The Signs of BVD

BVD is a disease often found in United Kingdom cattle herds, for which there is no known cure.
BVD is a disease often found in United Kingdom cattle herds, for which there is no known cure. (Image: Roine Magnusson/Digital Vision/Getty Images)

Bovine virus diarrhoea, or BVD, is a disease caused by the pestivirus that is common in cattle herds of the United Kingdom. The infection affects the cattle differently depending on the stages in their lives. These vary from embryotic death to mucosal disease. BVD has many different manifestations in a cattle herd, with several symptoms to look for regarding proper diagnosis.

Low Birth Weights

BVD often goes undetected in cattle. Because of this, cattle often pass the disease on to their offspring. A common BVD sign is low birth weights in infant calves. Although the calves may have low birth weights, they appear perfectly normal and healthy. However, these low birth weights can give way to a secondary BVD disease infection, which often kills the calf before it reaches 2 years of age.

Reproductive Issues

According to "Bovine Virus Diarrhea Virus Infection in Cattle" from, the most obvious signs of infection are reproductive failure. When a potentially BVD-infected cow is pregnant, signs to watch for include stillbirth and defects of the nervous system in her newborn calf. Other signs of BVD are cattle that have difficulty becoming pregnant, or fail to become pregnant. Identification and elimination of infected cattle is the best way to minimize the disease's spread.

Other Symptoms

Because BVD often goes undetected, therefore allowing the disease's spread, it's common to find signs and symptoms in cattle offspring. Common signs of infection in young cattle include pneumonia, diarrhea, mouth ulcers and lameness. Since no known cure for BVD currently exists, the most effective way to minimize disease spread is proper diagnosis and elimination of affected cattle.

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