IBR – Infectious Bovine Rhinotracheitis
The disease commonly referred to as “Rednose” in cattle has been recognized for many years. It was later officially named Infectious Bovine Rhinotracheitis and is now just referred to as IBR. The causative agent is a virus known as Bovine herpesvirus -1 (BHV-1) and it produces a variety of disease syndromes most commonly affecting the upper respiratory tract and the reproductive system. Other types of herpes viruses affect humans and cause diseases we know as chicken pox, cold sores, and shingles. One of the characteristics of herpes viruses is that they have the ability to infect cells of the body and then lie dormant for long periods of time before some stressful event lowers the immune response and triggers reactivation of the virus. The classic example of this is shingles in humans, which frequently pops up later in life and can be quite debilitating. IBR can act in a similar manner in cattle. The disease may flare up late in the feeding period if the animals are exposed to conditions of excessive stress.
Infection with the IBR virus in young calves may result in the classic “rednose” which causes tissue
damage and inflammation of the nasal cavity and trachea. This is an important part of the immune system and when damaged allows other pathogens such as mannheimia, pasteurella
to gain access to the lungs where they may cause pneumonia. IBR infection of the eyes may cause small ulcerations on the cornea which are then colonized by Moraxella bovis
resulting in classic “pinkeye”. In cattle of reproductive age, the IBR virus can infect ovarian tissue leading to infertility problems or it may invade and cross the placenta where it causes abortion or birth defects. Treatment of IBR infections involves the use of antibiotics to reduce the impact of secondary bacterial pathogens while the immune system fights off the virus.
Prevention of IBR associated diseases involves the use of vaccines that stimulate the immune system to prepare the animal for the exposure that is likely to occur. Vaccines like Titanium 5
contain a modified live strain of IBR that stimulates the production of antibody which “floods” into the area of infection and neutralizes the invading wild IBR strain. Titanium 5 vaccination also stimulates the production of cytotoxic T lymphocytes which are responsible for what is referred to as “cell mediated immunity”, also know as CMI. Cell mediated immunity is important for finding and eliminating cells that may have been infected with IBR virus that has gone “dormant”. As previously discussed, these latent viruses may become active and cause disease at some later point in time. A vaccination program including Titanium 5 will prepare the immune system for the IBR disease challenge that is nearly certain to take place at some point in the life of the animal.