Often, the first time a cow/calf producer will hear he or she has a BVD problem is when a feed yard manager or the cattle buyer calls explaining or complaining about the poor health that was experienced when the calves were on feed. The next phone call a cow/calf producer should make is to their herd veterinarian.

A veterinarian can help the producer establish a health protocol and identify the level of exposure to the rest of the herd. A typical program to eliminate BVD from the herd should include testing every calf at or before 60 days, with the critical time being prior to bull turnout so no new pregnancies are exposed to the virus. Any animals that test positive should be humanely euthanized or isolated at the ranch. If a PI calf is identified, the producer should also test its dam to see if she is positive for BVD.

To help prevent future PI calves, Dr. Van Anne recommends vaccinating naïve heifers pre-breeding with two doses of a modified-live virus vaccine for BVD, like Express® FP 5-VL5. Cows should then receive an annual booster vaccination with a modified-live virus vaccine at prebreeding. In combination with the proper nutrition and deworming program, this will help the cow herd be more protected from disease challenges, like BVD.

“If heifers are vaccinated prebreeding with two doses of Express® FP and cows get an annual booster vaccination prebreeding, then a killed vaccine like Triangle® would then be appropriate and efficacious at preg-check,” Dr. Van Anne said.

He also recommends vaccinating all calves with a modified-live virus (MLV) vaccine like Pyramid® 5 + Presponse® SQ twice while they’re still nursing the cow to aid in the protection against BVD/PI animals.

“I believe cow/calf producers can best offset a BVD outbreak in a herd by being proactive to develop an animal, and a herd, that in the long term is so immunized and immunologically competent that we just don’t have to worry as much about exposure,” Dr. Van Anne concludes.

Dr. Van Anne recommends producers work with their local veterinarian to develop a complete health program to help prevent BVD losses due to persistently infected calves. For more information about PYRAMID 5 + PRESPONSE SQ and EXPRESS FP vaccines, contact your herd veterinarian or Boehringer Ingelheim Vetmedica, Inc. representative, or visit www.bi-vetmedica.com.