IBR poses a deadly threat to herd health and farmer profits
This disease is caused by a virus from a family similar to the disease that causes cold sores in humans. IBR (Infectious bovine rhino-tracheitis) is not a zoonosis, so it cannot spread to humans.
But it can enter a dormant phase in cattle that fall foul of the disease. It is this dormant phase that allows the disease to survive from generation to generation.
Bulk milk sampling can give an indication of IBR's presence on your farm. However, it is more likely that your vet will have diagnosed the disease earlier via pneumonia or abortion outbreaks in the main herd.
The disease can cause anything from mild to severe and fatal virus pneumonia. It is often associated with runny eyes and heavy nasal discharge, and can cause crusty lesions to appear on the muzzle.
Your vet is best placed to advise you of the earliest signs of a problem as prevention and minimising the spread of the virus should be the main focus at all times.
IBR is not age specific and can spread among calves with devastating effect. It can also affect adult cattle during periods of stress.
The dormant nature of the virus in any previously exposed animal means the disease can wake during times of stress. Therefore, BVD, which lowers all immunity, can lead to significant problems with IBR.
Parasite problems or cattle movement stresses can also lead to IBR resurgence.