Objective—To evaluate the efficacy of a commercially available killed bovine viral diarrhea virus (BVDV) vaccine to protect against fetal infection in pregnant cattle continually exposed to cattle persistently infected with the BVDV.
Animals—60 crossbred beef heifers and 4 cows persistently infected with BVDV.
Procedures—Beef heifers were allocated to 2 groups. One group was vaccinated twice (21-day interval between the initial and booster vaccinations) with a commercially available vaccine against BVDV, and the other group served as nonvaccinated control cattle. Estrus was induced, and the heifers were bred. Pregnancy was confirmed by transrectal palpation. Four cows persistently infected with BVDV were housed with 30 pregnant heifers (15 each from the vaccinated and nonvaccinated groups) from day 52 to 150 of gestation. Fetuses were then harvested by cesarean section and tested for evidence of BVDV infection.
Results—1 control heifer aborted after introduction of the persistently infected cows. Bovine viral diarrhea virus was isolated from 14 of 14 fetuses obtained via cesarean section from control heifers but from only 4 of 15 fetuses obtained via cesarean section from vaccinated heifers; these proportions differed significantly.
Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—A commercially available multivalent vaccine containing an inactivated BVDV fraction significantly reduced the risk of fetal infection with BVDV in heifers continually exposed to cattle persistently infected with BVDV. However, not all vaccinated cattle were protected, which emphasizes the need for biosecurity measures and elimination of cattle persistently infected with BVDV in addition to vaccination within a herd.