Not all cattle need to be tested for BVD

To reduce the level of individual testing for Bovine Viral Diarrhoea (BVD), Scottish cattle owners will be able to assume that some of their livestock are free of the disease. 

Under new rules from the Scottish government, if a calf tests negative for BVD then it can be assumed that the calf’s mother is also free of the disease, and can be transported without having to undergo a test.

Similarly, if a cow tests positive for the virus, and identified as being persistently infected (PI) then it is assumed that her calves are also similarly infected and marked as such on the database and movement restricted to direct to slaughter.

Phase four of the BVD eradication programme started on 1 June and introduced movement restrictions for those cattle with a “not negative” status, or for holdings that have no valid annual herd status recorded.

In such herds, cattle are required to be individually tested before being moved - unless that move is directly to slaughter.

“As we negotiate this latest phase on Scotland’s plan to eradicate the scourge of BVD from our cattle, these ‘assumed’ flexibilities can assist movements and help with the number of individual animals requiring testing,” said Scotland’s animal health and welfare policy manager Penny Johnston.

“Assumed statuses are based on knowledge of the veterinary epidemiology of BVD. A PI cow will only ever have a PI calf, so it can safely be assumed that any calves born to a PI will also be PI animals.

“The BVD database at will show the individual test results for any animals that a cattle keeper has tested and will also apply assumed statuses where applicable.

“Our suggestion is check the BVD database for any animals that you are unsure about and you will be able to see if you need to test or not before you think about moving an animal to a market for sale.”

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