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Bovine Pestivirus

Pestivirus is one of the most common (and complicated) viruses found in Australian beef cattle herds – in fact it’s estimated around 70% of cattle herds across the country are actively infected with the virus, and the Crookwell district is no different.

Pestivirus causes a range of serious disease syndromes in cows and calves, including reproductive failure, abnormal calves, illthrift, diarrhoea and respiratory disease. Major losses occur when a previously uninfected herd becomes infected during the mating period and in early pregnancy.

Pestivirus is one of the most invasive of cattle viruses and has been found in virtually every body tissue – that means infection is spread quickly through close contact between animals.

CVH can undertake testing to determine the status of your herd. It’s important to have an accurate picture of the level of immunity in each herd and/or to detect the presence of carrier animals. This knowledge helps us develop a strategy for control of the disease within specific herds.

It’s a good cost effective strategy to carry out testing at the time of pregnancy testing.

A vaccine is available for use in some situations, but it is relatively expensive and it may be possible to manage existing pestivirus infection with a combination of testing and/or vaccination. In disease-free herds for example, a vaccination program may be advisable.

Pestivirus is a complex disease, but it can be managed to minimise losses.

Contact us on (02) 4832 1977 to speak with one of our vets about this challenging disease and its detection and control.