While vaccinations are effective, even operations that have been successful in eradicating bovine viral diarrhea (BVD) from their herd must maintain a control plan to continue to protect their operation and operations around the country.
Dan Givens, veterinarian with Auburn University, outlines his top three management tools for preventing BVD:
1. Know your status. Producers should perform BVD tests if they notice any common disease indicators and monitor the results to create a baseline for their herd.
2. Be mindful of biosecurity and biocontainment. Avoid bringing new animals onto your operation unless they have already been tested. Additionally, producers should refrain from co-mingling animals from different groups for at least 45 days.
3. Vaccinate. Immunize your herd against infection. Properly 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.
If you suspect individual calves are infected with BVD, obtain ear notch and tissue samples and send them to a laboratory for an ELISA or an immunohistochemistry test. If tests show individual calves are infected, test the entire calf crop to measure the extent to which BVD has spread.
"The testing ranges anywhere from $3 to $5 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," he says.