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Working Ranch - November/December 2017

“If you have a cow positive for BVD, the chance of her being the only one is not great,” Dr. Hansen says. “I recommend people test to fi nd others that might be infected to make sure it’s not going to continue through the herd and cause problems.” Cows and calves can be tested two ways; by blood test or an ear notch. If a calf/cow has a high level of BVD then a re-test should be administered two weeks later to determine if it is a transient infection or if it is a PI. Dr. Hansen says a rancher should look for clinical signs, then begin testing to pinpoint the problem animals. It is recommended that any new cows or bulls being brought into the herd should be tested. Testing a herd bull is also important to be sure they are not spreading BVD, too. Though the disease does not directly impact bull fertility the males can pass it on during breeding season. Dr. Hansen says if it has been a problem in the herd, then build a budget for the test each year. It can be done at the same time a rancher tests for “You might not see BVD itself, but it may open the door for another virus to take hold.” semen vitality, then continue to test the herd every few years. Avoiding the disease is only possible if a rancher has a closed herd, which is diffi cult to accomplish. Dr. Hansen says quarantining and testing new animals is the key. “You’ll always have the neighbor’s bull over the fence or a stray pair, but try not to just pick up new cows at the sale barn, come home and turn them out,” recommends Dr. Hansen. GOOD NEWS The good news is that there are vaccines available to manage BVD. Talk to your veterinarian to fi nd out what’s best for your herd or area. Annual vaccines are important because even an older cow can get a subclinical infection and possibly transmit BVD. In Dr. Hansen’s area bacterial pneumonia has become a big issue in the fall, so she recommends her rancher clients give a BVD vaccine plus pasteurella. As with any virus, Hansen says even if BVD is not causing overt clinical signs the disease is going to cause stress and leave the animal open to other infections. “For example, if you’re having trouble with cows getting pneumonia in the fall it could be your herd is fi ghting a virus, putting stress on its immune system,” Dr. Hansen explains. “You might not see BVD itself, but it may open the door for another virus to take hold.” BVD is a constant for American cattle ranchers. “It’s always been around,” she reminds. “ It’s a constant thing you need to keep in the back of your mind.” (Editor: Like we’ve never said this before… talk to your veterinarian) Dr. Summer Hansen. (Editor: Thanks, Doc! Solid advice.) 54 I WORKING RANCH I NOVEMBER / DECEMBER 2017


Working Ranch - November/December 2017
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