5 simple steps to sending in your BVD samples

Enfer is reminding farmers and Animal Health Ireland to put the correct postage amount on envelopes when sending in BVD (Bovine Viral Diarrhoea Virus) samples.

“Unfortunately, we get lots of farmers who put the wrong amount of stamps on the envelope and their samples are then delayed as we have to go to An Post and pay the surcharge before we can collect them and process them,” Richard Kennedy, Business Development Manager with Enfer said.

The correct postage amount for one to 10 samples is €1.25. He also strongly advised that farmers use the official Enfer BVD envelope when sending in samples. “Regular envelopes are not padded, and the tubes can sometimes pierce the envelope and fall out of the envelope, but if you contact Enfer we will send out the durable padded envelope.”

BVD sample turnaround

He also advised farmers that if they want the quickest possible turnaround for sale on Fridays, they should send the samples on a Monday or Tuesday and they will be processed within two days of being received, so the results will be put up on the ICBF website and the farmer texted with the results.

Step 1

Order your official tissue tags from Mullinahone click here to download the form 

Step 2

Tag the calf with the tissue tag.

Step 3

Place the sample tubes in a plastic bag and seal the bag.

Step 4

Complete the Enfer ear tag sample submission form for the BVD Program- BVD Ear Notch Testing Form scheme

If you are sending Enfer Labs samples for testing under the BVD eradication scheme and don’t have a copy of the sample submission form,include a note with the following details: Name, telephone number, quantity of samples enclosed, your herd IE number e.g. IE1234567 (Your IE number is the first seven numbers of your own home bred animals) and method of payment.

If you are sending samples with several herd IE numbers (i.e. includes bought in animals), please clearly record only your herd IE number and clearly mark Mixed Herd on the enclosed note.

This ensures the results of the samples you sent will be reported to you by ICBF.

Step 5

Choose a payment method:

  • Setup a Pre Paid account online. Click here to pay for tests online or;
  • Phone Enfer Labs (045 983800) to setup a Pre Paid account using a credit or debit card or post a cheque or;
  • Submit payment with samples

Contact Enfer for more details on these payment options. All cheques must be made payable to Enfer Labs.

F.A.Q. about BVD

What is BVD?

Bovine Viral Diarrhoea Virus (BvD) was first discovered in New York in 1946 and today still continues to cause severe economic losses to the dairy and beef industries worldwide.

The main effects of this infectious agent are scouring, infertility, abortions, reduced growth and illness associated with immune-suppression. It is primarily an animal spread infection with the main source of the virus being a persistently infected (PI) animal.

What clinical signs would I expect if I had BVD present on my farm?

The principal loss from BVD relates to pregnancy loss. This results from infection in early pregnancy resulting in either early embryonic death (miscarriage and a cow returning to service) or the birth of a persistently infected animal, which infects other animals in the herd.

Other pregnancy related losses include sporadic abortions, birth deformities, stillbirths and the birth of weak calves.

What types of Infection are there?

BVD virus spreads by two methods (i) direct transmission between animals through physical contact and, (ii) virus invading the foetus in a pregnant cow.

If a cow is infected from 1 to 4 months of pregnancy and the calf survives there is a strong chance that the calf will be born persistently infected (PI) with the virus (a carrier animal).

These PI animals are essentially a virus factory and will be shedding large amounts of virus in all body fluids. PI animals are much more efficient at spreading the virus than cattle that are transiently infected (TI).

PI animals represent about 1% of the cattle population. A lot will be poorly grown and stunted; others will be perfectly normal. Many die before they are born. Luckily, the virus only survives for a short time in the environment no more than 3-4 days.

 How does BVD enter a herd?

The principal source of BVD is a persistently infected animal. This animal was caused by infection of the foetus before the fifth month of pregnancy, which results in the virus becoming ”part of” the foetus and often the birth of a normal animal.

Infected animals may spread the virus in nasal discharge, saliva, faeces, urine, semen and saliva.

How can BVD be controlled?

There is a considerable interest in strategies for BVD monitoring, and indeed several EU countries have already started control & eradication programs. Good diagnostic tests exist to detect carrier PIs, and also to determine the immune status of your herd.

Persistently infected (PI) cattle represent the principle reservoir of infection. Identification and removal of PI cattle are critical to the control of BVD. Identifying all (PI) carriers in a herd by blood testing and culling them to get a clean herd is straightforward.

The big concern is keeping the herd a clean afterwards. Bio-security is the big issue and a well thought out bio-security plan needs to be implemented to minimise the risk of reintroducing the virus.

Control options include Eradication and Biosecurity, Vaccination, Eradication and vaccination. It is important to remove aborted fetuses and placentas as they may serve as a source of virus when licked or eaten by other cattle.

BVD is a very complex disease and it is essential that you contact your veterinarian for more information and the development of a suitable control programme for your farm.