Implications of bovine viral diseases for udder health
Keywords:Cattle, Milk, Mastitis, Virus
Several factors can affect bovine mammary gland health and although bacterial mastitis is the most studied and reported cause, viral infections may also have negative effects on bovine udder health. Viral infections can indirectly damage the papillary duct of the teat, and induce or exacerbate signs of bovine mastitis due to viral-induced immunosuppressive effects that may lead to a greater susceptibility to bacterial mastitis and even intensify the severity of established bacterial infections. Some viruses (Bovine alphaherpesvirus 2, cowpox, pseudocowpox, foot-and-mouth disease, vesicular stomatitis and papillomavirus) affect the integrity of the udder skin, leading to teat lesions, favoring the entry of mastitis-causing pathogens. It is therefore possible that the association between mastitis and viruses is underestimated and may, for example, be associated with negative bacterial culture results. Few milk samples are tested for the presence of viruses, mainly because of the more laborious and expensive procedures required. Furthermore, samples for virus testing would require specific procedures in terms of collection, handling and storage. Thus, there is a knowledge gap in regard to the actual impact of viruses on bovine udder health. Despite the fact that serum anti-virus antibodies can be detected, there is not enough evidence to confirm or exclude the effect of viruses on udder health. However, any expectation of milk production from healthy animals should consider the possible impact of viral infections in mastitis development and not underestimate the importance of actions to diagnose and control the disease. Therefore, the purpose of this review is to describe the association of diagnosis and control of viral diseases and their effect on bovine udder health.
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