Objective—To determine whether administration of 2 doses of a multivalent, modified-live virus vaccine prior to breeding of heifers would provide protection against abortion and fetal infection following exposure of pregnant heifers to cattle persistently infected (PI) with bovine viral diarrhea virus (BVDV) and cattle with acute bovine herpesvirus 1 (BHV1) infection.
Design—Randomized controlled clinical trial.
Animals—33 crossbred beef heifers, 3 steers, 6 bulls, and 25 calves.
Procedures—20 of 22 vaccinated and 10 of 11 unvaccinated heifers became pregnant and were commingled with 3 steers PI with BVDV type 1a, 1b, or 2 for 56 days beginning 102 days after the second vaccination (administered 30 days after the first vaccination). Eighty days following removal of BVDV-PI steers, heifers were commingled with 3 bulls with acute BHV1 infection for 14 days.
Results—After BVDV exposure, 1 fetus (not evaluated) was aborted by a vaccinated heifer; BVDV was detected in 0 of 19 calves from vaccinated heifers and in all 4 fetuses (aborted after BHV1 exposure) and 6 calves from unvaccinated heifers. Bovine herpesvirus 1 was not detected in any fetus or calf and associated fetal membranes in either treatment group. Vaccinated heifers had longer gestation periods and calves with greater birth weights, weaning weights, average daily gains, and market value at weaning, compared with those for calves born to unvaccinated heifers.
Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Prebreeding administration of a modified-live virus vaccine to heifers resulted in fewer abortions and BVDV-PI offspring and improved growth and increased market value of weaned calves. (J Am Vet Med Assoc 2012;241:484–495)