USDA Approves Two Leading Cattle Vaccines For Use Against Leptospira hardjo-bovis

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has approved Titanium® 5 L5 and Master Guard® 10 vaccines as an aid in preventing disease caused by Leptospira borgpetersenii hardjo-bovis in beef and dairy cattle. Leptospira, which often infect calves at a young age and easily spread within herds, ultimately can cause reproductive failure and significant economic loss. Now producers can vaccinate cattle that are not pregnant or nursing with Titanium 5 L5, and all cattle 5 months of age or older with Master Guard 10, to protect against this costly organism.

“Dairy and beef producers are well-aware of just how expensive abortions and other reproductive problems caused by ‘lepto’ can be,” says Charlie Higdon, business unit manager, AgriLabs. “Research estimates that at least 59 percent of dairy herds1 and 42 percent of cow-calf operations2 have cattle with L. hardjo-bovis. Since the organism is spread within herds through urine and milk, and the disease it causes is difficult to diagnose, prevention through vaccination is smart business.”

The challenge of L. hardjo-bovis

Leptospirosis has long been a health challenge in cattle. Extensive research to better understand this costly disease has identified that L. borgpetersenii hardjo-bovis is the only species of L. hardjo found in the United States.

Once cattle have L. hardjo, which colonizes in the kidneys and reproductive tract, they can shed the organism in urine, placental fluids, milk and other infected fluids for weeks to months after infection. As herdmates come in contact with these fluids — or even contaminated water or small cuts in the skin of infected animals — infections can spread quickly.

“What’s particularly challenging about leptospirosis is that it is so difficult to diagnose, since the signs often are mild or similar to other health problems,” says Higdon. “Infertility is the most significant symptom; additional signs can include decreased reproduction efficiency and milk production, abortions, stillbirths and calves that are weak. Herds rarely experience a rash of abortions to signal an L. hardjo problem, even when the disease is widespread.”

Since a combination of tests is needed to obtain the sensitivity and specificity for an accurate diagnosis, controlling disease caused by L. hardjo-bovis through vaccination is an important consideration for both dairy and beef operations.

L. hardjo-bovis vaccines

Because cattle themselves are L. hardjo-bovis carriers and even calves can be a host when born, vaccination is the most commonly used method for control and prevention. The goals of an effective vaccination protocol are to provide long-lasting immunity, prevent clinical signs, and prevent renal colonization and urinary shedding.

“Research shows that there are differences among vaccines, which is why it’s so important for producers to work with their veterinarians to examine which one is right for their herd,” says Higdon. “Because of these new USDA approvals, dairy and beef producers now can use both Master Guard and Titanium vaccines with the confidence they will aid in preventing disease caused by L. hardjo-bovis.”

Both Titanium and Master Guard vaccines are available exclusively from AgriLabs distributors. The newly labeled Titanium 5 L5 HB is packaged in convenient five-, 10- and 25-dose boxes, and Master Guard 10 HB is available in 10- and 25-dose boxes.

“While we are adding “HB” to the names of Titanium 5 L5 and Master Guard 10 to call attention to the new USDA approval, the vaccines themselves remain the same,” says Higdon. “This means that people can continue using the Titanium 5 L5 and Master Guard 10 vaccines already in their refrigerators, knowing the cattle they vaccinate will receive the same protection against L. hardjo-bovis.”

About Master Guard 10 HB

Master Guard 10 HB is a combination modified-live and killed vaccine that provides five-way viral and five-way Leptospira protection in a single dose, while enabling cows to maintain milk production. Master Guard 10’s killed Bovine Viral Diarrhea (BVD, types 1 and 2) and Infectious Bovine Rhinotracheitis (IBR) fractions offer safety at any stage of lactation; its modified-live Parainfluenza3 (PI3) and Bovine Respiratory Syncitial Virus (BRSV) fractions maximize immune response. Now approved to prevent disease caused by Leptospira borgpetersenii hardjo-bovis, Master Guard may be administered to healthy dairy and beef cattle at least 5 months of age, including pregnant cows. Master Guard vaccines are manufactured using continuous Signature Cell Line® production for serial-to-serial consistency and quality.

About Titanium 5 L5 HB

Titanium 5 L5 HB is a modified-live vaccine that provides five-way viral and five-way Leptospira protection. Titanium was the first vaccine to protect against both type 1 and type 2 BVD, and also offers safe, smooth protection against IBR, PI3 and BRSV. Now approved to prevent disease caused by Leptospira borgpetersenii hardjo-bovis, Titanium 5 L5 may be administered to healthy dairy and beef cattle that are not pregnant or nursing. Titanium vaccines are manufactured using continuous Signature Cell Line production for serial-to-serial consistency and quality.

About AgriLabs

AgriLabs ( is an award-winning animal health, sales and marketing organization with distribution throughout the United States. Through technology transfer and cooperative development agreements, AgriLabs has introduced state-of-the-art products for the beef and dairy industries. AgriLabs' vaccine brands include Titanium, PULMO-GUARD®; and MpB Guard®. AgriLabs' leading nutritional brands include Colostrx®, Achieve® and Respond®. The wholly owned ProLabs ( ) division focuses on new product development of companion animal products into the over-the-counter channel.

1Bolin C. Leptospirosis: Clinical signs and pathophysiology. Bovine Conference on Investigating Pregnancy Wastage, Kansas State University, May 3, 2003.
2Powell J. Hardjo-bovis in beef cattle – A new challenge. University of Arkansas, Cooperative Extension Service. Beef Champs. February 2005.

Master Guard, Titanium, PULMO GUARD, MpB Guard, Colostrx, Achieve, Respond and Signature Cell Line are registered trademarks of Agri Laboratories Ltd.

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