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Simpler test for BVDV
(Friday, 30 May 2014 - ABC News)

An alternative testing method for Bovine Viral Diarrhoea Virus (BVDV) was raised at the annual Australian Veterinarian Association (AVA) Annual Conference in Perth.

BVDV is a long standing, often fatal virus, that's been eradicated in some countries but is endemic in beef and dairy herds throughout Australia, with an estimated 70 per cent of farms actively infected.

According to the Department of Agriculture and Food Western AustraliaA, herds infected with BVDV suffer production losses between 25 and 40 per cent, due to reduced reproductive performance, death and scouring.

If BVDV is not eliminated, the Department reports production losses between 5 and 10 per cent commonly occur.

BVDV is believed to be spread almost exclusively by carriers or Persistently Infected (PI) cattle.

Often mistaken for a natural genetic weakness, large scale testing for PI cattle has traditionally been time and cost intensive with individual blood samples undertaken by a veterinarian.

Esperance veterinarian Dr Enoch Bergman believes ear notching testing is a quicker, cheaper and more effective method for diagnosing PI cattle.

After learning about ear notching testing during his veterinarian training in the US, Dr Bergmann says it's much easier as the producers are able to provide the samples themselves.

Producers can "take a snip, just like ear marking" and send the samples to a registered ear notch laboratory for testing Mr Bergman said.

Unlike blood testing, the animals can also be under six months of age.

Dr Bergman believes the new method "allows us to essentially eradicate the diseases on individual production systems".

Swans Veterinary Services (SVS) from Esperance has pioneered the method in Australia, receiving thousands of samples from around the country and claim the test is 99.6 per cent accurate.

Presenting at the AVA conference, Dr Bergmann outlined the best practice for managing BVDV, which includes testing, removing PI animals, providing immunity to at risk females, maintaining biosecurity and monitoring reintroduction.

"We have the right tools, it's my dream to help producers become more profitable by managing this disease and in our intensive grazing situations, we can get this bugger and eradicate BVDV" Dr Bergman said.



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