Bovine virus diarrhoea (BVD) PCR

Bovine virus diarrhoea (BVD) PCR

Species: Bovine

Specimen:  10 mL serum, 50 mL milk, ear notch

Container:  Red top or gel tube, sterile 50 mL pottle

Collection protocol:

  • Serum -venepuncture
  • Milk – collect from a well stirred vat one hour after milking finishes. Alternatively, arrange collection from the milk processing company. Contact your local Awanui Veterinary laboratory for details
  • Ear notch – The “AllFlex TSU” is preferred sampling system.

Special handling/shipping requirements:  Samples are to be transported and stored chilled. Do not freeze samples.

General information about the disease:

Bovine viral diarrhoea virus (“pestivirus”) is one of the most significant viral diseases in cattle.  Clinically, there are three forms of the disease:

  • A persistently infected (PI) form which may/may not have clinical signs
  • An acute transient form characterised by fever, diarrhoea, and short-term immunosuppression.  These animals will mount an immune response and clear the virus in 10-14 days.
  • Mucosal disease (MD) only occurring in PI animals. PI animals are infected by a noncytopathogenic strain of the virus. A subsequent spontaneous mutation of the virus to a cytopathogenic strain within the PI animal results in MD, characterised by seromucoid nasal secretions, severe erosive lesions in the oral and intestinal mucosa, diarrhoea and death.

General information about when this test is indicated:

Screening bulk milk samples from lactating cows is a convenient and swift way of determining the virus status of large numbers.  PCR milk testing can detect virus from one infected animal in a herd of 5000.

Serum testing by PCR is performed on pools of 20 animals as the most cost-effective pool size to work with. If virus is detected BVD antigen ELISA is used to individually test each sera and identify the viraemic animal.  Virus screening of all keeper calves is also recommended.

Comparison with other related tests:

PCR virus testing is used in conjunction with BVD antigen ELISA, and antibody ELISA in various forms to determine the BVD status of herds and sub-groups of animals.

Further information:

See the information sheets, plus our Herd Guardian bulk milk packages and a dedicated submission form for bulk milk on our website.

 BVD testing summary:

 BVD tests to use in calves from conception to 10 months of age

AgePCRAntigen ELISA*Antibody ELISASample
Conception-40 daysxxxN/A
40-120 days gestationYxxFetal fluid
150 days – birthYxxFetal fluid
Birth-35 daysY(Ear notch only)xSerum
35 days -10 monthsYYxSerum/skin
10 months and olderYYYSerum/skin

Note: skin/ear notch samples are only suitable for PCR testing*

Individual tests for BVDV depending on disease or physiological state

Disease or physiological statePCRAntigen ELISAAntibody ELISASample
Transient infection (TI)YYYSerum/skin
Conceptus lossxxYSerum
Pregnant (Trojan)xxxN/A
Persistent infection (PI)YYYSerum/skin
Mucosal diseaseYYYSerum/skin

Note: skin/ear notch samples are only suitable for PCR testing*

Group test options

Physiological statePCRAntigen ELISAAntibody ELISASample
MilkingYxYBulk milk
Non milkingYxYPooled serum

 x = No, Y= Yes