Animal HealthDiseasesRinderpestDiagnosis

Rinderpest Diagnosis

Information about how the disease is diagnosed.


Rinderpest should be considered in all ages of cattle whenever there is a rapidly spreading acute febrile disease accompanied by the clinical signs and lesions associated with rinderpest. The "all ages" stipulation is important because this is one of the major differences between bovine virus diarrhea (mucosal disease), which predominately affects animals between 4 and 24 months of age.

Laboratory Tests

The diagnosis should be confirmed with laboratory tests. The following samples may be collected by your veterinarian. The samples are usually collected on animals with a high fever and oral lesions that have been slaughtered.

  • Blood samples
  • Lacrimal fluid samples (eyes)
  • Aspiration biopsies of superficial lymph nodes
  • Spleen tissue
  • Lymph node tissue
  • Tonsil tissue

Differential Diagnosis

It is important to differentiate rinderpest from other diseases. The differential diagnosis should include ruling out bovine virus diarrhea (mucosal disease), infectious bovine rhinotracheitis, malignant catarrhal fever, foot-and-mouth disease, vesicular stomatitis, salmonellosis, paratuberculosis, and arsenic poisoning.

Animal Health Bureau

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Department of Livestock
Animal Health Bureau
PO Box 202001
Helena, MT 59620-2001
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