A simple ear-notch test can help you find persistently infected BVD animals in your herd. Ask your veterinarian about it.

A calf on a Florida dairy became sick on a Monday and died the following Thursday. A post-mortem exam revealed that the calf had Bovine Viral Diarrhea (BVD). Suspecting there might be more BVD-infected animals in the herd, veterinarian Kathy Swift convinced the farm to ear-notch several poor-doing calves in order to obtain skin samples.

One of the poor-doers was indeed positive for BVD. Then, the farm tested all 200 of the calves in the barn, finding eight more positives. It came as a surprise, because the eight calves all appeared healthy. Eventually, the positive animals were culled.

Swift relates this story to her clients so they, too, will see the need to check for BVD, using the BVD skin test. 

If BVD shows up in the skin cells of an animal, there is a high likelihood — greater than 95 percent — that the animal is persistently infected and capable of spreading the disease to others, says Dan Grooms, veterinarian at Michigan State University.