Tailor-Made® Bovine Vaccines

The rapidly-changing livestock industry has created unique disease and management challenges. With the continual emergence of new diseases and variability of existing organisms (antigenic drift), veterinarians and producers are faced with challenges of how best to address these issues. The persistence of diversity within bacterial populations is an important way that microbes typically adapt to their environment and evade immune responses. As herd conditions change, the health program must also adapt and change.

While conventional vaccines play an important role in today's health programs, there are common situations where these mass produced products may not be the best option.

For example, if you are faced with any one of the following situations, Tailor-Made®, herd-specific vaccines may be a viable solution:

  • Regional or unique strains of a bacteria that may be different than those in conventional vaccines due to different serotypes or antigenic differences
  • Disease problems that do not respond well to currently available vaccines
  • Vaccine combinations not available which may be appropriate for your operation or production system
  • New strains or organisms for which a vaccine has yet to been developed

You can count on MVP Laboratories, in collaboration with practicing veterinarians, to assist in the management of these challenges through expertise in the development of herd-specific vaccines. The USDA regulations regarding vaccines are very strict and MVP takes additional steps to ensure safety and purity of ingredients and production processes. These vaccines are fully supported through our years of experience in the animal health industry with products for a variety of species, namely, cattle, swine, sheep and goats.

Common Disease-Causing Organisms

Disease management and maintaining a healthy herd is a constant concern of beef producers (cow/calf, stocker, backgrounders, and feeders) and dairymen (calf ranches, heifer growers, and milking enterprises). Economic viability and doing the right thing for the animal's well-being is vital. With the ongoing emergence of new diseases and regional variation of existing organisms or when current vaccines no longer seem to be effective, herd-specific vaccines may be a key to the solution.

Through our diagnostic and R&D capabilities, we endeavor to monitor emerging diseases and strains along with trends in order to produce the highest quality biologics possible. Strain variability is a feature of many bacterial pathogens and is one reason why they may be so difficult to control in today's food animal production systems.

When dealing with disease management (respiratory disease, pinkeye, gastrointestinal disease, mastitis, and others), herd-specific vaccines can be a safe, economical answer. MVP Laboratories along with practicing veterinarians stand ready to address specific disease situations.

The following are some of the more common organisms which engender variability for a few of the infectious disease challenges faced in production animal medicine.

Respiratory/Pneumonia-Causing Organisms

Mycoplasma bovis

Mycoplasma bovis is known to primarily cause pneumonia, arthritis, otitis and mastitis in cattle. Additionally, it has been associated with inducing multiple abscesses in lung and skin, meningitis, keratoconjunctivitis, genital tract infections and spontaneous abortions.

A unique feature of the Mycoplasma group of bacteria is that they lack a cell wall. This feature makes antibiotic therapy difficult as many antibiotics' mode of action requires cell wall disruption. Long duration of expensive therapy may be required and resistance is becoming more common.

Mycoplasma bovis has had an increasingly significant economic impact on dairy and beef operations particularly as related to respiratory and lameness issues. This increased incidence is partly due to increased antibiotic resistance and the organism's inherent ability to elicit extensive antigenic variation in its variable surface lipoprotein antigens (VSPs). At least 13 different VSP genes have been identified. The VSP antigens are highly immunogenic and are known to contain adhesive properties. Additionally, it has been well-researched that M. bovis undergoes significant chromosomal rearrangements leading to additional antigenic variants. While a few conventional vaccines are available, they may not adequately represent the disease-causing strains in a particular group of animals. 

Mycoplasma bovis in beef animals is most typically seen as respiratory and lameness cases associated with stress (crowding, wet and cold weather, co-mingling, shipment and high humidity). Respiratory problems are usually chronic, and non-responsive in nature. Lameness problems generally involve the joint and surrounding tendon sheaths.

The incidence of Mycoplasma bovis in dairy operations may be associated with young calves as an otitis or respiratory problem. Generally this leads to subsequent pneumonia in animals as they mature or it is seen initially as respiratory or lameness problems in the growing or adult animal. Additionally, M. bovis is considered by many as a contagious mastitis pathogen because the source of infection is commonly other infected cattle or contaminated equipment (milking machines, intramammary infusions, etc.).

Diagnostic ante mortem samples include: ear swabs; tracheal wash aspirates, joint fluid; and milk. Postmortem samples include: fresh lung tissue and joint fluid.

Mannheimia haemolytica

Mannheimia haemolytica (formerly referred to as Pasteurella haemolytica) is a gram-negative bacterium that is a common inhabitant of the upper respiratory tract of ruminants such as cattle.

When animals are stressed by various environmental factors or co-infection with viruses, M. haemolytica acquires the ability to rapidly replicate in the upper respiratory tract. Bacteria are then aspirated into the lung where they express various known and unknown virulence factors that contribute to development of a fatal, fibrinous pneumonia.

Mannheimia haemolytica consists of 12 serotypes divided among 2 biotypes. The primary serotype involved in bovine Pasteurella pneumonia is serotype A1, whereas all serotypes are involved in ovine pneumonia.

There have been identified various key factors of M. haemolytica immunity, which include:

  • Leukotoxin
  • Various Capsule antigens
  • Lipopolysaccarides
  • Outer membrane proteins (OMP)

New serotypes have been identified. Certain antigens have been found to require specific conditions of growth, such as growth within the host or under restricted iron conditions.

Diagnostic samples include: fresh lung tissue, nasal swabs, and tracheal-bronchial aspirates.

Pasteurella multocida

The molecular mechanisms for infection and virulence of Pasteurella multocida have remained largely undetermined, and this organism has continued to cause a wide range of diseases in animals and humans. Acquired resistance is humoral.

Pasteurella multocida is involved in the multi-factorial diseases of the respiratory system in calves and is most commonly associated with chronic cases of pneumonia or shipping fever.

Pasteurella infections are spread by inhalation of aerosol droplets, by direct nose to nose contact, or by ingestion of feed and water contaminated by nasal and oral discharges from infected cattle; hence the bacteria are easily spread between cattle, especially when calves are crowded (as in shipment) or closely confined (as in a dairy calf nursery). The animal's normal body defenses keep the Pasteurella infections in check; the bacteria reproduce at a slow rate, move around in the mucus of the nose and throat, are destroyed by locally produced antibodies, and are generally removed by a clearing mechanism found in healthy animals.

Diagnostic samples include: fresh lung tissue, nasal swabs, and tracheal-bronchial aspirates.

Histophilus somni 

Historically, the major H. somni problem was considered to be a central nervous system problem. However, the organism has the capacity to attack many different organs in the body namely the respiratory and reproductive systems.

Additionally, the organism can take on a septicemic form of H. somnus disease and how it is manifested depends upon where the organism becomes attached, colonizes, and blocks the blood flow by forming a blood clot. For example, if blockage occurs in the brain or spinal cord, the disease may be seen as a nervous disorder. Since the blood clot affects blood vessels and nerve tissue, this particular disease form is known as "Thromboembolic meningoencephalitis" (TME or TEME). The septicemic form of the disease may also affect the animal's joints, resulting in chronic arthritis, swollen joints and chronic lameness.

It is not well documented as to the antigenic diversity of H. somni. However, recent data indicate strain specific antigenic lipo-oligosaccharide and in the outer membrane protein. Many of the current conventional vaccines utilize isolates from field outbreaks and/or organisms isolated from various locations in the body.

Diagnostic samples include fresh tissue from affected organs such as brain, lungs, or joints.

Arcanobacterium pyogenes

Arcanobacterium pyogenes, a common inhabitant of the mucosal surfaces of livestock, is also a pathogen associated with a variety of infections. It is ubiquitous and resides normally on the mucosa by entering the host in the face or damage by some other complicating factor (such as viral infection, injury, or stress). It was previously known as Corynebacterium and Actinomyces pyogenes. A. pyogenes is commonly associated with economically associated diseases such as: liver abscesses, mastitis, abortion, infertility, and postpartum uterine infections. It is commonly isolated with other respiratory pathogens such as Mycoplasma bovis.

Currently no conventional vaccine is available. Pathogenesis of infections is believed to be mediated primarily by a hemolytic exotoxin (i.e. pyolysin, PLO). Bacterial resistance is becoming more common.

Diagnostic samples include fresh tissue from affected organs such as lungs, uterus, and liver, or fluids from impacted areas (abscesses, milk).

Pinkeye/Infectious Bovine Keratoconjunctivis (IBK)-Causing Organisms

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Moraxella bovis

Pinkeye is caused by the bacterium Moraxella bovis, which infects the eye and produces a toxin. The toxin attacks the surface of the eye (cornea) and the surrounding membranes (conjunctivae), eroding the surface and causing severe inflammation. Numerous strains of M. bovis have been identified, with some strains being more pathogenic than others. Non-piliated strains do not cause clinical IBK.

Vaccines against Moraxella bovis focus on bacterial pili, the mechanism by which the bacteria bind to their host. The different strains of Moraxella bovis are identified by differences in their pili. The vaccine that has been developed so far acts by binding to the pili, thus preventing them from binding to the host. If a vaccine is used that protects against only one strain, it may not be effective against other strains because their pili are different. A successful vaccine must contain pili from each strain.

Diagnostic samples include eye swabs from cattle showing early signs of pinkeye disease.

Branhamella ovis

Branhamella ovis, alone, has been shown to cause a keratoconjunctivitis similar to M. bovis. However, like M. bovis, factors contributing to ocular irritation are required forclinical disease. B. ovis has also been cultured concurrently from eyes with M. bovis infection. This suggests that B. ovis could play a role as a primary pathogen and a contributing factor in IBK.

Currently no conventional vaccine is available.

Diagnostic samples include eye swabs from cattle showing early signs of pinkeye disease.

Enteric/Scours-Causing Organisms

Salmonella spp.

Clinical signs of salmonellosis in cattle include fever, diarrhea, anorexia, and decreased milk production. Infection can range from subclinical to endotoxemia and death. Cattle can shed Salmonella in their feces due to stress incurred during transportation, lactation, and calving without showing clinical signs typically associated with infection.

Over 2,000 serotypes of Salmonella have been identified; most laboratory-confirmed Salmonella infections in cattle are due to a small number of serotypes. Recently, a drug-resistant form of Salmonella serotype (Newport) has emerged. These multi-drug resistant isolates, which have caused disease in humans, adult cattle, and less commonly in calves, are of concern.

Specific species and serotype vaccines would be most appropriate due to the wide variation within Salmonella spp.

Diagnostic samples include fresh tissue from affected areas and feces.

Clostridium difficile

Clostridium difficile is a strictly anaerobic, gram-positive to gram-variable, spore-forming bacterium that is becoming increasingly recognized as a cause of gastrointestinal disease in humans, horses, and pigs.

C. difficile is a highly diverse organism, with more than 400 unique types, and has several virulence factors. Exotoxins A and B are the most significant factors, and bacterial production of exotoxins is correlated with pathogenicity of individual strains of C. difficile.

No current conventional vaccine is available.

Diagnostic samples include feces and fresh samples of affected intestine.

Escherichia coli

E. coli is capable of causing diarrhea in many animals and is considered the most common agent causing calf diarrhea. Typical presentation will be calves less than 7 days of age and as early as 12 hours of life. Diarrhea is typically yellowish in color.

E. coli strains containing the K99 pilus antigen are considered the most infective strains and are referred to as entertoxigenic. Other cell surface antigens may also play a role in the pathogenesis.

Various conventional vaccines are available.

Diagnostic samples include feces.

Clostridium perfringens, Type A

Clostridium perfringens Type A is most commonly associated with sudden death (enterotoxemia) resulting from significant hemorrhage and clotting and is often referred to as jejunal hemorrhage syndrome (JHS) or hemorrhagic bowel syndrome (HBS). The main virulence factors of Clostridium perfringens Type A are believed to be the alpha and beta-2 toxins. This pathogen is not just limited to young or growing bovine and is routinely the cause of significant health issues in adult animals.

Fully-licensed Conventional C. perfringens Type A are not currently available, while Types C and D containing products commonly produce low amounts of these toxins.

Diagnostic samples include: feces and fresh sample of affected intestine.

Bovine Coronavirus

Disease caused by bovine coronavirus is responsible for a significant economic impact in feedlot cattle as well as in young calves and dairy cattle. Losses are attributed to involvement with the bovine respiratory complex in feedlots and to acute, enteric disease observed as calf scours and as winter dysentery in dairy cows primarily. Respiratory disease within the feedlot environment is almost always connected to bad (colder) weather and to stress. Manifestation of calf enteritis and of winter dysentery in dairy cattle is also highly dependent on stress factors. As opposed to successive bouts of scours in calves affected by bovine coronavirus, an episode of winter dysentery in dairy cows is most typically observed as a single animal coming from a large group.

No commercial licensed vaccines are currently available for bovine coronavirus.

Diagnostic samples include:

  • Enteric – affected spiral colon (preferred), fresh mucus-containing or blood-tinged ingesta or feces
  • Respiratory – affected areas of lung, upper 1/3rd of trachea, or nasal swabs

The Application of Science and Technology to Herd-Specific Vaccines

MVP Laboratories excels in assisting practicing veterinarians with providing vaccine solutions to their clients. In fact, our company was started by veterinarians and microbiologists to address producers' unmet diagnostic and vaccine needs.

MVP is a leader in producing field-proven, federally USDA licensed conventional and herd-specific products for cattle, swine, sheep, and goats. Our continuous improvement processes ensure the continued use of best practices in science and technology.

USDA regulations regarding vaccine production are very strict. MVP takes additional steps to ensure safety and purity of ingredients in its production processes.

These steps include:

  1. Up-front isolate characterization and identification testing
  2. Assurance of adequate antigenic mass
  3. QC tested ingredients
  4. Antigen testing
  5. Proprietary inactivation processes to maintain antigen integrity

All of these steps lead to quality assurance and unsurpassed field performance.

Prompt, courteous, and accurate diagnostic service is critical to producing a quality product. MVP's Diagnostic and R&D professionals can answer many questions utilizing its existing in-house technology or can develop specific assays.

Examples of our services are:

  • Serotyping of isolates
  • Restriction Fragment Length Polymorphism (RFLP) – used to differentiate isolate strains (DNA fingerprinting)
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) – used for isolate identification & differentiation detection of the presence of specific virulence genes

The practical application and service is also critical for ultimate success. At MVP Laboratories, our people make the difference. We are a customer-focused company made up of dedicated professionals who truly care about meeting the vaccine needs of veterinarians and their clientele.

Prompt, courteous service allows us to work together with veterinarians in a timely fashion from initial diagnostics (isolation and results discussion) to vaccine production on a timely basis to monitoring and communicating isolate expiration to the veterinarian.

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