Integrated BVD control plans for dairy operations (Proceedings)

Nov 01, 2010

More than 60 years ago an enteric disease of cattle was described in North America that was characterized by outbreaks of diarrhea and erosive lesions of the digestive tract. The disease was called bovine viral diarrhea virus or BVD. The virus causing BVD was named bovine viral diarrhea virus (BVDV). Diseases in cattle resulting from infection with BVDV cause economic losses throughout the world. These economic losses are realized through decreased performance, loss of milk production, reproductive wastage, and increased risk of morbidity and mortality. Because of increasing realization of the serious impact that BVDV can have, efforts to control this virus have been steadily increasing. As we learn more about BVDV, there is also an increasing realization that successfully controlling BVDV requires a management program that involves multiple components and is customized to fit the goals and capabilities of each producer. By developing a complete program, the risk of BVDV associated losses can be significantly reduced.

Components of a BVDV Control Program

Since the initial discovery of BVDV, intense research has led to a firm understanding of the virus and associated disease. Despite many unanswered questions, our current knowledge is such that successful BVDV control programs have been developed. It is clear that BVDV control needs to be multidimensional and cannot rely on one thing, such as vaccination. Therefore BVDV control needs to be a comprehensive programmed approach. This approach starts with first understanding the virus, its associated clinical presentations and how it might affect an operations productivity or the ability to market animals. With this understanding, producers are better able to analyze risk and therefore make more informed decisions. Second, it involves setting goals related to BVDV control. Thirdly, it involves using the tools currently available for BVDV control to meet those goals.

Considerations for Implementation of BVDV Control Programs

No two dairy operations are the same when it comes to BVDV control plans. Perceived level of risk/infection, biosecurity, economic consideration, and goals of the producer are all factors to consider when setting up a BVDV control program. Some producers will pursue an aggressive program which screens all animals currently on the ground for PI's in a short period of time. Others will choose to commit to a less aggressive program that will take much longer to ascertain the BVDV status of the herd. Still others will choose to do minimal detection and will attempt BVDV control with biosecurity and/or vaccination measures only.