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A new BVD vaccine has been developed to protect UK herds against the emerging BVD type 2 threat 

A new BVD vaccine, Bovela, has been developed by Boehringer Ingelheim to protect UK herds against the emerging BVD type 2 threat.

Boehringer Ingelheim’s Allan Henderson says: “BVD type 2 can be a highly aggressive strain of BVD and can result in significant mortality on top of the usual fertility and calf viability issues associated with BVD type 1.

"It can however also resemble BVD type 1 infection with low grade rumbling of concurrent diseases throughout the herd such as infertility, and respiratory disease in youngstock.

“In its more severe forms, BVD type 2 is characterised by a typical viral respiratory disease, with fever, depression, lack of appetite and eye and nasal discharge. This is followed by diarrhoea several days after onset, along with sores in the mouth and gums of affected cattle. In the very worst cases, severe and unexplained bleeding from the eyes, skin or other orifices can occur,” he explains.

“And while UK farmers may believe there is a relatively low risk of their herd becoming exposed to BVD type 2, the increasingly high numbers of cattle being imported from mainland Europe make the risk higher than many would believe.”

This announcement comes as BVD type 2 has been identified in Poland. The National Veterinary Research Institute in Puławy found the BVD type 2 virus in a dairy herd. Severe clinical signs had been observed in the herd, and newborn calves had died due to bloody diarrhoea. Some symptoms in calves were very similar to recent outbreaks of BVD type 2 in the Netherlands. 

Although the herd had been vaccinated, the inactivated BVD type 1 vaccine used was not able to deliver adequate protection against BVD type 2. According to the researchers from Puławy, it is therefore essential to take into account BVD type 2 when choosing a BVD vaccine. Mr Henderson continues:

“Huge numbers of cattle move around the EU every year and farmers could be putting their livelihoods at unnecessary risk if they don’t fully consider the disease risks of any bought in cattle.

“Understandably, with the strong pound UK farmers are looking to mainland Europe as a source of better value replacements. But any savings could soon be undone if those cattle carry BVD type 2.

“This makes it vitally important not only to fully understand the health status of any cattle you buy, but also to use a vaccine capable of protecting against BVD type 2.”

Mr Henderson adds that farmers considering their BVD control strategy should consult their veterinary surgeon to develop a complete BVD control and elimination plan.

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