What is BVD?
Bovine Viral Diarrhoea (BVD) is a highly contagious and costly disease of cattle. Signs aren’t always obvious and the financial impact on your herd is often hidden:
- Reduced reproduction – early embryonic death, abortions, high rate of returns to service and extended days open can all result from BVD infection
- Reduced production – lower milk yields, poor growth rates and high cull rate
- Secondary disease – pneumonia and calf scours in young stock and lameness and increased mastitis incidence in adults due to the BVD virus suppressing the immune system
How can I tell if I’ve got PI animals in my herd?
Identify them using antibody tests from blood or tissue samples. Tissue samples can be easy to take at the same time as routine husbandry tasks at the time of birth. For example, by using a Tissue Sampling Tag (TST) which takes a small sample of the ear tissue as the tag is applied. The sample can be sent to the lab for analysis to help identify BVD infected animals.
What are the benefits of a BVD free future for your business?
- Your herd could be a source of BVD free stock for other herds – commanding a premium price.
- Your herd’s productivity will increase
How is BVD spread?
- From infected dams to their unborn calf
- Through semen of infected bulls (natural service)
- Through nose to nose contact with infected carriers
Persistently Infected Animal (PI)
If an animal is persistently infected they will shed high quantities of BVD virus into their environment for life. They are the most significant source of infection to other cattle yet often account for only 1 or 2 in 100 animals. Contact with these animals leads to the infection of other animals and the spread of disease in your herd. Identifying and culling these PI animals is critical to eradicating and controlling BVD.
Adopt a structured and methodical approach to eradicating BVD from your herd.
Using TST tags is only one part of a structured and methodical approach to the testing and eradication process on your farm. Work with your vet to:
- Investigate – establish your herd’s BVD status
- Control – cull infected animals and buy in only BVD free animals
- Monitor – check your herd’s BVD status annually