Clostridial Diseases in Cattle

Clostridial Diseases in Cattle – Why vaccinate?

– Producers can prevent economic losses from certain diseases by planning a vaccine program.

– Livestock are vaccinated to protect against some of the most common serious infectious diseases

– Vaccination stimulates the body’s defence system to build immunity to a particular disease by exposing them to the organisms in the form of a vaccine

– Initially, vaccinations require a booster following the first vaccination 4-6 weeks later, and then ideally an annual booster

– Most of the clostridial diseases result in sudden death if an animal is not immune to the disease, resulting in huge economic losses

A little info on the 5 clostridial diseases that the 5in1 vaccine covers..

Enterotoxaemia (Pulpy Kidney) –

  • Often a disease of younger stock undergoing nutritional changes – sudden change to a low fibre, high carb diet, moved onto lush, rapidly growing pasture or cereal crops, or grain
  • Clinical Signs –
    • Sudden death following convulsions
  • NO treatment

Tetanus (Lock Jaw)

  • Bacteria is found in the soil and enters the animal through cuts/puncture wounds
  • Clinical signs
    • Muscle rigidity/spasms, increase response to stimuli, convulsions, death

Black Leg

  • Soil borne infection that is presumed to enter the animal through ingesting feed off the ground
  • Livestock involved; cattle 6mths – 2yo, sheep of all ages
  • Rapidly growing stock on a high plane of nutrition
  • Warm wet months
  • Clinical Signs
    • Lameness, swelling of upper limbs, muscle necrosis
    • High fatality rate

Malignant Oedema (Gas Gangrene)

  • Infection is usually soil borne with entry through deep puncture wounds/trauma
  • All ages of stock susceptible; particularly females that have just given birth
  • Clinical Signs –
    • Inflammation, swelling, oedema and pain

Black Disease

  • Bacteria resides in soil. Most common cause of infection through faecal contamination of pasture
  • Associated with liver fluke
  • Clinical signs –
    • Sudden death

The extra disease covered with a 7in1 vaccine…

Leptospirosis (L. hardjo & L. pomona)

– Leptospirosis is considered one of the most significant infectious diseases to consider in livestock, as well as the associated zoonosis aspect (transferable to humans) worldwide

– Leptospirosis bacteria thrive in warm, wet environments; therefore, increased risk of infection after periods of high rainfall

– Transmission is through direct contact with urine or tissues (e.g. placenta) of infected animals

Clinical signs in Cattle –

  • Reproductive failure – abortion, embryo death, stillbirths, infertility
  • Abortion is most commonly around 6-7 months gestation, but can occur any time after 4 months
  • Cows will often have retained fetal membranes (placenta) following abortion
  • Premature, weak calves
  • Decreased milk production and growth rates
  • Leptospirosis in calves can cause a serious acute illness clinically seen as ‘red water’ disease (red urine), depression and pale gums. Calves <1mth old are the most susceptible

Clinical signs in Humans –

  • Can range from a mild influenza illness to a severe infection with liver and kidney failure, and death
  • Symptoms can include severe headaches, fever, vomiting, skin rashes, abdominal pain, diarrhoea. Abortions can also occur in pregnant women.
  • Transmission to humans is through an animal source. It cannot be transmitted from human to human. Infection is through contamination with infected urine or aborted materials
  • Dairy farmers are at particularly high risk with urine splashes and close contact during milking