Bovine Tuberculosis (TB) is an infectious disease in cattle caused by the transmission of Mycobacterium bovis from infected wild animals, including wild boar and red deer. This disease has become problematic for livestock ranchers, with an increased prevalence in Southern Europe.
Vitamin D has been shown to play a role in the prevention and treatment of TB in humans; however, there is a lack of research regarding the effects of vitamin D on TB outcome in mammals.
Therefore, researchers from the University of Surrey recently assessed the role of vitamin D supplementation in disease severity among 40 hunted wildlife mammals infected with TB. A total of 20 wild boar and 20 red dear were included in the study. Depending on the location and spread of lesions, the animals were classified with either localized or generalized TB.
The animals were either fed a diet enriched with vitamin D or a diet without the addition of vitamin D. The researchers measured the vitamin D levels of the animals before and after supplementation, determining that low vitamin D status was associated with generalized TB and higher vitamin D status was linked with localized TB.
The researchers concluded that vitamin D status is negatively associated with TB severity among wild boar and red deer.
The authors state,
“This research points to the fact that supplementing animals’ diet with vitamin D could be a very cost effective approach to reduce [the] prevalence.”
Science Daily recently published an article on this study, click here to read more.