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K-State professors develop vaccine to prevent abscess in liver of cattle

MANHATTAN, KAN. - It's a pretty safe bet you won't hear this request from your kids: "More liver, please."

If by chance you do, they'll be no shortage of the iron-rich delicacy most kids love to hate, thanks to a vaccine developed by a Kansas State University professor.

T.G. Nagaraja, a professor of diagnostic medicine and pathobiology in K-State's College of Veterinary Medicine, and M.M Chengappa, university distinguished professor of microbiology and department head of diagnostic medicine and pathobiology, have developed a vaccine that prevents liver abscesses in cattle. The vaccine was recently given approval by the United States Department of Agriculture.

The KSU Research Foundation and Schering-Plough, a global science-based health care company, have a licensing agreement to market the vaccine. Schering Plough Animal Health corporation further developed the product and worked with USDA to get license approval for the vaccine.

According to Nagaraja, abscesses are a common malady found mostly in grain-fed cattle, the result of an aggressive feeding program. He said about 20 to 40 percent of the grain-fed cattle in feedlots are afflicted with abscesses, which can not be detected until the animals are slaughtered. While the organ is condemned and not used for sale, in most instances the remainder of the carcass is approved for sale.

"If you look at the animal you can't tell if they're abscessed or not," Nagaraja said. "They look normal, so they don't show any clinical signs. The only time we see the problem is when animals are slaughtered."

The abscesses are caused by a bacteria that is present in the rumen, the first of four compartments that comprise a cow's stomach. That compartment contains numerous microorganisms which are beneficial in assisting the animal digest food .

According to Nagaraja, who began researching the vaccine 14 years ago, the liver is a very well defended organ. So much so that
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Contact: T.G. Nagaraja
tnagaraj@vet.k-state.edu
785-532-1214
Kansas State University
14-Jan-2005


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