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Prevalence of bovine viral diarrhea virus infections in alpacas in the United States

Christina L. TopliffDepartment of Veterinary and Biomedical Sciences, Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources, University of Nebraska, Lincoln, NE 68583-0905.

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David R. SmithDepartment of Veterinary and Biomedical Sciences, Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources, University of Nebraska, Lincoln, NE 68583-0905.

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Sharon L. ClowserDepartment of Veterinary and Biomedical Sciences, Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources, University of Nebraska, Lincoln, NE 68583-0905.

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David J. SteffenDepartment of Veterinary and Biomedical Sciences, Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources, University of Nebraska, Lincoln, NE 68583-0905.

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Jamie N. HenningsonDepartment of Veterinary and Biomedical Sciences, Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources, University of Nebraska, Lincoln, NE 68583-0905.

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Bruce W. BrodersenDepartment of Veterinary and Biomedical Sciences, Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources, University of Nebraska, Lincoln, NE 68583-0905.

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Daniela BedeniceCummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University, North Grafton, MA 01536.

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Robert J. CallanDepartment of Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO 80523.

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Carlos ReggiardoDepartment of Veterinary Science and Microbiology, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ 85705.

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Kathy L. KurthWisconsin Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory, University of Wisconsin, Madison, WI 53706.

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Clayton L. KellingDepartment of Veterinary and Biomedical Sciences, Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources, University of Nebraska, Lincoln, NE 68583-0905.

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Abstract

Objective—To determine the prevalence of bovine viral diarrhea virus (BVDV)–infected alpaca herds in the United States and investigate factors associated with seropositive herd status and, subsequently, determine the proportion of animals within seropositive alpaca herds that are persistently infected (PI) carriers for BVDV, obtain information regarding previous herd exposure to BVDV, determine titers of anti-BVDV antibodies of dams, and ascertain whether individual seropositive crias had received supplemental colostrum at birth.

Design—Prevalence study.

Animals—63 alpaca herds with ≥ 12 registered female alpacas.

Procedures—250 alpaca breeders were randomly selected from 562 eligible herds listed in the Alpaca Owner and Breeders Association membership directory and mailed a voluntary participation request. Sixty-three alpaca breeders participated in the study. From each herd, blood samples from ≥ 4 crias were tested for BVDV, BVDV RNA, and serum neutralizing antibodies against BVDV. A region of the genome of BVDV recovered from PI crias was sequenced to determine genetic homology.

Results—Among the 63 herds, 16 (25.4%) had seropositive crias and 4 (6.3%) had PI crias. Infections in 3 of the 4 herds with PI crias were linked as evidence by the genetic homologies of viruses. In addition to PI crias, feeding supplemental colostrum was associated with herd seropositivity.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Results confirmed the importance of BVDV infections in alpacas in the United States and highlighted the importance of determining the BVDV infection status of animals before they are commingled to limit exposure of herds to BVDV infection.

Abstract

Objective—To determine the prevalence of bovine viral diarrhea virus (BVDV)–infected alpaca herds in the United States and investigate factors associated with seropositive herd status and, subsequently, determine the proportion of animals within seropositive alpaca herds that are persistently infected (PI) carriers for BVDV, obtain information regarding previous herd exposure to BVDV, determine titers of anti-BVDV antibodies of dams, and ascertain whether individual seropositive crias had received supplemental colostrum at birth.

Design—Prevalence study.

Animals—63 alpaca herds with ≥ 12 registered female alpacas.

Procedures—250 alpaca breeders were randomly selected from 562 eligible herds listed in the Alpaca Owner and Breeders Association membership directory and mailed a voluntary participation request. Sixty-three alpaca breeders participated in the study. From each herd, blood samples from ≥ 4 crias were tested for BVDV, BVDV RNA, and serum neutralizing antibodies against BVDV. A region of the genome of BVDV recovered from PI crias was sequenced to determine genetic homology.

Results—Among the 63 herds, 16 (25.4%) had seropositive crias and 4 (6.3%) had PI crias. Infections in 3 of the 4 herds with PI crias were linked as evidence by the genetic homologies of viruses. In addition to PI crias, feeding supplemental colostrum was associated with herd seropositivity.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Results confirmed the importance of BVDV infections in alpacas in the United States and highlighted the importance of determining the BVDV infection status of animals before they are commingled to limit exposure of herds to BVDV infection.

Contributor Notes

Dr. Henningson's present address is Department of Pathobiological Sciences, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of Wisconsin, Madison, WI 53706.

Supported by the University of Nebraska Agricultural Research Division from funds provided through Animal Health, USDA and by the Mid-Atlantic Alpaca Association through the Alpaca Research Foundation.

Address correspondence to Dr. Kelling.