"Stamp Out BVD" Funding
DEFRA has announced a new £5.7 million fund for farmers to tackle BVD in England. BVD (Bovine Viral Diarrhoea) costs the UK cattle industry an estimated £60 million per year.
What is BVD?
The name Bovine Viral Diarrhoea is a misnomer as very few affected animals ever show signs of diarrhoea. BVD is a disease that affects both cattle fertility and their ability to fight disease.
Cows infected with BVD during very early pregnancy will experience delayed conception and embryonic death. Cows infected between roughly days 30-120 of pregnancy will transfer the BVD infection to the foetus and the calf will be carried to term but will be born persistently infected (PI). Cows infected later in pregnancy usually carry the calf to term even though it can be born with deformities.
Infection of any animal, pregnant or not, causes a 2 – 3 week drop in immunity which leads to concurrent infection before the animals become immune.
Persistently Infected animals
Calves born to cows infected between ~30-120 days pregnancy will be persistently infected with BVD for their lifetime. These animals will have a supressed immune system and will shed the virus in large numbers. They have small growth rates and frequently become affected by pneumonia and other disease. PIs will infect neighbouring cattle by direct contact, secretions and fomites (e.g. shared needles).
“Stamp Out BVD”
BVD is widely considered the most economically significant disease in the European cattle industry due to its impact on cattle health, welfare and fertility. DEFRA has recently announced significant funding for tackling BVD in England.
The new scheme will allow farmers to apply for funding for a veterinary consultation to tackle BVD on farm. It will also fund laboratory testing to determine the BVD status of your herd. On a first come, first serve basis, farmers can also apply for funding to locate PIs within the herd. This is an incredible opportunity that will be available to us for the next 2 years and we urge all cattle keepers to take this up.
Cattle can be easily tested on your next whole herd TB test. Get in touch with us to find out more.