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Developing a BVD control plan to protect your herd

BI PreventionWorks 10/22/2012 @ 3:06pm

Knowing the status of your herd and controlling exposure is key to eliminating BVD on your operation

Both beef and dairy producers have been working towards eliminating bovine viral diarrhea (BVD) for many years, with different levels of success from operation to operationWhile vaccinations are effective, even the operations that have been successful in eradicating BVD from their herd must maintain a BVD control plan to continue to protect their operation and operations around the country.

“We certainly see niches and areas (in the United States) where we have been totally successful in eradicating BVD,” says DrDan Givens, DVM, PhDwith Auburn University“We also see situations where if we don’t maintain vigilance and preventative measures, we see BVD recurring.”

Producers must be familiar with the warning signs of BVD in order to move toward and maintain eradicationIf calves show signs of respiratory difficulties, bloody diarrhea and neurological diseases, or cows appear infertile or suffer from abortions, it is important to work with your veterinarian to assess your herd status and begin a BVD control plan 

DrGivens outlined his top three management tools producers should implement to help prevent BVD on their operations:

Know your statusProducers should perform BVD tests if they notice any common disease indicators and monitor the results to create a baseline for their herd.
Be mindful of biosecurity and biocontainmentAvoid bringing new animals onto your operation unless they have already been testedAdditionally, producers should refrain from mixing animals from different groups together for at least 45 days.
VaccinateImmunize your herd against infectionProperly vaccinated cows can resist BVD challenge and protect the fetus, which reduces the chance of producing a persistently infected (PI) calf that will continue to spread BVD.
DrGivens says if you suspect individual calves are infected with BVD, the calves should be ear notched and tissue samples sent to a laboratory for an ELISA or an immunohistochemistry testIf tests show individual calves are infected, the entire calf crop should be tested to measure the extent to which BVD has spread.

“The testing ranges anywhere from $3.00 to $5.00 per animal, and we can get a real sense of the entire herd and whether or not we have any persistently infected animals in the herd, and that’s a critical part of having a total BVD control program,” says DrGivens.

Even if an operation is seemingly BVD free, there are many ways a herd can be exposed.

“Animals can be exposed to BVD through being exposed to animals that are acutely infected or to animals that are persistently infected with BVD,” says DrGivens.

DrGivens also reminds producers that a persistently infected cow will always give birth to a persistently infected calf

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