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Management Critical to BVDv Eradication

September 6, 2010

Source: Boehringer Ingelheim Vetmedica, Inc.

What is the real cost of a calf persistently infected (PI) with bovine viral diarrhea virus (BVDv)? That is the question the beef industry has asked itself the past 10 years. Research has shown when as few as one PI calf is left in a herd each year for 10 years, it can cost producers $15 to $20 per cow per year. In a 100-head herd, that’s $2,000 per year, with $20,000 over 10 years.

According to Joe Campbell, professional service veterinarian with Boehringer Ingelheim Vetmedica, Inc., even with all of the research, discussions and press around eradicating BVDv, percentage-wise there are almost as many PI calves today as there were 10 years ago.

And, he adds, even though more and more producers are using appropriate methods for managing BVDv in their herds, the industry still has a long way to go to eradicate this costly disease.

Campbell stresses the importance of testing all calves for BVDv and culling any that are positive. Especially since many calves born PI don’t show signs of disease. “A dam can test negative, but still have a PI calf,” Campbell cautions. “Testing the calves is critical. If the calf is positive, then the dam should be tested.”

Additional biosecurity protocols to prevent a PI animal from being introduced to the herd include:

  • Testing all purchased animals.
  • Quarantining any purchased females that are pregnant, and testing their calves after they are born.
  • Testing all bulls.

The final management practice that Campbell recommends is to vaccinate the herd with a good modified-live viral (MLV) vaccine labeled for prevention of PI calves.

He also suggests producers work with their veterinarian to develop a program that prevents BVDv from entering their herds.


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