Campylobacteriosis (cattle)

Also known as Vibriosis and Bovine genital campylobacteriosis (BGC)


Description

Formerly known as bovine vibriosis, Bovine genital campylobacteriosis (BGC) is caused by Campylobacter fetus subsp. venerealis and is characterised by infertility and early embryonic death. There is a history of reduced breeding efficiency in herds where natural breeding is practised, and repeated returns to service with prolonged inter-service intervals. Mid to late term abortion occurs sporadically in a small percentage of infected cows.

The disease is venereally transmitted. Bulls show no clinical signs, but many become carriers and subsequently infect females at service. In cows, the bacterium may colonise the vagina, cervix and uterus (in cases of abortion) and may be present in abomasal fluids of aborted foetuses and uterine discharges. The persistent carrier stage in females is uncommon, though the bacterium may colonise the vagina for a few months after infection.

similar organism Campylobacter fetus subsp. fetus has been known to cause sporadic abortions in cattle, but is not usually involved with infertility.

Diagnosis and tests available

Diagnosis

Diagnosis is supported by history, clinical signs, demonstration of specific antibodies in the vaginal mucus of affected cows, isolation of bacteria from the prepuce of infected bulls or from aborted foetuses.

Tests available

Test

Sample(s) required

Days of the week test is conducted

Turnaround time1

Campylobacter  fetus subspecies venerealis vaginal mucus IgA Antibody ELISA

Swab

Thursday and Friday

Up to 5 working days

Culture for Campylobacter fetus subspecies venerealis

Preputial wash or scraping or vaginal swab (in CETM)

Monday to Friday

Up to 10 working days2

Culture for Campylobacter  fetus subspecies venerealis

Foetal stomach contents

Monday to Friday

Up to 10 working days

1 Turnaround times are provided as a guide only. For specific information about your submission please contact Customer Service.

2 7 days for cultures with no C. fetus-like colonies

Specimen requirements

Swab

  • Vaginal mucus collected from affected cows and submitted chilled in transport media (PBST). PBST is available from the laboratory upon request.
    • IMPORTANT – Unlike other sampling options, vaginal mucus in PBST should be submitted chilled.
    • Please submit in an esky with ice brick/s, complying with IATA biological substances transport requirements. Samples should be packaged so they are protected from extreme heat. Samples should be maintained at 4oc while in transit.
    • Clients should schedule shipments to avoid weekend and holiday delivery of samples to the laboratory. The laboratory should receive the samples within 72 hours after collection (delivery of samples within 24 hours of collection is preferred) Include the date of collection on the submission form.
    • Label the inoculated containers clearly with the Animal IDs. If you are sampling large numbers of animals it is best to label the specimens sequentially starting at 1, and use a keylist to identify the animals.
    • Please refer to the Diagnosis of Bovine Venereal Campylobacteriosis (Vibriosis) by ELISA guide for further information.
NOTE

In a herd situation, demonstration of antibody in vaginal mucus is the preferred method of diagnosis as it can be difficult to recover the organism from the prepuce. Collect at least ten samples from infertile heifers or cows for representative sampling of a herd.

It is best to sample when pregnancy testing reveals infertility. Testing for antibodies after calving may be unreliable, due to the extended interval from the time of infection.

Cows which have aborted can be sampled for Campylobacter ELISA from one week to three months after abortion.

Preputial or vaginal specimens

  • Preputial wash or scrapings from bulls or vaginal samples from cows submitted at room temperature in Campylobacter Enrichment Transport Medium (CETM). CETM and phosphate buffered saline (PBS) is available from the laboratory upon request*. Please refer to the bull sampling method instructions to determine the volume of PBS to request.
    • IMPORTANT - Do not submit chilled as organisms are sensitive to the cold
    • Media must be removed from the fridge and left for 30 minutes at room temperature or until it reaches ambient temperature (20-35°C) prior to use.
    • Collected samples in CETM should be stored and forwarded to the laboratory at room temperature (20-35°C) while in transit.
    • Please submit in an esky with NO frozen / cooled ice brick or gel packs, complying with IATA biological substances transport requirements. Samples should be packaged so they are protected from extreme heat and cold. Samples should be maintained at room temperature (20 – 35oc) while in transit.
    • Clients should schedule shipments to avoid weekend and holiday delivery of samples to the laboratory. The laboratory should receive the samples within 24 (export animals for breeding) to 48 hours after collection.
    • Label all samples with the date of collection and official animal identification, making sure the keylist is also included.
    • If it is suspected that samples have been exposed to temperatures outside of the optimal range of 20oc to 35oc, then it is likely that the target pathogen is no longer viable, and therefore the integrity of the test results are compromised. The laboratory reserves the right not to test these samples (link to T&Cs)

Foetal stomach contents

  • C. fetus subsp. venerealis is most successfully isolated from aborted foetuses submitted to the laboratory, because the organism is not exposed to normal atmospheric conditions, and where samples can be collected without contamination and then directly cultured under microaerophilic conditions. Foetal stomach contents, collected in a sterile container, must be delivered within 6 hours of collection, otherwise it must be transported in Campylobacter Enrichment Transport Medium (CETM). CETM is available from the laboratory upon request*.
    • IMPORTANT - Do not submit chilled as organisms are sensitive to the cold.
    • Samples should be packaged so they are protected from extreme heat and cold, and maintained at room temperature (18 – 37oc) while in transit.
    • Please submit in an esky with NO ice bricks or gel packs. Please contact the laboratory to discuss the best way to submit samples during hot weather conditions.
    • Packing should comply with IATA biological substances transport requirements.
    • Samples of ‘export animals for breeding’ should be received by the laboratory within 24 hours of sampling
    • Clients should schedule shipments to avoid weekend and holiday delivery of samples to the laboratory. The laboratory should receive all other samples within 24 to 48 hours after collection.
    • Label all samples with the date of collection and official animal identification, making sure the key-list is also included.
    • If it is suspected that samples have been exposed to temperatures outside of the optimal range of 5oc to 37oc, target pathogen viability could have been affected. The laboratory reserves the right not to test these samples (refer to terms and conditions).

*Media is supplied free of charge to customers (within Australia) who send samples for Campylobacter fetus subsp. venerealis testing at EMAI (NSW DPI). Costs may be recovered for any media supplied but not returned, receipt of compromised/unsuitable samples at the laboratory or cancellation of testing. We require 1 week notice for all media requests or 2 weeks if the number of samples is greater than 20.

Additional Information