Infectious Bovine Rhinotracheitis

IBR (Infectious Bovine Rhinotracheitis) is an infectious viral disease of cattle caused by Bovine Herpes Virus 1 (BHV-1). IBR is the most common clinical manifestation associated with BHV-1 infection. The severity of disease associated with IBR infections can range from very mild/inapparent to very severe. Inflammation of the nostrils and upper airways of cattle, associated with a high temperature are the most common clinical signs. The virus can also cause abortion in pregnant cattle as well as pharygitis in young calves.

The Rispoval Yearly IBR Programme allows:

  1. Annual IBR Booster Vaccination
  2. IBR Abortion Protection* 

Rispoval IBR Marker Live is the only vaccine in Ireland licensed for cattle at immediate risk of IBR. 

*In order to prevent abortion in female cattle that have only received their first single dose of Rispoval IBR-Marker live, the booster with Rispoval IBR-Marker Inactivated should be given no later than by the start of the second trimester of pregnancy.
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  • The following clinical signs may be associated with  IBR infections:

    • Dullness and reduced appetite
    • High body temperature
    • Rapid and loud breathing, sometimes with coughing
    • Inflammation inside the nose and in the pink of the eye (conjunctiva) 
    • Fluid discharge from nose and eyes
    • Pharyngitis (inflammation of the throat)
    • Sudden reduced milk production
    • Reduced growth rates and weight loss
    • Abortion
    • Nervous signs (normally only in young calves).
    • Death

  • BHV-1, the virus that causes IBR is spread mainly by close contact between animals.

    • Airborne spread of virus may occur over distances of up to 5m
    • The virus may also be spread through semen from infected bulls, through the use of contaminated equipment and by people who have recently handled infected animals.

    Following recovery from IBR, any animal should be considered a latent carrier of the virus for life. This means that the animal will always carry the virus, and may shed it when subjected to stress, illness etc. These latent IBR carriers maintain the disease within the herd.

  • There are two main costs associated with IBR

    1. Loss of Production
    2. Loss of Export markets 

    Loss of export markets: Export of calves and weanlings are a key aspect of farming in Ireland. As more and more European countries progress with IBR eradication, these export markets are at risk of closure to entry of cattle from countries with IBR such as Ireland. For example  in 2014 a total of 21,360 animals were exported from Ireland to Belgium (up to 10th October). During the same period in 2015, exports were reduced by 97.8% to 473. This is as a direct result of Belgium initiating a national IBR eradication programme.

    Loss of production: Recent research on Irish dairy farms has indicated that endemic IBR (as opposed to an outbreak of IBR) reduces both milk yield and milk solids production. More specific details and figures on this research are expected to be published later in 2016.

  • It is estimated that between 70% and 80% of Irish cattle herds have a least one IBR positive animal. These IBR carrier animals (latent carriers) are the source of the virus in IBR outbreaks.

    A) If you know your herd is IBR free (freedom from disease established by blood sampling) make sure that you keep the IBR virus out. This is achievable by maintaining a closed herd. For more information see biosecurity section.

    B) If you know you have animals that are IBR positive (latent carriers) you have two options

    1. Cull the carriers animals; thereby establishing an IBR free herd
    2. Implement an IBR vaccination programme to control and possibly eradicate IBR

    C) If you don't know your herd IBR status talk to your vets about carrying out an investigation to establish if IBR is present in your herd or not.

  • Biosecurity comprises of Bioexclusion and Biocontainment.

    Bioexclusion practices are the actions taken to reduce the risk of infectious disease coming into a farm or unit.

    The most important risk factors are:

    Direct disease spread from animals e.g.

    • Adding animals to the herd
    • Contact with animals from neighbouring herds

    Indirect disease spread e.g.

    • Farm visitors
    • Slurry
    • Animal equipment
    • Wildlife, vermin

    The ideal Bioexclusion policy is to have a closed herd. This means:

    • Not buying in stock including bulls
    • Not borrowing bulls
    • Not exhibiting cattle at shows
    • No sharing of cattle facilities and equipment
      • Use own equipment and do not lend
      • Use disposable equipment and dispose of it
      • Wash and disinfect non disposable equipment
    • No return of unsold cattle (from marts or other farms)
    • No use of common housing or grazing
    • Good, secure boundary fencing
      • Prevent nose-to-nose contact with animals from other herds
      • Stock proof fencing
      • Double spaced boundary fencing of 5 metre should provide adequate protection
    • Risk reduction measures for farm visitors
      • Is there a disinfection procedure in place for farm visitors?
      • Is it used?
      • Keep visitors to a minimum
      • One single farm entry and exit point
      • Provide protective clothing for visitors

    Biocontainment practices are the actions taken to reduce or prevent the risk of infectious disease spread within a farm, typically between different management groups.

    The two main sources of infection on a farm are:

    1. Infected animals
      • Clinically sick animals: visibly sick
      • Sub-clinically affected animals (maybe suspicious due to performance etc. but not visible, only identifiable on blood sample)
      • Carrier animals (not visible, only identify on blood sample)
    2. Contaminated environment
      • Equipment, visitors etc.

    Best practice for Biocontainment:

    • Diagnose and treat sick animals promptly
    • Isolate/remove sick animals from the group or herd
    • Keep different age groups and management groups separate

    High risk Biocontainment areas examples

    • Collection yard: highest density of cattle on farm. Ensure adequate ventilation. (Target 0.1m2 outlet per animal)
    • Calving pens: The risk of shedding of IBR virus from latent carrier cows is likely to be high in the calving pen due to the stress associated with calving.
    • At-risk fresh calved cow’s pen: if there are IBR carriers in a group of cows that are struggling to recover after calving these are likely to be IBR shedding candidates. Ensure these high risk freshly calved cows are maintained in a separate shed.

  • If IBR is confirmed in your herd the first step is make a plan with you vet to

    A) Control clinical signs (if any)

    B) Reduce the risk of more animals contracting the virus and becoming IBR carriers

    C) Implement a control (and eradication) programme by improving biosecurity and implementing an IBR vaccination programme.

    If there is evidence of IBR in your herd, vaccinate with a primary dose of Rispoval IBR Live (into the muscle) followed by a booster vaccine of Rispoval IBR Marker inactivated within 6 months.

    Thereafter these animals should receive an annual booster of Rispoval IBR Marker inactivated.

    All young animals and new animals (over 3 months of age) entering the herd should receive a single dose of Rispoval IBR Marker live into the muscle, with a booster of Rispoval IBR inactivated within 6 months to join the yearly vaccination programme.