From the disease origins, to detection, to eradication, the first Global BVDZero Web Congress was hosted by Boehringer Ingelheim and featured exclusive presentations by global BVDV experts:

·         Dr. Julia Ridpath, former researcher at the USDA’s National Animal Disease Center (NADC) in Ames, Iowa.

·         Dr. George Caldow, veterinary manager, SAC Consulting Veterinary Services, a division of Scotland’s Rural College.

·         Dr. Dan Givens, professor and associate dean of academic affairs, Auburn University College of Veterinary Medicine.

Ridpath discussed the causes, consequences, and control of BVDV. There are three members of the genus pestivirus – BVDV Type 1 (BVDV1), BVDV2 and hobi-like viruses. She explained how all three viruses are highly variable. Ridpath stressed how understanding the pathogens that cause BVD can help prevent it. Ridpath believes that controlling the disease is possible using detection methods, especially in persistently-infected (PI) calves. Vaccination and biosecurity measures are also important.

For practitioners, it’s particularly important to understand how to properly detect the BVD virus. Caldow guided veterinarians through the tools available for the diagnosis of BVDV, including tissue testing and blood sampling. He said BVDV is driven by two things: the presence of PI animals and of BVDV-naïve animals. To control BVDV, Caldow said we must reduce the possibility of direct or indirect contact between these two groups of animals through biosecurity measures and vaccination. However, he said effective diagnostic tests are the best bet for effective control. Since PI cattle can often appear healthy, a sensitive, specific and affordable diagnostic test is essential.

Givens discussed the impact and control of bovine reproductive pathogens. He said there are several pathogens that could harm a cattle’s reproductive system. He covered the main characteristics of common reproductive pathogens as well as prevention methods. BVDV causes more significant infertility and reproductive loss early-on than any other pathogen. Givens explained the important question when it comes to BVDV control: Is this herd exhibiting signs of BVD? If so, producers and veterinarians should begin to assess their herds to help take the proper steps to control BVDV. Givens stressed the importance of effective methods of surveillance, appropriate biosecurity measures and optimal immunization protocols.

The event concluded with a live question and answer among all 10 countries and the three BVDV experts. Veterinarians were able to ask questions they had about the disease including signs, diagnostic testing and situations they have observed in producers’ herds.

While it may not happen tomorrow, sharing research and experiences brings the industry one step closer to eradicating this costly disease.