Infectious Bovine Rhinotracheitis

IBR or Infectious Bovine Rhinotracheitis is a viral disease caused by the bovine herpes virus.

The virus also causes venereal disease and brain disease in calves but these are far less common.

How is the disease transmitted and spread?

The virus is highly contagious and is spread through close contact.

What are the clinical signs of the disease?

  • nasal discharge - clear or milky-white
  • conjunctivitis
  • high temperature
  • loss of appetite
  • dramatic drops in milk yield - this may be the first sign
  • difficulty in breathing and coughing
  • abortion is seen in some animals with clinical signs

Prevention & control of the disease

  • biosecurity is of the highest importance - cattle are the main source of the virus. Animals that have recovered from the disease are 'latently' infected - they still have the virus in their bodies. Elimination of the virus from closed herds is possible with testing, removal of latently infected animals and vaccination using marker vaccines.
  • there are vaccines available for IBR. Marker vaccines allow vaccinated animals to be distinguished from naturally infected ones on serology tests. However, non-marker vaccines produce antibodies which cannot be distinguished from those caused by natural infection, making it impossible to separate cattle vaccinated with these vaccines from latently infected animals.

Source: NADIS