Reproductive Efficiency: Few Things
Have Greater Impact On Your Profitability

Reproductive diseases can have a devastating impact on your operation’s success and your financial well-being.  Bovine reproductive conditions include:

  • Bovine Viral Diarrhea Virus (BVDV)

    What is bovine viral diarrhea?

    • BVDV Types 1a, 1b and 2 are extremely contagious
    • BVDV Type 1b is currently the most prevalent subtype in the United States1

    Cattle affected

    • Most infections are acquired after birth, and are transient, meaning they only last a few weeks
    • A small percentage of infections are acquired in the uterus and the calves are persistently infected (PI), shedding the virus for their entire lives 

    Disease development

    • In pregnant cows, the virus can be transferred through the bloodstream to the fetus (vertical transmission)
    • Infected animals can shed the virus in saliva, nasal and eye discharge, urine, feces, milk, semen, and aborted fetal tissues, exposing other animals (horizontal transmission)

    Signs

    • Most infections are subclinical, meaning cattle show no signs
    • Signs can vary from mild to severe but relate to reproductive disease (abortions and birth defects) or respiratory disease 
    • PI calves can develop mucosal disease, resulting in diarrhea, digestive tract ulceration and often, death

    Diagnosis

    • Diagnosis is generally made by a combination of physical exam and blood, milk or tissue testing

    Treatment

    • There is no treatment for BVD, which is why prevention is so important
    • Your veterinarian may recommend supportive care and antibiotics for secondary infections

    Prevention

    • Identify and eliminate PI calves
    • Prevent exposure with good biosecurity
    • Vaccinate cows to improve colostrum quality
    • Vaccinate calves to boost immunity
    • Choose vaccines labeled to protect against the BVDV subtypes in your area
  • Infectious Bovine Rhinotracheitis (IBR)

    What is infectious bovine rhinotracheitis?

    • A contagious viral infection caused by bovine herpesvirus-1 (BHV-1)
    • Often a contributing factor in bovine respiratory disease complex
    • Can also lead to reproductive disease and abortion

    Cattle affected

    • All ages of cattle are potentially affected

    Disease development

    • Spread through nasal and genital discharge, fetal fluids, embryos and semen
    • Can infect the ovary and placenta, leading to late-term abortions in pregnant cattle

    Signs

    • Respiratory disease may appear as nasal discharge, sneezing, eye inflammation, ulcerative lesions inside the nose, coughing 
    • Abortions, birth defects, infertility

    Diagnosis

    • Physical exam and blood or tissue testing

    Treatment

    • There is no treatment
    • Your veterinarian may recommend antibiotics for secondary infections or other supportive treatments

    Prevention

    • Vaccinate cows to improve colostrum
    • Vaccinate calves to boost immunity
  • Leptospirosis

    What is leptospirosis?

    • A bacterial disease caused by numerous serovars of Leptospira, spiral-shaped bacteria called spirochetes
    • Common serovars in North America include hardjo and pomona, and to a lesser degree grippotyphosa, bratislava, icterohaemorrhagiae and canicola 
    • The infection can be zoonotic, meaning it can be passed from animals to people

    Cattle affected

    • Cattle of any age can be affected

    Disease development

    • Wildlife such as rodents may harbor the infection and shed bacteria; spirochetes often live in stagnant water
    • Infected urine and placental fluids serve as sources of infection
    • Spirochetes invade through the mucous membranes (such as the mouth tissues) or in abrasions
    • Bacteria can travel in the bloodstream to organs such as the kidneys and reproductive tract

    Signs

    • Clinical signs can vary depending on the species of bacteria
    • Some infections may be subclinical, meaning there are no signs
    • Fever, anorexia, depression, dark red urine
    • Abortion, stillbirths, weak offspring and prolonged calving interval

    Diagnosis

    • Bacteriological culture of blood, urine or tissue samples, or more advanced diagnostics

    Treatment

    • Work with your veterinarian to choose the right antibiotic

    Prevention

    • Vaccination
    • Prevent exposure to swampy ground or streams
  • Trichomoniasis

    What is trichomoniasis?

    • A contagious bovine venereal disease caused by a protozoan, Trichomonas foetus 
    • A reportable disease in many parts of the United States

    Cattle affected

    • Any cattle could potentially be infected

    Disease development

    • Organisms are passed from an infected bull to uninfected cows, or from infected cows to uninfected bulls during mating
    • The protozoa invade the lining of the reproductive tract and multiply
    • Organisms can also be transmitted in semen from infected bull

    Signs

    • Overt signs usually not apparent
    • May present as a herd fertility problem 
    • Females may experience abortion, failure to conceive, prolonged calving periods, pyometra, vaginal discharge

    Diagnosis

    • It’s generally easier to test bulls with a preputial fluid sample
    • The sample can be cultured for organism growth
    • Advanced diagnostic tests may be warranted

    Treatment

    • The only way to guarantee an infected animal doesn’t spread the infectious organism is to cull it for slaughter

    Prevention

    • Using artificial insemination may help in trichomoniasis control. Collection facilities should test semen for the organism.
    • Test bulls for trichomoniasis
    • Good biosecurity protocols
    • Vaccination can help reduce infection or disease severity
  • Vibriosis

    What is vibriosis?

    • A bacterial infection caused by Campylobacter fetus

    Cattle affected

    • Young, pregnant cattle may be most severely affected

    Disease development

    • Venereal transmission can occur
    • The bacteria can also be spread in semen or on objects such as instruments and bedding

    Signs

    • Cattle may not display overt signs of disease
    • Reproductive disease may appear as abortion, infertility, uterine infection, embryonic and fetal death

    Diagnosis

    • Blood or tissue cultures
    • Uterine/Vaginal swabs shortly after abortion

    Treatment

    • Consult your veterinarian about antibiotic treatment

    Prevention

    • Whole-herd vaccination is the most practical way to prevent venereal diseases

Estrus Synchronization in Beef Operations

While a small percentage of beef herds use estrus synchronization and artificial insemination to advance genetic change in their beef herds, there are simple, inexpensive protocols that producers can use with natural service. These protocols deliver numerous benefits including:

  • Less time and labor needed to breed calves
  • Shortened calving season
  • More uniform calf crop
  • Calves born earlier in season tend to have higher weaning weights

Work with your veterinarian to find the estrus synchronization products and protocols that are right for your operation.

Beef Reproductive Products

Citadel® Express® FP TrichGuard® Synchsure®(cloprostenol sodium)  Cystorelin®(gonadorelin)

 

SYNCHSURE IMPORTANT SAFETY INFORMATION: For animal use only, not for human use. Keep out of reach of children. Women of childbearing age, asthmatics, and persons with bronchial and other respiratory problems should exercise extreme caution when handling this product. In the early stages women may be unaware of their pregnancies. SYNCHSURE (cloprostenol sodium) is readily absorbed through the skin and may cause abortion and/or bronchospasms: direct contact with the skin should therefore be avoided. Accidental spillage on the skin should be washed off immediately with soap and water. 

CYSTORELIN IMPORTANT SAFETY INFORMATION: Do not use in humans. Keep this and all drugs out of the reach of children. 

Videos on Reproductive Conditions in Cattle

Trichomoniasis – Preventing Trich in Your Herd

Trichomoniasis spreads quickly and can have a devastating economic impact on a beef herd. Dr. John Davidson, senior associate director of beef professional veterinary services, Boehringer Ingelheim, shares helpful tips on how to implement a successful trich prevention program. 

The Persistently Infected Calf – One Calf Can Wreak Havoc on Your Herd

Why should you be concerned about persistently infected (PI) calves on your farm? Dr. Stephen Foulke, professional services veterinarian, Boehringer Ingelheim, discusses how one PI calf can impact the overall performance and reproduction of the entire beef herd. 

Beef Products

To help keep your cattle in top condition, you can rely on Boehringer lngelheim for a broad range of products, including:

To help keep your cattle in top condition, you can rely on Boehringer lngelheim for a broad range of products, including:

1Fulton RW, Ridpath JF, Saliki JT, et al. Bovine viral diarrhea virus (BVDV) 1b: predominant BVDV subtype in calves with respiratory disease. Can J Vet Res 2002;66 (3):181–190.