Management Is Critical to BVDv Eradication

(ST. JOSEPH, MO, September 2, 2010) --What is the real cost of a calf persistently infected (PI) with bovine viral diarrhea virus (BVDv)? That is the question the beef industry has asked itself the past 10 years. Research has shown when as few as one PI calf is left in a herd each year for 10 years, it can cost producers $15 to 20 per cow per year.1 In a 100-head herd, that’s $2,000 per year, with $20,000 over 10 years.

According to Dr. Joe Campbell, professional service veterinarian with Boehringer Ingelheim Vetmedica, Inc., even with all of the research, discussions and press around eradicating BVDv, percentage-wise there are almost as many PI calves today as there were 10 years ago.

And, he adds, even though more and more producers are using appropriate methods for managing BVDv in their herds, the industry still has a long way to go to eradicate this costly disease.

Campbell stresses the importance of testing all calves for BVDv and culling any that are positive. Especially since many calves born PI don’t show signs of disease. “A dam can test negative, but still have a PI calf,” Campbell cautions. “Testing the calves is critical. If the calf is positive, then the dam should be tested.”

Additional biosecurity protocols to prevent a PI animal from being introduced to the herd include:

• Testing all purchased animals

• Quarantining any purchased females that are pregnant, and testing their calves after they are born

• Testing all bulls

The final management practice that Campbell recommends is to vaccinate the herd with a good modified-live viral (MLV) vaccine labeled for prevention of PI calves.

“Boehringer Ingelheim even offers a guarantee on its vaccine, Express® FP, if used properly,” Campbell says. “If you vaccinate your cowherd 30 days prior to breeding according to label directions, and a BVDv PI calf is found and the dam is not persistently infected with BVDv, BIVI will pay for the diagnostics to retest the calf and reimburse the producer for fair market value of their calf if that calf tests positive for BVD PI.”

Campbell recommends that producers work with their local veterinarians to develop a program that prevents BVDv from entering their herds.

Boehringer Ingelheim Vetmedica, Inc. (St. Joseph, Mo.) is a subsidiary of Boehringer Ingelheim Corporation based in Ridgefield, Conn., and a member of the Boehringer Ingelheim group of companies.

The Boehringer Ingelheim group is one of the world’s 20 leading pharmaceutical companies. Headquartered in Ingelheim, Germany, it operates globally with 142 affiliates in 50 countries and approximately 41,500 employees. Since it was founded in 1885, the family-owned company has been committed to researching, developing, manufacturing and marketing novel products of high therapeutic value for human and veterinary medicine.

In 2009, Boehringer Ingelheim posted net sales of U.S. $17.7 billion (12.7 billion euro) while spending 21 percent of net sales in its largest business segment, Prescription Medicines, on research and development.

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