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Transmission of bovine coronavirus and serologic responses in feedlot calves under field conditions

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  • 1 Food Animal Health Research Program, Department of Veterinary Preventive Medicine, Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center, The Ohio State University, Wooster, OH 44691
  • | 2 Department of Veterinary Preventive Medicine, College of Veterinary Medicine, The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH 43210
  • | 3 Department of Veterinary Population Medicine, Center for Food Safety and Animal Health, University of Minnesota, Saint Paul, MN 55108
  • | 4 Department of Veterinary Preventive Medicine, College of Veterinary Medicine, The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH 43210
  • | 5 USDA, National Animal Disease Center, Ames, IA 50010
  • | 6 Clayton Livestock Research Center, New Mexico State University, Clayton, NM
  • | 7 Food Animal Health Research Program, Department of Veterinary Preventive Medicine, Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center, The Ohio State University, Wooster, OH 44691

Abstract

Objective—To compare shedding patterns and serologic responses to bovine coronavirus (BCV) in feedlot calves shipped from a single ranch in New Mexico (NM calves) versus calves assembled from local sale barns in Arkansas (AR calves) and to evaluate the role of BCV on disease and performance.

Animals—103 feedlot calves from New Mexico and 100 from Arkansas.

Procedures—Calves were studied from before shipping to 35 days after arrival at the feedlot. Nasal swab specimens, fecal samples, and serum samples were obtained before shipping, at arrival, and periodically thereafter. Bovine coronavirus antigen and antibodies were detected by use of an ELISA.

Results—NM calves had a high geometric mean titer for BCV antibody at arrival (GMT, 1,928); only 2% shed BCV in nasal secretions and 1% in feces. In contrast, AR calves had low antibody titers against BCV at arrival (GMT, 102) and 64% shed BCV in nasal secretions and 65% in feces. Detection of BCV in nasal secretions preceded detection in feces before shipping AR calves, but at arrival, 73% of AR calves were shedding BCV in nasal secretions and feces. Bovine coronavirus infection was significantly associated with respiratory tract disease and decreased growth performance in AR calves.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Replication and shedding of BCV may start in the upper respiratory tract and spread to the gastrointestinal tract. Vaccination of calves against BCV before shipping to feedlots may provide protection against BCV infection and its effects with other pathogens in the induction of respiratory tract disease.

Abstract

Objective—To compare shedding patterns and serologic responses to bovine coronavirus (BCV) in feedlot calves shipped from a single ranch in New Mexico (NM calves) versus calves assembled from local sale barns in Arkansas (AR calves) and to evaluate the role of BCV on disease and performance.

Animals—103 feedlot calves from New Mexico and 100 from Arkansas.

Procedures—Calves were studied from before shipping to 35 days after arrival at the feedlot. Nasal swab specimens, fecal samples, and serum samples were obtained before shipping, at arrival, and periodically thereafter. Bovine coronavirus antigen and antibodies were detected by use of an ELISA.

Results—NM calves had a high geometric mean titer for BCV antibody at arrival (GMT, 1,928); only 2% shed BCV in nasal secretions and 1% in feces. In contrast, AR calves had low antibody titers against BCV at arrival (GMT, 102) and 64% shed BCV in nasal secretions and 65% in feces. Detection of BCV in nasal secretions preceded detection in feces before shipping AR calves, but at arrival, 73% of AR calves were shedding BCV in nasal secretions and feces. Bovine coronavirus infection was significantly associated with respiratory tract disease and decreased growth performance in AR calves.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Replication and shedding of BCV may start in the upper respiratory tract and spread to the gastrointestinal tract. Vaccination of calves against BCV before shipping to feedlots may provide protection against BCV infection and its effects with other pathogens in the induction of respiratory tract disease.

Contributor Notes

Dr. Duff's present address is the Department of Animal Sciences, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ 85721.

Supported in part by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIH; grant R21 AI062763-01). Salaries and research support were provided by state and federal grants provided to the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center (OARDC) of The Ohio State University.

Presented in part at the Conference of Research Workers in Animal Diseases Meeting, Chicago, November 2004.

The authors thank Paul Nielsen, Mustafa Hasoksuz, and Daise Da Cunha for technical assistance.

Address correspondence to Dr. Saif.