University of Wyoming Extension News

UW seeks better brucellosis control through vaccine development, vaccination practices

Ph.D. student Alexis Dadelahi and undergraduate student Matthew Rorke conducting brucellosis research at the University of Wyoming.

Ph.D. student Alexis Dadelahi and undergraduate student Matthew Rorke conducting brucellosis research at the University of Wyoming.

College of Agriculture and Natural Resources scientists at the University of Wyoming are hopeful their brucellosis studies may produce a better vaccine for livestock and are studying whether a change in vaccination procedures could offer better control.

Brucellosis can cause elk, bison and cattle to abort fetuses. The highest risk of brucellosis transmission to other animals occurs after an animal has an abortion. The organism can also be transmitted to humans, often through consumption of unpasteurized milk or dairy products such as soft cheese, which may result in a severe disease called undulant fever.

Brucellosis is an exotic disease that came from Europe and European cattle and was then transmitted to wildlife in the U.S., establishing the reservoir in elk and bison seen in the Greater YellowstoneArea.

“We have eradicated the disease from livestock but occasionally get a disease spillover from elk transmitting the organism to livestock,” said Bruce Hoar, University of Wyoming brucellosis research coordinator. “One of the ways we try to control brucellosis is through the use of vaccinations.”

Scientists are interested in pursuing vaccines for wildlife, particularly elk; existing vaccines for cattle are not very effective at preventing disease in elk. The emphasis, though, is on livestock vaccines, said Hoar.

Cattle in the U.S. have been vaccinated since the 1930s with a vaccine called Strain 19. That vaccine was moderately effective preventing 60-70 percent of cattle from aborting after becoming infected, said Hoar. Strain 19 was replaced by a vaccine called RB51 in the 1990s and is the currently licensed vaccine for cattle.

“It, too, only protects 60-70 percent of animals in the herd, so that leaves 30-40 percent of the herd vulnerable, and, because of that, we are looking for better vaccines, and that is what a team of researchers here at the University of Wyoming have been involved in for a number of years,” said Hoar.

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Pet owners advised to vaccinate against rabies

Wyoming State Veterinary Laboratory scientists are urging pet owners – especially those in Laramie and Goshen counties – to have pets vaccinated against rabies.

Forty-one of 66 tests of animals from the two counties this year have been positive, said Myrna Miller, a virologist with the University of Wyoming’s WSVL. Thirty-seven skunks and one fox from Goshen County and three skunks from Laramie County have been positive. All have been from the South Central rabies strain.

“It is important for pet owners to vaccinate their pets against rabies,” said Miller in the Department of Veterinary Sciences, which manages the WSVL. “Even if the animal does not usually have contact with wildlife, rabid skunks and foxes have been known to climb into outdoor dog kennels and attack large dogs and even humans.”

Miller advised pet owners to contact their veterinarians if rabies is suspected and report allanimal bites to their doctors.

Most cases of rabies in Wyoming have been in skunks and bats, but other animals include cats anddogs, horses and cattle, squirrels and foxes, she said.

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UW agricultural student says national cattleman’s internship ‘incredible’

Sarah Notti

Sarah Notti

Time spent as an intern with the National Cattleman’s Beef Association (NCBA) was an incredible opportunity, an animal and veterinary sciences major at the University of Wyoming said.

Sarah Notti of Otter, Mont., in the southeastern portion of the state was selected as one of 18 interns for the group’s national convention Feb. 3-9 in Tampa, Fla. Notti, a junior in the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources, said the internship was hands-on and supported the NCBA with anything needed to help at the convention.

That included setting up rooms and directing people to correct locations.

“Although this itself does not directly pertain to what I am studying,” said Notti, “the connections I made there were great, and I was immersed in a world full of people at the top of the industry I hope to someday be a contributor to.”

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UW Ranch Horse Team members lasso awards

Lacey Teigen

Lacey Teigen

UW Ranch Horse Team member Lacey Teigen received multiple honors at the Colorado-Wyoming-Nebraska Stock Horse Association’s (CoWN-SH) 2012 Year End Annual Awards Banquet Saturday, Feb. 9, at the Eaton Country Club in Eaton,Colo.

Teigen, a student in the Department of Animal Science in the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources, was honored as the 2012 collegiate limited non-pro champion, reserve champion in trial and reining, champion in ranch pleasure, and she placed in the top five for cow-working.

“It was so nice to be recognized,” said Teigen, a Laramie native. “I had worked so hard and finally achieved a huge goal in my life.”

Teigen also won reserve limited non-pro overall at the Region 5 Championship in Denver last November.

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UW scientist, state’s veterinarian lauded for animal health efforts

Professor Donal O’Toole

A University of Wyoming professor and the Wyoming state veterinarian have received awards from national animal health organizations.

Professor Donal O’Toole in the Department of Veterinary Sciences received the Distinguished Career Service Award from the American Association of Veterinary Laboratory Diagnosticians (AAVLD) at the association’s annual meeting Oct. 18-24 in Greensboro, N.C.

State veterinarian Jim Logan received the National Assembly Award from the U.S. Animal Health Association, which met jointly with the AAVLD. The National Assembly is the collaborative body of all U.S. state animal health officials, according to the USAHA. Logan was recognized by all state veterinarians for his contributions to advance animal health programs nationally.

O’Toole, in the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources, was honored for his long-term service to veterinary diagnostic medicine in the United States, including peer-reviewed papers, teaching related to diagnostic medicine, service on the association’s executive board, including as president 2005-2006, and as chair of its pathology committee.

He joined the Department of Veterinary Sciences in 1990 as an associate professor and diagnostic pathologist and served as department head and as director of the Wyoming State Veterinary Laboratory for five years. He teaches undergraduate courses in diseases of livestock, equine health and disease and mammalian pathobiology.  His research focus is spontaneous diseases of food and companion animals and fatal viral disease of bison.