An organism that typically is experienced by sheep, goats, and white tailed deer is now affecting the respiratory system of cattle. The bacterial organism is called Bibersteinia trehalosi and it causes a severe infection: many of the cattle die so quickly that their stomachs are still full. A study at Iowa State examined the disease in 2104 and at that time had just started being seen in cattle, and specifically in dairy calves. Then the disease moved into adult dairy cattle and now is affecting beef cattle.
Dr. Victor Cortez with Zoetis Animal Health indicates the organism is similar to Mannheimia hemolytica, which is another common cause of respiratory disease in cattle, and many times a lab may mistake the Bibersteinia organism for Mannheimia. Knowing this is important in making the correct diagnosis because Mannheimia responds to certain antibiotics while Bibersteinia only responds to cephalosporins. In beef cattle, beefmagazine.com indicates heavier cattle seem to be hit harder and the disease seems to affect non-stressed cattle, which is totally different than most bovine respiratory pathogens in which stress plays a major role. The cattle usually have a fever of 106 to 108 degrees Farenheit but they don’t seem to look as bad as they should with this high of a temperature. Outbreaks seem to occur with one dead animal, then three to four, and then 10 or more. In some cases, 10 percent of the herd can be affected. So it is critical to get an accurate diagnosis. If your cattle are dying from respiratory disease and they are not responding to antibiotics, have your veterinarian perform a necropsy and culture to determine if Bibersteinia could be involved.