BVD – the scourge disease of all NZ cattle diseases

BVD is a viral disease that causes profound suffering for both individual cattle and cattle at a herd level.

BVD is commonly found in New Zealand dairy and beef herds.

BVD must be assumed to be present and causing stock losses unless proven otherwise.

Many NZ cattle farmers do not recognise BVD disease symptoms, so they do not deal with them.

Therefore the virus continues to have a widespread impact on NZ herds, and, despite it being readily controlled, BVD remains as a very present and significant disease.

So what does BVD cause?

The virus commonly causes (among other things) poor thrift, scouring, abortion, and a possibly crippling death..

It also has a unique ability to impact massively on cattle health through a special adaptation – it enters the unborn calf from its mother`s placenta, and the virus then gets recognised as a part of the calf DNA.  This permanently-infected calf is known as a PI (Persistently Infected animal).

Once the calf is born, it releases huge volumes of the virus – this causes mayhem among other young animals. Consequently, every time that Vetlife investigates calf scours, we always consider BVD.

BVD suppresses the immune system, and it can allow such an outbreak disease as rotavirus to start and continue. Vetlife constantly talks and writes about BVD in an attempt to raise awareness among our clients.

And interestingly, we believe that Vetlife clients are among the most informed in the Country, and they have made huge progress – but there is just more progress still to be made!

So if you are yet to get BVD under control in your herd, talk to us – it is quite achievable and very rewarding.

Best regards, Adrian Campbell (Vetlife Practice Principal and veterinarian)