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ARS Home » Midwest Area » Ames, Iowa » National Animal Disease Center » Ruminant Diseases and Immunology Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #215707

Title: Histophathologic and Immunohistochemical Findings in Two White-tail Deer Fawns Persistently Infected with Bovine Viral Diarrhea Virus

item Ridpath, Julia
item Palmer, Mitchell

Submitted to: Journal of Veterinary Diagnostic Investigation
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 12/5/2007
Publication Date: 5/1/2008
Citation: Duncan, C., Ridpath, J., Palmer, M.V., Driskell, E., Spraker, T. 2008. Histophathologic and Immunohistochemical Findings in Two White-Tail Deer Fawns Persistently Infected with Bovine Viral Diarrhea Virus. Journal of Veterinary Diagnostic Investigation. 20(3):289-296.

Interpretive Summary: Infection with bovine viral diarrhea viruses (BVDV) result in significant economic losses for beef and dairy producers. Previously it has been shown that BVDV will infect white-tailed deer in addition to domestic cattle. Infection of cattle with BVDV can have a number of negative results including death of the fetus and the birth of animals that are persistently infected (PI) with BVDV. PI cattle constantly shed virus and can infect numerous animals over their live span. The purpose of this study was to see if the distribution of virus in the tissues of PI deer is similar to that of PI cattle. It was observed that the distribution of virus in PI deer is very similar to that of PI cattle with one significant difference. In cattle white blood cells contain a lot of virus, but it deer very little virus was found in white blood cells. This finding suggests that there may be differences in the way the virus behaves in deer compared to cattle. These differences may change the way the virus spreads from one animal to another.

Technical Abstract: Bovine viral diarrhea virus (BVDV) is an important pathogen of domestic cattle. Serological, experimental and individual case studies have explored the presence and pathogenesis of the virus in wild ungulates; however there remain large gaps in knowledge regarding BVDV infection in non-bovine species. Live twins were born from a white-tail deer (Odocoileus virginianus) doe infected with non-cytopathic BVDV during her first trimester of pregnancy. The twins died at one day of age from trauma unrelated to the infection and tissues were collected for histological and immunohistochemical examination. The only histological abnormality was diffuse depletion of B-lymphocytes in both fawns. BVDV antigen was distributed widely throughout many tissues and cell types, most notably epithelium and vascular endothelium, consistent with that reported in cattle. In contrast to cattle, lymphocytes exhibited only very rare positive staining.