OBJECTIVE To assess the use of 3-D accelerometers to evaluate behavioral changes in cattle experimentally infected with a low-virulent strain of bovine viral diarrhea virus (BVDV).
ANIMALS 20 beef steers (mean weight, 238 kg).
PROCEDURES Calves were allocated to a BVDV (n = 10) or control (10) group. On day 0, calves in the BVDV group were inoculated with a low-virulent strain of BVDV (4 × 106 TCID50, intranasally), and calves in the control group were sham inoculated with BVDV-free medium (4 mL; intranasally). An accelerometer was affixed to the right hind limb of each calf on day −7 to record activity (lying, walking, and standing) continuously until 35 days after inoculation. Baseline was defined as days −7 to −1. Blood samples were collected at predetermined times for CBC, serum biochemical analysis, virus isolation, and determination of anti-BVDV antibody titers.
RESULTS All calves in the BVDV group developed viremia and anti-BVDV antibodies but developed only subclinical or mild disease. Calves in the control group did not develop viremia or anti-BVDV antibodies. Mean time allocated to each activity did not differ significantly between the BVDV and control groups on any day except day 8, when calves in the BVDV group spent less time standing than the calves in the control group. Following inoculation, calves in both groups tended to spend more time lying and less time walking and standing than they did during baseline.
CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL RELEVANCE Results indicated that behavioral data obtained by accelerometers could not distinguish calves subclinically infected with BVDV from healthy control calves. However, subtle changes in the behavior of the BVDV-infected calves were detected and warrant further investigation.
Objective—To characterize clinical and behavioral changes in calves following inoculation with Mycoplasma bovis and evaluate relationships between those changes and pulmonary disease.
Animals—22 healthy Holstein steers.
Procedures—20 calves were inoculated intranasally with < 108 CFU or > 109 CFU of M bovis. Calves were assigned a clinical illness score (CIS) on a scale of 1 through 4 twice daily on the basis of severity of cough, labored breathing, and lethargy. For each calf, distance traveled and time spent near the waterer, feed bunk, or shelter were determined via a remote location monitoring device. Calves were euthanized and necropsied 22 days after inoculation.
Results—13 calves became clinically ill after challenge inoculation; 3 calves were euthanized within 20 days. Among all calves, consolidation was evident in 0% to 79.9% of the lungs; extent of lung consolidation did not differ between the challenge dose groups. Distance traveled and percentages of time spent in proximity to the feed bunk and shelter were associated with CIS; calves with more severe disease traveled less distance and spent less time at the feed bunk and more time in the shelter. Distance traveled by calves was negatively associated with extent of lung consolidation (< or ≥ 10% of lungs affected); this effect was modified by trial day.
Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Following inoculation with M bovis, calf behavior patterns were associated with both CIS and severity of pulmonary disease. Use of behavior monitoring systems may aid in recognition of respiratory tract disease in calves.