Infectious cattle rhinotracheitis: symptoms and treatment

Cattle, both on farms and private traders, are most often kept in one common room. In this case, the disease of one animal immediately leads to the rapid spread of the virus. One of the dangerous diseases in breeding cattle is infectious rhinotracheitis, which most often affects calves, leading to their death. In this article, we will consider in detail this disease, as well as methods of dealing with it.

What is this disease

Infectious rhinotracheitis (RTI or vesicle rash) in cattle is an acute viral disease, manifested by fever, general depression, conjunctivitis, and even necrotic lesions of various organs. Most often, such problems arise in farms with an industrial type of breeding, where there is a large concentration of livestock.

History reference

The disease was identified in 1950 in the United States, then it was described under different names. The name known today was first voiced in 1956. The disease is registered in almost all countries of the world.

Did you know? Scientists are sure that a sufficiently large number of cattle that lives on Earth causes more environmental damage than airplanes and cars. This is due to the release of a huge amount of methane into the atmosphere along with animal waste products.

Economic damage

The damage caused by the IRT is quite significant. The disease covers from 5 to 100% of the herd, in addition, there is a case of animals, which can reach 18%. In addition, there are losses associated with forced slaughter, lower milk production and loss of milk, as well as expenses for veterinary measures. Economic damage consists of:

  • decrease in milk yield - up to 60%;
  • under-breeding offspring - from 10 to 30%;
  • death of calves - up to 20%;
  • barrels of cows - up to 30%.

The causative agent, source and route of infection

The causative agent is the herpes virus, which is present on the mucous membranes of the nose and genitals. The higher the temperature, the faster the virus will be killed. You can quickly get rid of the virus with the help of ethyl alcohol, acetone, chloroform.

Most often, the virus is transmitted by the respiratory, fecal-oral or sexual route, as well as through other direct contacts. In addition, you can become infected through:

  • air;
  • feed;
  • insects
  • milk;
  • farm equipment;
  • veterinary instruments;
  • in the process of insemination.
Important! The first manifestations are observed 3 weeks after infection. The entire herd in the absence of operational measures will become infected after 3 weeks.

Symptoms and course of the disease

The first symptoms can be seen 10 days after the virus has entered the body. In a sick animal, the temperature rises, breathing quickens and sensitivity decreases. In fact, the animal is in a depressed state. At the same time, mucus is leaking from the nose, which gradually becomes purulent. In addition, fibrous formations with ulcers form. The respiratory form is diagnosed in calves and young animals, in older adults it is much less common.

Among the characteristic symptoms are:

  • clear discharge from the nose;
  • cough;
  • overflow of mucous membranes of the nasopharynx;
  • saliva with the presence of foam.

When the disease affects the lungs, bronchial pneumonia develops with pronounced changes in the necrotic type, bronchial blockage and even death may also occur. This form is the most severe, as the result is the development of complications and mortality of up to 20% of the herd.

In adults, IPV develops, genital herpes infection. Quite often, the infection proceeds in a latent form. Clinical expressions in cows are manifested in the form of inflammation of the vagina, rashes of a nodular rash, which gradually turns into ulcers. Bulls suffer from a nodular rash the size of a pinhead. As a result, there is a violation of sexual cycles and prolonged infertility.

Did you know? On the skin of the nose of the cows there are lines whose pattern is unique, like human fingerprints. It is known that in several states of the USA there is a bank of “nose prints”, by which they later search for missing and stolen animals.


The causative agent of infection after penetration into the mucosa begins to multiply quickly enough, leading to the appearance of inflammation and exfoliation of epithelial tissues. White blood cells, on which the virus accumulates, and thus spreads through the lymph, blood and in most organs, tend to the focus of inflammation.

Diagnosis begins on the basis of different data, but the final diagnosis can only be established by laboratory methods, examining the material for various infections. The material is taken at the first stage of the disease, while it is important to take into account the form in which the disease manifests. Do this with sterile cotton swabs or gauze. Tampons are cleaned in saline tubes.

Tests are taken almost immediately after death. Paired sera for the study of antibody levels are made from analyzes taken at the beginning of the disease and after 3 weeks. The collected analysis is sent to the laboratory without fail in a special thermos with cooling. Sperm is examined during the day after collection. In addition, it is possible to conduct a retrospective and differential diagnosis.

Pathological changes

Examination of dead animals is carried out for the presence of the following manifestations:

  • inflammation of the nose;
  • mucosal hemorrhages;
  • inflammation of the lymph nodes;
  • expansion of the lungs;
  • conjunctival inflammation.

In addition, necrosis of the mucous membranes, pulmonary edema and hemorrhage under the epicardium are detected. The genital form leads to inflammation in the vagina, the appearance of a pustular rash and necrotic areas. Pathology of the uterus occurs after the death of the fetus before birth and its decomposition.


For treatment, hyperimmune serums created on the blood of animals that have suffered a disease are used. The most optimal application is aerosol use. This allows the drug to immediately reach the affected areas of the mucosa. In addition, serum can be administered parenterally, but this is a rather time-consuming method.

For treatment and prevention, it is recommended to use such medications as Albuvir or Endoviraza:

  1. The first remedy in the form of a 10% solution for prevention is given to animals at the rate of 0.03 ml per 1 kg of weight for two days in a row. Young growth is watered twice a month with an interval of a week. For treatment, the dose is doubled, treatment lasts up to 7 consecutive days.
  2. Endovirase is used for inhalation or direct injection into the nose. Do it once a day. Treatment is carried out for 5 days with an interval of up to 3 days.

In addition, expectorants are prescribed for patients to help remove sputum. Group treatment recommends the use of sodium bicarbonate or turpentine.

Important! Treatment should include drugs aimed at restorative therapy against repeated infections. To get rid of concomitant infections, Ditrim, Nitox 200 and Tetracycline are prescribed.

Quarantine mode

Most often, if an outbreak of such a disease occurs in the household, it is recognized as dysfunctional. On its territory, some restrictions and prohibitions begin to apply:

  • to rearrange animals;
  • for moving cattle;
  • export of products is permissible only after disinfection.
The elimination of the focus of infection occurs as follows:

  • all patients are isolated;
  • healthy urgently vaccinated;
  • all equipment is disinfected;
  • corpses are disposed of;
  • instruct the staff and provide him with overalls and shoes;
  • all rooms are disinfected;
  • infected bulls are rejected;
  • insemination is carried out by the recto-cervical method.

Products obtained from healthy animals are sold, only milk is pre-pasteurized.

Restrictions are left for another 3 months after additional confirmation of full recovery. Before this, the last disinfection is carried out.

Immunity after a disease

Animals that recover after being properly treated receive immunity to the disease for up to 2 years. It is also possible to transfer it to calves during milk feeding. However, even the presence of resistance to the pathogen does not guarantee complete recovery, since for another 6 months or more, the animal can be a spread of the disease without the presence of symptoms.

Vaccination and other preventive measures

In order to minimize the chances of an outbreak of RTI and the formation of a full-fledged annual immunity, vaccination is used. In addition, the following methods are used for prevention:

  • diagnosis and vaccination of a new livestock;
  • the use of disinfecting barriers;
  • disinfection of all rooms during technological breaks;
  • normal conditions for keeping and feeding;
  • treatment and prevention of other diseases.

As can be seen from the foregoing, infectious rhinotracheitis is a rather serious disease, however, if preventive measures and therapy are taken in time if detected, then it can be overcome with minimal loss.

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