March 2007
From the State Vet's Office

From The State Vet's Office

by Dr. Tony Frazier

While many activities that come from my office are regulatory in nature, we actively engage any issue that could impact livestock production in Alabama. For example, about a year ago I was approached by the director of ALFA’s Beef committee Perry Mobley. He had the concept of developing a state Bovine Viral Diarrhea (BVD) program. After several meetings and the hiring of the Cooperative Extension Veterinarian Dr. Soren Rodning, we have now established the Alabama BVD Working Group. The Working Group has developed the Alabama Voluntary BVD Control Program. Highlighted in this month’s article is an outline of this program and was written by Dr. Rodning.

Alabama Voluntary BVDV Control Program

The Alabama cattle industry experiences substantial animal health issues and economic losses due to the effects of Bovine Viral Diarrhea Virus (BVDV), the causative agent of Bovine Viral Diarrhea (BVD). BVDV is an important cause of reproductive disease as well as "shipping fever" (bovine respiratory disease). However, cattle that are born persistently infected with BVDV are the primary source of infection, and effective testing procedures are now available to identify those infected carriers. Therefore, several state and national organizations worked together to develop an Alabama Voluntary BVD Control Program to control and/or eradicate BVD from Alabama cattle herds. This month I would like to briefly introduce the program and announce that the Thompson-Bishop-Sparks State Diagnostic Laboratory in Auburn is now offering BVDV testing.

The Alabama Voluntary BVD Control Program was developed in cooperation with the Alabama Beef Cattle Improvement Association, Alabama Cattlemen’s Association (ACA), Alabama Cooperative Extension System, Alabama Department of Agriculture and Industries, Alabama Farmers Federation (ALFA), Alabama Veterinary Medical Association, Auburn University College of Agriculture, Auburn University College of Veterinary Medicine, National Animal Disease Center, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, Veterinary Services. The objective of the program is to provide a cost effective method for controlling BVDV in Alabama cattle operations. The program consists of four basic components: education, management, herd testing, and herd classification.

The new Thompson-Bishop-Sparks State Diagnostic Laboratory in Auburn will perform all diagnostic procedures associated with the program. The official diagnostic test is an antigen capture ELISA on individual ear notch samples. The cost of the test is only $3.00/sample for Alabama cattle. The Alabama Department of Agriculture and Industries is financially subsidizing a portion of the diagnostic costs to provide BVDV testing at a competitive price. The ACA and ALFA are also financially supporting other parts of the program.

The most important goal of the testing component of the program is to provide accurate results; the second goal is to provide timely service to meet the needs of different segments of the Alabama cattle industry. Our initial goal is to perform all diagnostic tests within 5 business days of arrival at the laboratory. Results will then be faxed or mailed, depending on your preference.

Please be patient, this program is a work in progress, and we are very excited to provide this important service to the Alabama cattle industry. Help make the program a success by participating and providing me with constructive feedback as we move forward. The program is designed to benefit every cattle producer in Alabama, so help spread the word.

To begin testing your herd for BVDV either you or your veterinarian should call me (334-844-7502) or the Thompson-Bishop-Sparks State Diagnostic Laboratory (334-844-4987) to request a BVDV Test Kit. To request a test kit, please have the following information available:

1. Name, address, email, telephone number, and fax number for you and your veterinarian.

2. Your premises identification number.

3. The number of animals you plan on testing.

A BVDV Test Kit will then be mailed to you in an insulated box and contain the following items: submission forms, detailed sample collection and submission instructions, individual tubes for samples, ear notchers for $8.00 (if needed), ice packs, and a pre-addressed return label. You and your veterinarian will collect, identify, handle, and package the samples as directed, and then ship the samples overnight (USPS, UPS, Fed Ex) to the Thompson-Bishop-Sparks State Diagnostic Laboratory using the same insulated box and the pre-addressed label. Please contact us 2 weeks prior to your anticipated test date to allow time for delivery of your BVDV Test Kit.

We will be conducting a series of meetings around the state related to BVD and the Alabama Voluntary BVD Control Program. Contact your animal science regional extension agent for more information regarding these meetings. Let’s work together and set the standard for BVDV control, and in the process improve the health and reputation of Alabama cattle.