Check out these tips from Michelle Arnold, University of Kentucky extension veterinarian, to help make sure your Bovine Viral Disease Virus testing protocol will help you control this serious disease. These recommendations are based on the BVD ELISA test that detects BVD antigen in serum (if older than three months) or ear notches (at any age).
1. Test calves early — before placing calves into a group, if possible, and definitely before they reach breeding age.
2. Test all calves. If a calf is positive, euthanize the calf and test the dam. Cull positive dams.
3. Test any open cow if her calf died or it was sold untested. Cull positive animals.
4. Test all bulls (purchased or raised).
5. For pregnant cows, test the calf when it is born. If a calf is positive, euthanize the calf, then test the cow.
6. For purchased pregnant cows, quarantine and test the cow. Any positive cows should be culled. If a cow tests negative, she can join the herd. Keep in mind her calf could still be a PI, so test the calf when it is born. If it’s positive, euthanize the calf.
7. Any positive test in valuable animals can be confirmed by segregating the animal and retesting blood drawn at least three weeks after the first sample. True PI animals will still be positive after three weeks.
“Remember, there is a moral and ethical obligation to humanely euthanize and properly dispose of PI animals,” concludes Arnold.