Bovis ISSN 2398-2993

Pseudocowpox virus

Synonym(s): parapoxvirus, PCPV

Contributor(s): Veronica Fowler , Tammy Hassel




  • Family: poxviridae.
  • Sub-family: chordopoxvirinae.
  • Genus: parapoxvirus.
  • Species: pseudocowpox virus (PCPV).

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Clinical Effects



  • Cattle become infected during exposure to another infected cow (direct) or via contaminated milking equipment/personnel/calves sucking/flies (indirect).
  • Infection is normally introduced into a herd through infected cattle and then spreads slowly.

Pathological effects

  • Parapoxviruses are epitheliotropic viruses which cause nonsystemic, vesicular and eruptive skin disease.
  • Infection occurs through damaged skin, followed by viral replication in keratinocytes.
  • Pseudocowpox virus infection results in small, raised papules on the teats and udders of cattle. Vesicles, scabs and modules then develop which form a characteristic ring or horseshoe shape. Lesions may also appear on the muzzle of calves suckling infected cattle.
  • Scabs will detach within a few days and healing is fast.
  • Protective immunity acquired post infection is short lived and animals can become infected again.


Control via animal

  • Lesions are usually self-limiting.
  • Use of teat dips post milking.
  • Quarantine newly bought cattle.
  • Antiseptics and emollient ointment can be applied to affected teats.

Control via environment

  • Implementation of good hygiene during milking.
  • Scabs which have been manually removed should be burned to avoid contaminating the environment.


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Further Reading


Refereed Papers

  • Recent references from PubMed and VetMedResource.
  • Pedro A Alves, Poliana O Figueiredo, Cairo H S de Oliveira, José D Barbosa, Danillo H S Lima, Henrique A Bomjardim, Natália S Silva, Karinny F Campos, Carlos Magno C Oliveira, Edel Figueiredo Barbosa-Stancioli, Jônatas S Abrahão, Erna G Kroon, Giliane de Souza Trindade (2016) Occurrence of Pseudocowpox virus associated to Bovine viral diarrhea virus-1, Brazilian Amazon. Comparative Immunology, Microbiology and Infectious Diseases 49, 70-75 PubMed.
  • Oğuzoğlu T Ç, Koç B T, Kirdeci A & Tan M T (2014) Evidence of zoonotic pseudocowpox virus infection from a cattle in Turkey. VirusDisease 25 (3), 381-384 PubMed.
  • Zhao H, Wilkins K, Damon I K & Li Y (2013) Specific qPCR assays for the detection of orf virus, pseudocowpox virus and bovine papular stomatitis virus. J Virol Methods 194, 229-234 PubMed.
  • Cargnelutti J F, Flores M M, Teixeira F R, Weiblen R & Flores E F (2012) An outbreak of pseudocowpox in fattening calves in southern Brazil. J Vet Diagn Invest 24 (2), 437-41 PubMed.
  • Giesecke W H, Theodorides A & Els H J (1971) Pseudo-cowpox (paravaccinia) in dairy cows. J S Afr Vet Med Assoc 42 (2), 193-4 PubMed.
  • Cheville N F & Shey D J (1967) Pseudocowpox in dairy cattle. J Am Vet Med Assoc 150 (8), 855-61 PubMed.

Other sources of information