Symptoms and treatment of leptospirosis in cattle


Infectious disease, which is registered everywhere and creates serious problems - leptospirosis of cattle. It is found not only in cows and calves. Most wild and farm animals, as well as waterfowl, are susceptible to this infection. The main natural accumulator and carrier of leptospirosis are rodent populations. A significant role in this process is played by stray dogs. The disease is of natural focal nature and has a lot of unpleasant consequences for large farms and individual pet owners. The result: a decrease in productivity, the birth of non-viable offspring, mastitis, loss of livestock.

Bacteria - infectious agents

Leptospirosis has been known since the end of the 19th century. Then German and Russian doctors almost simultaneously described cases of human infection. Epizootia in cattle was first investigated in 1934. At the same time, it was proved that the disease is caused by leptospirae - small mobile bacteria that have the form of a spiral (hence the name). There are up to 200 species of such bacteria.

Only four of them are dangerous for animals. Leptospira live in soil and water for 200-300 days. They badly need water, and in a dry environment they die in a few hours. They are perfectly preserved at cold temperatures; warming to 50 degrees will destroy them in 5 minutes. These properties of bacteria lead to the fact that in nature the whole foci of infection are formed. Grazing in such places is possible only if it is vaccinated.

How does the infection occur?

The source and carriers of leptospirosis are sick or animals that have already recovered from them. But a recovered cow can remain a carrier of dangerous bacteria for one and a half years. The problem is asymptomatic leptospirosis or latent infection of animals, occurring without obvious signs.

All this time, animals serve as bacteria distributors. Any physiological secretions (urine, feces, milk, semen, exhaled air) of bacteria carriers can be infected with leptospira. Consequently, contamination can occur in a pasture, pond, bedding or feed. Cattle can be infected sexually, calves through the placenta.

In order to preserve viability, leptospiram needs water, which is why it is the aquatic transmission that is considered the main one.

The form and course of the disease

As a rule, leptospirosis outbreaks occur in summer and autumn. All cattle are subject to it, regardless of age. The most acute disease occurs in the young, causing the death of a significant part of non-immune calves.

The first signs appear 4-14 days after infection with the bacterium. Penetrating into the body, leptospira have a destructive and toxic effect on the body. Without treatment for leptospirosis, at best, the animal can go through the disease and cope with the pathogen that has entered the body within 2–10 days. In the acute course of the disease hemolysis quickly develops, with the result that almost all red blood cells are destroyed. There is asphyxia, convulsions. Death can occur within 24 hours.

In the absence of appropriate veterinary care, the lethal outcome is up to 70%. There are cases when leptospirosis becomes chronic. The animal loses weight, the mucous membranes become anemic, the lymph nodes increase, the temperature periodically increases with the simultaneous appearance of bloody urine. In cows, leptospirosis causes termination of pregnancy at different times.

The main signs of the disease

After an incubation period, infection of an animal with leptospirosis can be determined by the following symptoms:

  • heat;
  • lethargy, loss of appetite;
  • imbalance;
  • painful shallow breathing;
  • increased heart rate;
  • yellowness of the eyes, skin and mucous membranes;
  • discoloration of urine (cherry or brown);
  • bruising;
  • puffiness leading to skin necrosis;
  • cessation of lactation;
  • fast weight loss

In young animals, the clinical picture is more pronounced. In adult cattle, leptospirosis may be asymptomatic or may manifest as fever, decreased milk yield or abortion in a pregnant cow.

All these signs should be the basis for testing animals for infection and taking urgent medical measures. Otherwise, you can lose the whole herd. Accurate diagnosis requires a veterinarian and laboratory tests. If the diagnosis is confirmed, all animals on the farm must be vaccinated.

The main methods of treatment

Sick individuals are isolated, improve conditions of detention. The basis of treatment of leptospirosis is antibiotics, tetracyclines and serum.

To fight the infection, animals are vaccinated. Vaccines against leptospirosis developed about two dozen. Modern technology allows you to create hyperimmune serum. After this vaccination, the development of immunity occurs after 4 hours and persists for a week.

Of the drugs used antibiotics tetracycline, streptomycin, kanamycin. As a rule, youngsters from leptospirosis are treated in a complex: intravenous infusions of Ringer's solution, glucose, means for maintaining cardiac activity. Calves can be irradiated under a quartz lamp. Additionally, the ration of animals is enriched with vitamins and trace elements, add fish meal, fish oil.

How to prevent the spread of

For the prevention of leptospirosis requires a number of activities. Livestock owners and veterinary service must comply with sanitary standards, strictly monitor the welfare of farms, if leptospirosis is suspected, conduct laboratory diagnostics of the material, timely treat and vaccinate the livestock.

When animals are introduced into breeding farms, before being imported and introduced into the herd for user purposes, as well as when leptospirosis is suspected, laboratory blood serum is performed.

Natural foci of leptospirosis are trying to destroy. Until the elimination of contaminated sites prohibit grazing in these areas. They regularly fight rodents on farms and fodder bases.

Since water is the main source of infection, animals are watered with either tap water or water from artesian wells. For summer camps choose dry areas.

It is worth recalling that a person is also susceptible to leptospirosis. All activities for the care of sick animals and their treatment should be carried out strictly following safety measures. Do not forget that the milk and meat of infected cattle is forbidden to be eaten.

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