The purpose of this study was to develop and evaluate an aerosol infection method with Histophilus somni that closely resembles the natural way of infection of calves. Another aim was to compare the virulence of two H. somni strains by collecting clinical and postmortem data of experimentally infected and control animals. Seventeen conventionally reared 3-month-old calves were divided into three groups. Two groups of six animals each were exposed to suspensions containing H. somni on three consecutive days using a vaporiser mask. The third group of five animals was used as control. The data of individual clinical examination were recorded daily. All animals were exterminated, and gross pathology of all lungs was evaluated on the 15th day after the first infection. Both H. somni strains caused an increase of rectal temperature, respiratory signs, decrease of weight gain, and severe catarrhal bronchopneumonia in both infected groups. Although some chronic lesions were detected in the lungs of the control animals as well, the histopathological findings in the infected and control groups were different. H. somni was recultured from all lungs in the challenged groups but it could not be reisolated or detected by PCR examination in the control group. This is the first paper on aerosol challenge of calves with H. somni using repeated infection and verified by detailed pathological, bacteriological and histopathological examination. The infection method proved to be successful. There was no difference in the virulence of the two H. somni strains used in the trial.
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