Understanding Bovine Respiratory Disease Serologic Tests: Protecting Your Cattle Herd’s Health

At WADDL, we are committed to advancing animal health and welfare and are excited to again offer the Bovine Respiratory Disease Serologic Panel. This comprehensive panel is designed to provide immunologic and disease surveillance insights into the health of your cattle herd, offering timely and accurate results that can help safeguard your livestock investment.

Understanding Bovine Respiratory Disease (BRD)

Bovine Respiratory Disease (BRD) stands as a formidable challenge for cattle producers globally. BRD is a multifactorial disease caused by viral and bacterial pathogens, either singly or in combination. This complex condition poses a significant threat, leading to compromised animal welfare, reduced productivity, and substantial economic setbacks. One tool in controlling BRD is the Bovine Respiratory Disease Serologic Panel, a suite of tests that provides valuable insights into your herd’s immunity and disease exposure.

What are Bovine Respiratory Disease Serologic tests?

Bovine Respiratory Disease Serologic Tests are diagnostic assays designed to detect antibodies in the blood of cattle. These antibodies are produced by the animal’s immune system in response to exposure to specific pathogens responsible for BRD. By measuring the presence and levels of these antibodies, veterinarians and cattle producers can gain essential information about the health status of their herds.

Components of the Serologic Panel

Our Bovine Respiratory Disease Serologic Panel includes tests for the following pathogens:

  1. Bovine Viral Diarrhea Virus (BVDV): This highly contagious virus can cause respiratory disease and weaken the immune system, making cattle more susceptible to other infections. Testing for BVDV antibodies helps assess a herd’s exposure and immunity to this virus.
  2. Bovine Respiratory Syncytial Virus (BRSV): BRSV is a major contributor to BRD. Detecting antibodies against BRSV can help identify past infections and assess the level of immunity in your cattle.
  3. Infectious Bovine Rhinotracheitis (IBR) or Bovine Herpesvirus (BoHV) 1: IBR, caused by BoHV-1, can lead to respiratory and reproductive issues in cattle. The serologic panel evaluates antibodies against IBR/BoHV-1, aiding in disease surveillance and management.
  4. Bovine Parainfluenza Virus 3 (PI3): PI3 is another key player in BRD. Detecting antibodies against PI3 can provide insights into a herd’s exposure and immunity status against this virus.

When and why are these tests necessary?

  1. Routine Health Monitoring and Herd Immunity Assessment: Regular testing helps monitor the health status of cattle herds. It can identify past exposures – either infection or vaccination, track changes in immunity levels, and guide preventive measures. Serologic tests can reveal if your cattle have been exposed to BRD pathogens, even if they didn’t show clinical signs of the disease.
  2. Disease Outbreak Investigation: In case of a disease outbreak, serologic tests can help identify the causative agents, determine the extent of the outbreak, and guide prevention strategies.
  3. Animal Movement Requirements: In some states or countries, proof of past infection, freedom from diseases, or vaccination may be required when moving cattle. Serologic tests can provide the necessary documentation to comply with these regulations.

Understanding Serologic test results

Two blood samples taken 2-4 weeks apart (paired titers) give the most helpful interpretive test results as we can better determine the significance through the rise and fall of titers. Results are typically:

  1. Titers: These indicate the levels of antibodies in the blood
    In combination with an interpretation of:
  2. Positive: A positive result means that antibodies against specific BRD pathogens were detected, which can indicate current infection, past infection or vaccination.
  3. Negative: A negative result suggests the absence of antibodies against the tested pathogens.

Again, paired titers are critical for determining which situation is occurring.

Bovine Respiratory Disease Serologic Tests are valuable tools in managing the health of your cattle herd. Whether you’re a large-scale cattle producer or a veterinarian, these tests offer a comprehensive view of disease exposure and immunity, enabling you to make informed decisions that promote animal welfare and maximize herd productivity.

To learn more about these tests and how they can benefit your operation, consult with your veterinarian or diagnostic laboratory.

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Categories: Cattle