stages of pregnancy. Other diseases to consider are viral respiratory diseases, or with the chronic “mucosal disease” form, salmonella or toxicosis due to oral or gastrointestinal irritants. Oral erosions and ulcers may be noted and therefore could be confused with FMD.
Resistance: Vaccines are available and MLV vaccines result in good immunity in a high percentage of animals.
Isolation: Know source of new herd additions or test for PI animals before entering herd. Special traffic control is not needed. Clean and sanitize all working facilities and equipment after handling cattle with chronic diarrhea or severe illness. Prevent fecal-oral contamination.
Traffic Control: Restrict the movement of sick cattle. Monitor fence-line contact during grazing with animals of unknown health status.
Sanitation: Do not let fecal material from scouring animals contaminate other animals or humans. Clean and sanitize equipment between uses. Clean and sanitize handling area after handling cattle with diarrhea.
Action Trigger: BVD symptoms, acute fever and upper respiratory signs, or diarrhea / non-responsive pneumonia with or with out oral erosions and ulcers in chronic mucosal form of disease.
Rapid Response Procedures for Suspect Situation: Bring all cases of severe diarrhea or cases with oral erosions/ulcers to the immediate attention of a veterinarian. Necropsy all cattle that die from chronic diarrhea as directed by the operation’s veterinarian.
Comments: BVD carriers (BVD-PI) are a concern in breeding herds and operations that raise herd replacements. Focus on proper vaccination in breeding herds and for replacement cattle. Typically, cattle that receive two to three modified live virus (MLV) BVD vaccinations before entering the breeding herd with frequent boosters will not be susceptible to giving birth to BVD carriers provided they were not born as BVD carriers. Replacement heifers of unknown origin should be tested to confirm free status before entering the breeding herd.
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Infectious Diseases Associated with Calf Scours Complex

Calf Scours Complex - Rotavirus, Coronavirus, E. coli, Cryptosporidiosis

Risk: Assume all young cattle are exposed to these common inherent diseases. Newborn calves experiencing stress from calving difficulty and/or a cold, damp environment that are then exposed to a sufficient number of pathogenic organisms commonly found in many herds such as the coliforms, rotavirus / coronavirus, and cryptosporidiosis. Vaccines may be appropriate in some cases for control or to decrease the severity of these common diseases.
Training: : Provide employee education to understand the importance of avoiding stress to new calves, insuring each calf gets colostrum early (<4 hours of age) and observation that the dam mothers the calf and lets it nurse within a few hours of standing. Symptoms of these diseases include depression, dehydration, diarrhea. Training on health management of clinically affected cattle and supportive therapy for severely dehydrated young cattle. The importance of proper sanitation and attention to avoiding fecal-oral contamination. Train employees to realize their personal risk and the potential risk to their families from fecal-oral contamination.
Resistance: Vaccines may be of value. Good sanitation and calving management to avoid stress and insure good colosturm intake and “mothering ability” are also important.
Isolation: Isolate, as much as possible, all cattle with symptoms of diarrhea. This includes animals with severe depression and diarrhea. Avoid fecal-oral contamination by minimizing use of oral instruments such as balling guns, stomach tubes, and oral fluid pumps.
Traffic Control: Restrict the movement around scouring young cattle. Utilize pen and pasture rotations to minimize contamination of calving ground to new born calves. Restrict movement of sick cattle and restrict movement of people who work with sick calves and/or sanitize footwear and clothing.
Sanitation: Do not let fecal material from scouring cattle contaminate the oral cavity of other animals or humans. Clean and sanitize all oral instruments between uses. Clean and sanitize handling equipment. Maintain a clean calving area, environment, and equipment between uses.
Action Trigger: Severe watery diarrhea in calves less than 3 weeks of age. Signs of scours in young cattle
Rapid Response Procedures for Suspect Situation: Segregate pairs in affected pasture, move cows still to calve to new pasture. Preventing fecal oral contamination between animals is especially true in young animals.
Comments: Review outcome of calving season with the operation’s veterinarian. Make certain cows and heifers are in good nutritional condition prior to calving and that calves get a good start at birth.
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Infectious Diseases Associated with Reproductive Failure

Diseases Associated with Reproductive Failure - Campylobacteriosis (vibriosis), Trichomoniasis (Trich)

Risk: Greatest risk if addition of non-virgin bulls and open cows to herd. Some risk from neighboring herds during pasture season with mixing of breeding animals. Use of bulls with unknown health history always a potential problem.
Training: Add only virgin bulls and heifers from herds with disease free status. Provide employee education to understand the importance of reporting and isolating all breeding animals (bulls/heifers/cows) that have been exposed to outside animals.
Resistance: Vaccination in herds against vibriosis a good practice. Although both diseases confer immunity following infection, carrier animals are a problem.
Isolation: Test and isolate Isolate all animals in contact with outside animals during breeding season
Traffic Control: Maintain separate breeding groups during breeding.
Sanitation: Little of value since venereal transmission.
Action Trigger: Breeding females repeating heat cycles, mixing animals during breeding (neighbor’s bull). Poor pregnancy results are a final sign of problems but too late to recoup breeding losses for season.
Rapid Response Procedures for Suspect Situation: Immunize new animals, test exposed bulls
Comments: Cull open cows in the fall. Test herd bulls annually at time of Breeding Soundness Evaluation. Maintain good immunization program against vibriosis for cowherd.
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Leptospirosis (Red Water), Neosporosis

Risk: The risk is low to high depending on the environment. Leptospirosis is transmitted through direct urine contamination or of water. Fecal contamination of feed is a Neospora risk factor and carnivores such as dogs and coyotes most commonly transfer Neospora. Vertical exposure is common in infected herds (dam to fetus). Therefore a strict control program is important to avoid contaminated feed and minimize cattle exposure to carnivores.
Training: Provide employee education to understand and identify symptoms of the disease. It is important for employees to understand types of conditions associated with transmission of the disease. Do not allow the collection of water where cattle would be tempted to drink. The noticeable symptoms are fever, labored breathing, appetite loss, extreme depression, weakness and exhaustion.
Resistance: Vaccines have not consistently provided protection, but should be used in some circumstances. One new vaccine shows promise.
Isolation: Special isolation is not needed. The water supply of cattle housed with leptospirosis suspect cattle should be protected from urine contamination.
Traffic Control: Special traffic control is not needed.
Sanitation: Sanitize equipment and instruments contaminated from leptospirosis suspect urine.
Action Trigger: Leptospirosis symptoms, (depression, fever, anemia, rapid breathing, and red/dark urine). Ask the operation’s veterinarian to examine all leptospirosis suspect cases.
Rapid Response Procedures for Suspect Situation: Notify herd veterinarian. Discuss the environmental associations with leptospirosis and the appropriate corrections.
Comments: Leptospirosis is a serious disease that can be transmitted to people through urine from infected animals. Controlling standing water that cattle may drink from will help control the spread of leptospirosis within herds.
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Infectious Diseases Associated with Gastro-intestinal Syndromes

Salmonellosis

Risk: The risk is low in beef herds but certain herds have experienced chronic infections. Salmonella is spread via fecal-oral contamination. Proper sanitation and attention to avoiding fecal-oral contamination greatly reduces the risk.
Training: Train employees to appreciate the risk to themselves and their family. Understand the importance of proper sanitation and attention to avoiding fecal-oral contamination. Provide employee education to identify signs of the disease.
Resistance: Vaccines do not provide protection.
Isolation: Isolate, as possible, all cattle with signs of salmonellosis. This includes animals with severe depression and diarrhea. Avoid fecal-oral contamination in the hospital area by minimizing the use of oral instruments such as balling guns, stomach tubes, and oral fluid pumps.
Traffic Control: Restrict sick cattle movement to within the hospital area. Restrict movement of people who work in the hospital area without sanitizing footwear.
Sanitation: Do not let fecal material from salmonella suspects contaminate other animals or humans. Clean and sanitize all instruments, equipment, and facilities between uses.
Action Trigger: Salmonella symptoms include severe depression, high fever and diarrhea.
Rapid Response Procedures for Suspect Situation: Notify herd veterinarian if any animal has been identified exhibiting clinical signs for salmonellosis.
Comments: Salmonella is a serious disease in animals and humans! Detailed attention to preventing fecal-oral contamination is the best defense.
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Coccidiosis

Risk: Assume all cattle are exposed to coccidiosis since nearly all adult cattle are carriers. Contaminated calving pens and feed grounds in cow-calf pasture infects baby calves and older calves are infected by eating infected bedding from ground in feedlot pens.
Training: Provide employee education to understand and identify symptoms of the disease. Include training on health management of clinically affected cattle and supportive therapy for severely dehydrated young cattle. They need to understand the importance of proper sanitation and attention to avoiding fecal-oral contamination.
Resistance: Cattle become resistant to coccidiosis following recovery from infection and to low dose exposure as they mature.
Isolation: Isolate, as much as possible, all cattle with symptoms of diarrhea. Animals that are severely infected eliminate large numbers of infective oocysts. This includes animals with severe depression and diarrhea. Avoid standing water that animals may drink from contaminated ground.
Traffic Control: Restrict the movement around cattle affected with any scouring disease.
Sanitation: Do not let fecal material from scouring cattle contaminate other animals or humans. Clean and sanitize all oral instruments between uses. Clean and sanitize handling equipment and facilities.
Action Trigger: Signs of profuse diarrhea, dehydration, and/or bloody scours in young cattle.
Rapid Response Procedures for Suspect Situation: Preventing fecal build-up and contamination between animals, especially young animals.
Comments:Review all cases with the operation’s veterinarian.
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Other Infectious Diseases

Anaplasmosis:

Risk: This disease is transmitted only by infected blood from diseased or carrier animals. The disease risk in non-endemic areas is typically very low. Cattle less than 24 months of age are not likely to develop severe clinical infections. Calves may suffer mild infections but rarely show clinical signs. Yearlings may exhibit severe symptoms but normally recover. In adult cattle the death rate can be high.
Training: Provide employee education to understand and identify symptoms of the disease. It is important for employees to understand the importance of avoiding the transferring of blood between cattle during treatments. Anaplasmosis signs include depression, fever, rapid breathing and anemia. Early in the disease, cattle’s membranes are pale and later the membranes turn yellowish.
Resistance: A vaccine is available but not commonly used other than specific circumstances.
Isolation: Isolation of new animals and vaccination may be desirable in some situations. Anaplasmosis suspect cattle should be treated with a topical pesticide to decrease the likelihood of blood transfer between cattle by insects. The use of tetracyclines can eliminate the carrier state in cattle if brought into non-infected herds.
Traffic Control: Special traffic control is not needed.
Sanitation: Sanitize all equipment and instruments that may transfer blood between cattle. This includes needles, instruments, ob sleeves, nose tongs, oral speculums, etc. Use disinfectant sponges for needles and disinfectant buckets for other items.
Action Trigger: Anaplasmosis symptoms, (depression, fever, anemia, rapid breathing). Ask the veterinarian to examine all suspect animals.
Rapid Response Procedures for Suspect Situation: Notify herd veterinarian.
Comments: Not typically an issue for herds in non-endemic areas but may be important in replacement herd bulls or other older livestock in endemic areas. Focus on prevention, by not transferring blood between cattle through needle use or palpation sleeves. Control of ticks and biting flies in endemic areas.
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