Bruce Hoffman, veterinarian and president of Animal Profiling International, provides insight into the development of a Persistently Infected (PI) animal carrying the BVD virus. A PI can only be created during the first trimester of pregnancy. During this period, the fetus is forming its immune system. If the BVD virus is present, the fetus adopts the virus as a normal part of its system instead of fighting it. The PI calf is then born shedding the BVD virus via mucus, urine and feces. The virus can infect other calves and cows in the area.

It is important for producers to implement a PI testing and surveillance plan if the herd is a high-risk herd. Identifying PIs is an important step to eradicate BVD from your herd.           

While there is no cure for a PI, there are ways to manage a PI in your herd. The animal can be salvaged for beef because the BVD virus does not infect humans. However, since the PI can infect other cattle, it should be separated by a minimum of 10 feet and not share feed or water with other cattle. Under no circumstances should the PI be marketed.

For more information about BVD identification and management, please contact Dr. Bruce Hoffman at:

Click here for more tips on identifying and managing persistently infected calves.

Source: Dairy Calf and Heifer Association