Infectious Bovine Rhinotracheitis (IBR) is a highly contagious viral disease of cattle worldwide caused by Bovine Herpesvirus-1 (BHV-1). High rates of co-infection of BoHV-1 and BoHV-5 in bovines has been demonstrated in some countries.
BHV-1 is spread via aerosol contamination of feedyards or in housing in cattle kept indoors. The virus is shed in secretions from the eye nose and reproductive organs. The virus has also been shown to associate with shipping fever, a disease caused by Mycoplasma hemolytica, suggesting immunosuppression effects of the herpes viral agent.
Clinical signs in affected cattle include fever, respiratory distress, nasal discharge, conjunctivitis, abortions and encephalitis. Abortions can also be triggered by exposure of non-protected pregnant cows with modified live IBR vaccine. Hemorrhages may be found in the membranes of the nasal cavity, larynx and/or trachea. Genital disease presents as haematuria, dysuria, pollakiuria, vaginal swelling, vaginal discharge, a raised tailhead and erosive ulcers in the mucosal surface.
Abortion storms are not infrequent in some countries, often associated with purchase and movement of bovines and semen of often unknown IBR status.
Diagnosis is based on presenting clinical signs in affected cattle, and isolation of viral particles using PCR testing. Immunoflorescent antibody staining of fetal tissues has also been used to assist diagnosis.
Dietary boron supplements have been shown to be ineffective at minimising clinical signs or recovery rates.
- Dept of Agriculture, Ireland
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