ST. JOSEPH, Mo. — The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has approved Titanium® 5 L5 and Master Guard® 10 vaccines as an aid in preventing disease caused by Leptospira borgpetersenii hardjo-bovis in beef and dairy cattle. Leptospira, which often infect calves at a young age and easily spread within herds, ultimately can cause reproductive failure and significant economic loss. Now producers can vaccinate cattle that are not pregnant or nursing with Titanium 5 L5, and all cattle 5 months of age or older with Master Guard 10, to protect against this costly organism.
“Dairy and beef producers are well-aware of just how expensive abortions and other reproductive problems caused by ‘lepto’ can be,” says Charlie Higdon, business unit manager, AgriLabs. “Research estimates that at least 59 percent of dairy herds1 and 42 percent of cow-calf operations2 have cattle with L. hardjo-bovis. Since the organism is spread within herds through urine and milk, and the disease it causes is difficult to diagnose, prevention through vaccination is smart business.”
The challenge of L. hardjo-bovis
Leptospirosis has long been a health challenge in cattle. Extensive research to better understand this costly disease has identified that L. borgpetersenii hardjo-bovis is the only species of L. hardjo found in the United States.
Once cattle have L. hardjo, which colonizes in the kidneys and reproductive tract, they can shed the organism in urine, placental fluids, milk and other infected fluids for weeks to months after infection. As herdmates come in contact with these fluids — or even contaminated water or small cuts in the skin of infected animals — infections can spread quickly.
“What’s particularly challenging about leptospirosis is that it is so difficult to diagnose, since the signs often are mild or similar to other health problems,” says Higdon. “Infertility is the most significant symptom; additional signs can include decreased reproduction efficiency and milk production, abortions, stillbirths and calves that are weak. Herds rarely experience a rash of abortions to signal an L. hardjo problem, even when the disease is widespread.”
Since a combination of tests is needed to obtain the sensitivity and specificity for an accurate diagnosis, controlling disease caused by L. hardjo-bovis through vaccination is an important consideration for both dairy and beef operations.
L. hardjo-bovis vaccines