Objective—To assess the transmission of bovine viral diarrhea virus (BVDV) from experimentally infected white-tailed deer fawns to colostrum-deprived calves by use of a BVDV strain isolated from hunter-harvested white-tailed deer.
Animals—5 white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) fawns and 6 colostrum-deprived calves.
Procedures—Fawns were inoculated intranasally with a noncytopathic BVDV-1a isolate (2 mL containing 106.7 TCID50/mL), and 2 days after inoculation, animals were commingled until the end of the study. Blood and serum samples were obtained on days −6, 0, 7, 14, and 21 after inoculation for reverse transcriptase PCR assay, virus neutralization, and BVDV-specific antibody ELISA. Nasal, oral, and rectal swab specimens were collected on days 0, 3, 7, 14, 17, and 21 for reverse transcriptase PCR testing. By 21 days after inoculation, all animals were euthanized and necropsied and tissues were collected for histologic evaluation, immunohistochemical analysis, and virus isolation.
Results—All fawns became infected and shed the virus for up to 18 days as determined on the basis of reverse transcriptase PCR testing and virus isolation results. Evidence of BVDV infection as a result of cohabitation with acutely infected fawns was detected in 4 of the 6 calves by means of reverse transcriptase PCR testing and virus isolation.
Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—On the basis of these findings, BVDV transmission from acutely infected fawns to colostrum-deprived calves appeared possible.