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Development and promotion of the BVD Management Toolkit to the veterinary profession

In 2011 The Steering Committee developed the BVD Management Toolkit to assist veterinarians set up control programmes with their clients. The Steering Committee, in partnership with MSD Animal Health ran a series of road-shows in June and July 2011. These workshops were held at 16 venues - 11 dairy and five beef. The material has also been presented to 4th and 5th year veterinary students and their tutors at Massey University. In total, 360 veterinarians attended these roadshows which represents more than one third of all practising large animal veterinarians. This response shows there is a lot of interest in BVD and its control within the profession and that veterinarians are looking for clear guidelines to help them control this important disease on-farm. The management toolkit cuts through the complexity that is around BVD and provides a clear four step process to follow:

  1. Define BVD status of herd.
  2. Assess the biosecurity risks for the farm.
  3. Develop a management plan to mitigate these risks.
  4. Monitor for breakdowns.

In 2014, another joint BVD Steering Committee and MSD Animal Health roadshow occurred to provide veterinarians with an update on the disease and its control and also to help veterinarians engage with farmers on this topic. Again this roadshow was well attended and appreciated.

Engagement with Industry Stakeholders to determine the level of interest for a national BVD control programme

A meeting was held in Wellington in late 2014 to which all relevant agricultural stakeholders were invited. This included DairyNZ, Beef and Lamb NZ, Federated Farmers, Meat Industry Association, Dairy Companies Association of New Zealand (DCANZ) and OSPRI.  The level of interest and feasability of different control options were explored at this meeting.

Subsequent to this meeting, DairyNZ have included BVD and its control as one of the diseases/pests to be evaluated as part of its wideranging biosecurity review and strategy development process. The outcome of this work will be the setting of priorities for resources to control specific diseases/pests considered important by dairy farmers and the industry.

Beef and Lamb NZ board and management are supportive of a voluntary control program based on farmer education and the establishment of a national BVD database (using the existing NAIT (National Animal Identification & Tracing) database). 

Discussions with DairyNZ and Beef and Lamb NZ are ongoing.

Recommendations for Livestock Carriers asked to transport known persistently infected BVD carriers

Livestock transporters recently enquired about how they could limit the transmission of BVD virus to susceptible cattle during and following the transportation of known BVD virus persistently infected carrier animals.  Click on the article below:

Recommendations for the cleaning of transport trucks after transporting BVD virus carrying livestock (Persistently Infected or PI animals).

Precautionary calf age limit for BVD Antigen ELISA on ear punch samples

Calf testing update.

BVD Management Toolkit updated

Since the toolkit was printed, there has been a change in young calf testing recommendations (see article ‘Precautionary calf age limit for BVD Antigen ELISA on ear punch samples.’). These changes have been incorporated into the toolkit on this website.

The updated toolkit is now available on this website for downloading.

Increasing farmer awareness and knowledge of BVD

Now that the veterinary profession have access to good sound methodologies for controlling BVD via the toolkit, the BVD Steering Committee believe it is time to increase farmer awareness and knowledge about this disease.  The committee, with help from its partner, MSD Animal Health, has developed  material that veterinarians can use to help explain this disease to farmers This includes pamphlets for dairy and beef farmers and power point files to be used in one on one discussions or in group meetings. These initiatives are aimed at getting farmers to engage with their vets and be given quality information in order to make an informed decision about BVD control on their farm. The information covers subjects like:

  • How widespread is it?
  • What does it do to animals?
  • What is it costing farmers with infected herds?
  • How does the disease behave/spread?
  • How do you control it? 

BVD Control forum

After the success of the BVD roadshows, and in a rapidly developing field like BVD control, the BVD steering committee has set up a way to share BVD related knowledge with veterinarians. Google offers a free service allowing people with similar interests to set up an email forum for sharing information. Andrew Weir and Fraser Hill from the BVD steering committee have established a new group through google named:

Since this forum was initiated, there have been many discussions about different aspects of this disease.  Fraser and Andrew manage the group with input from the steering committee members. The group is limited to veterinarians and associated industry personnel with an interest in BVD. If you would like to participate in the discussions, send an email to or to find out how to sign up.