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BVD Virus Testing Now Available for Alpacas, Llamas and Cows

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Last Updated: January 13, 2015

Animal Genetics now offers testing for Bovine Viral Diarrhea (BVD) virus in cows, llamas and alpacas. BVD virus is a contagious pestivirus that can cause diarrhea, as the name suggests, but also discharge from the nose and eyes, oral ulcers, reproductive problems such as infertility, fetal death, and birth defects, lowered immune response and sometimes death.  Whether the effects of the virus are mild or severe depends on the strain of BVD virus and the condition of the animal.

The virus is easily passed between animals and between herds by exposure to secretions, air and manure. Pregnant cows and alpacas that are infected with BVDV can also pass the virus to the fetuses. If infection occurs at certain stages of pregnancy, the resulting calves or crias can develop persistent infection (PI) and will continually infect other members of the herd.

Since an infected animal may not show any symptoms, it is important to test for the virus before bringing new animals into your herd or re-introducing an animal that has come into contact with animals from other, possibly infected herds. Cows, llamas or alpacas that appear ill for no reason should also be tested for BVD virus. There is no cure for the virus at this time, but it can be contained with careful herd management and testing. Because persistently infected calves and crias remain contagious throughout their lifetime, it is especially important to identify and remove them from the herd in order to control the virus.

Animal Genetics tests for the presence of Type I and Type II BVD virus with an rtPCR test using a small blood sample. The blood sample can be collected either on a card or in a vial with an EDTA buffer solution. The turnaround time from receipt of the sample to results is 5 days. For more information on the BVD virus test and pricing, please contact Animal Genetics toll free at (800) 514-9672.

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