National Beef Association
For everyone with an interest in the British beef industry

BVD (Bovine Viral Diarrhoea)

7th February 2014

Category: Health Fact Sheets

BVD (Bovine Viral Diarrhoea) is a viral disease that can cause a variety of clinical signs including deformed calves, abortions and infertility in adult cattle. BVD is immunosuppressive, infected animals (especially young stock) become more susceptible to other diseases including pneumonia, scours, mastitis and bTB etc.
The main sources of BVD virus are Persistently Infected (PI) cattle. These cattle are born persistently infected and stay that way for life, they are ‘virus factories’. Many look perfectly normal at birth, however, many die before they reach maturity of either pneumonia or mucosal disease (scours), and don’t respond to treatment with antibiotics. A few reach maturity, look perfectly normal and can breed, PI dams always give birth to PI calves.
Buying in BVD PI cattle can seriously damage your business. To avoid buying these cattle purchase from BVD accredited free herds or buy cattle that have been tested virus free.
Calves can be tested for virus as soon as they are born, using tag and test tags when you initially identify your calves. These cost approximately £3 more than a normal pair of identification tags, this includes laboratory tests, postage, packaging and results sent to you and your vet. If you find a PI calf it needs to be culled as soon as possible, however good it looks.
Let’s get England and Wales BVD free, it makes sense.
Speak to your vet and tag supplier for more information.

Bill Mellor
Chairman BVD Stakeholder Group