Bovis ISSN 2398-2993

Nasopharyngeal swab

Synonym(s): Bovine respiratory disease investigation

Contributor(s): Louise Cox-O’Shea, Vetstream Ltd , John Tulloch

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Introduction

  • Bovine respiratory disease is a widespread and costly disease.
  • Both morbidity and mortality are significant. 
  • Animals are particularly at risk during periods of stress such as transport, weaning etc, overcrowding, poor ventilation and when new animals are bought in.
  • Nasopharyngeal swabs can be utilized when a sample is required for:
    • Bacterial culture.
    • Virus isolation.
    • Fluorescent antibody testing.
  • The most common viral respiratory pathogens are:
    • Bovine Respiratory Syncytial Virus (BRSV).
    • ParaInfluenza 3 Virus ( PI3).
    • Infectious Bovine Rhinotracheitis (IBR)/ Bovine Herpes Virus 1 (BHV-1).
    • Bovine Respiratory Corona Virus (BRCoV) .
    • Bovine Viral Diarrhea virus (BVDV).
  • The most common bacterial respiratory pathogens are:
    • Mannheimia haemolytica – may be a commensal.
    • Haemophilus somnus.
    • Pasteurella multocida – may be a commensal.
    • Mycoplasma bovis.
    • Mycoplasma disbar.
  • It may be worth swabbing in contact clinically well animals, as subclinical infections can lead to further economic losses from reduced growth rates/ failure to thrive etc.

Uses

  • Nasopharyngeal swabs are usually not utilized as the first course of action. They are more likely to be carried out as a result of treatment failure, to allow more specific directed treatment.
  • They may be used to determine the pathogen when no losses have occurred and post mortem examination isn’t an option.
  • They may be used to monitor the response to treatment. 

Advantages

  • Simple technique.
  • Performed on standing animal.
  • Relatively inexpensive.
  • Quick procedure.
  • More likely to isolate a respiratory pathogen than if just a nasal swab were performed.

Disadvantages

  • Isolates may not indicate disease- results must be interpreted with care.
  • Potential pathogens may be present in healthy animals, and be causing no problems, as part of the normal bacterial flora.
  • Potential pathogens harvested from the nasopharynx may not reflect the pathogens causing disease lower down the respiratory tract.
  • Nasopharyngeal swabs may be less reliable at isolating pathogens causing disease in lower respiratory tract than other techniques such as Bronchoalveolar lavage Bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL) and transtracheal wash.

Requirements

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Preparation

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Procedure

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Outcomes

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Further Reading

Publications

Refereed Papers

  • Recent references from PubMed and VetMed Resource
  • Zeineldin M M, Lowe J F, Grimmer E D, de Godey M R C et al (2017) Relationship between nasopharyngeal and bronchoalveolar microbial communities in clinically healthy feedlot cattle. BMC Microbiology 7, 138 PubMed.
  • Sockett D C, Toohey- Kurth K, Okwumabua O E & Godhardt–Cooper J (2016) Nasal- pharyngeal swabs for bovine respiratory disease tests. Progressive Dairy Man 18.
  • Holman D B, Timsit E, Alexander T W (2015) The nasopharyngeal microbiota of feedlot cattle. Sci Rep 26 (5),  15557 PubMed.
  • Fulton R W & Confer A W (2012) Laboratory test descriptions for bovine respiratory disease diagnosis and their strengths and weaknesses: Gold standards for diagnosis, do they exist? Can Vet J 53 (7),  754-761 PubMed.
  • Gibbs A (2001) Practical approach to the control of pneumonia in housed calves. In Practice 23, 32-39.
  • DeRosa D C, Mechor G D, Staats J J,Chengappa M M & Shryock T R (2000) Comparison of Pasteurella spp. Simultaneously Isolated from Nasal and Transtracheal Swabs from Cattle with Clinical Signs of Bovine Respiratory Disease.  J Clin Microbiol 38 (1), 327-332 PubMed.

Other sources of information

  • Socket D C (2016) Use of Deep Nasopharyngeal Swabs for Bovine Respiratory Disease Testing. [online] Available at: www.wvdl.wisc.edu. Last accessed 27/03/18.


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