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Angus Productions Inc.
Copyright © 2009
Angus Productions Inc.

Simple, Targeted BVDV Control

PHOENIX, Ariz. (Jan. 27, 2009) — “BVDV (bovine viral diarrhea virus) is here,” Dan Givens, Auburn University, told cattle producers at the applied science session of the BVDV Symposium, Tuesday, Jan. 27, 2009, in Phoenix, Ariz. “If you’ve never tested your herd, there is a real probability that it is already there.”


A key challenge for producers is that cattle persistently infected (PI) with BVDV cannot always be visually recognized.


“Researchers have communicated that looking at your herd for PI-BVD doesn’t matter, but it does,” Givens said. “Sometimes the visual effects of the infection can help identify a sick animal.”


Givens told producers of three steps to targeting BVD control in your herd.


1. Surveillance to detect.
“The first question you should ask yourself is ‘Is BVD circulating in my herd?’” Givens said. He referred to the proceedings accompanying the symposium to show a series of options, basically different testing methods, to answer that question. Options provided ranged from the lowest-cost, least-reliable testing methods to the highest-cost, most reliable means of determining whether BVDV is present in a herd.


For some producers, it may not be economically feasible to test every year, especially after tests indicate that the virus has been eliminated from the herd. But, Givens advised, never stop asking the initial question.


2. Biocontainment to affect. Biosecurity to protect.
If a producer finds BVDV is circulating in the herd, he or she has two new objectives: 1) minimize the negative impact of infection and 2) eliminate the virus circulating through the herd.


Producers can do so by testing young calves, pregnant females and bulls; removing all positive animals from the herd; and following up with any pregnant females still in the herd after the first calves are born.


If the producer can say his or her herd is negative of PI-BVD cattle after testing, Givens said the most important thing a producer can do is maintain a testing or vaccination program to ensure his or her herd against a breakout.


Biosecurity tips to help in that effort, Givens shared, include:

“Wildlife certainly can be a threat. As an excuse not to follow vaccination procedures, producers will try to affect the way wildlife lay tracks on a farm and call that BVD control,” Givens said. “Don’t let wildlife stop you from testing.”


Vaccination to keep in check.
Selection of vaccination protocols for BVD should be based on risk of disease introduction, liability of protection; cost of vaccine; cost of vaccine administration; safety of the vaccine protocol, management procedures, and effectively communicating the value of prior immunization.


Givens urged producers to follow their own moral code when it comes to informing neighboring farms, cattle buyers, sale barns or feedlots about a herd outbreak. “It should be up to the community to help find the source of a BVD outbreak and get it resolved.”


For more information on BVD and the research conducted on the topic, or for risk management software and examples, visit www.bvdinfo.org.

Editor’s Note: This article was written under contract or by staff of Angus Productions Inc. (API), which claims copyright to this article. It may not be published or distributed without the express permission of Angus Productions Inc. To request reprint permission and guidelines, contact Shauna Rose Hermel, editor, at (816) 383-5270.