Campylobacter fetus subspecies venerealis

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Campylobacter fetus
Phylum Proteobacteria
Class Epsilon Proteobacteria
Order Campylobacterales
Family Campylobacteraceae
Genus Campylobacter
Species C.fetus


Campylobacter fetus Janice Carr, CDC 2004, Wikimedia Commons

Campylobacter fetus, has the subspecies fetus and venerealis, belonging to the genus Campylobacter. Campylobacter fetus subsp. venerealis causes venereal infection in cattle and infertility in female cattle.

Bulls are carriers of the disease as they show no clinical signs but bacteria can be found in the glandular crypts of the bulls prepuce. Campylobacter fetus subsp. venerealis is therefore spread by coitus or rarely by artificial insemination. It causes catarrhal inflammation in the female genital tract, temporary infertility and prolonged oestrus cycle. Endometritis prevents implantation until the infection is cleared and causes early embryonic death and occasionally sporadic abortion.

The cow may remain infertile for 3-5 months before immunity develops, which then lasts 4-5 years. Effective immunity includes induction of IgA in the vagina and IgG in the uterus. The bacteria may persist in the vagina and be transmitted to bulls.


A fluorescent antibody test on genital discharges from the bull or cow can be diagnostic. A vaginal mucus agglutination test can be done.

An ELISA to IgA antibodies in vaginal mucus after an abortion can be done in the cow, or PCR for detection in semen.


Dihydrostreptomycin intrauterine for cows and systemically or topically for bulls. A vaccination of bacterin in oil adjuvant can also be done.

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Bovine venereal campylobacteriosis: an overview. Mshelia, G. D.; Singh, J.; Amin, J. D.; Woldehiwet, Z.; Egwu, G. O.; Murray, R. D.; CABI, Wallingford, UK, CAB Reviews: Perspectives in Agriculture, Veterinary Science, Nutrition and Natural Resources, 2007, 2, 080, pp 14 ., 175 ref.

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