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BVD (bovine viral diarrhoea) is a major disease in New Zealand cattle. It is caused by the BVD virus and infection is extremely common, having affected 60% of our herds, with virus active in approximately 15% of herds at any one time.

The disease is complex, causing a variety of production limiting disease syndromes with a variety of economic outcomes. The total cost to the NZ dairy industry was estimated around $150m (average $220 per cow in infected herds) with the cost to individual beef herds around $3000-9000.

Most commonly BVD is associated with reproductive failure. However, within a herd the major effects go undetected. Immune-suppression leads to increased level of disease and lost milk production are often the things that have the biggest economic affects. In young stock we often see poor growth rates, which go on to have lifelong implications.

Virus spread

BVD is spread in a wide range of body fluids, including respiratory and uterine secretions, urine, milk, semen, faeces and saliva. Aerosol transmission for sneezing can happen up to 10m, allowing infection spread “across the fence” between properties.

Most BVD infections are spread between groups of “in contact” animals, but it can also be spread from cow to calf before birth. If a dam is infected in the first four months of pregnancy her calf will become permanently infected. This calf will shed virus throughout its lifetime to many other cattle, and is deemed a carrier or Persistently Infected (PI) animal.

In a normal previously uninfected animal the virus spreads rapidly around the body and is shed for about 2 weeks (a transient infection, TI).


Well integrated programs are required to bring BVD under control, but control is possible. Identification and removal of PI animals and preventing the development of any more are the keys to controlling BVD. Regular monitoring, strategic testing, vaccination and farm biosecurity can all form bit of a successful management program. Talk to us to help determine what the best approach for your farm is.

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About Us

Local farmers, associated rural communities and Te Puke town people have supported Te Puke Vet Centre for over 50 years. During those years scores of receptionists, nurses and vets have lived and enjoyed the benefits of this great town and area. It is very important for Te Puke Vets that we are strongly integrated with the local community and as part of that we are proud to support many local schools, sports clubs, service organisations and community events.