Herds with calves that test positive for BVD in 2017 will be required to undergo a herd investigation by a trained vet of the farmers choice.

It is one of a number of key changes have been made to aspects of the national BVD Eradication Programme this year.

These investigations, are free-of-charge to the herd owner and must be completed within three months of the date of the initial positive result.

Animal Health Ireland (AHI) has outlined the standard format of the investigations, which have several goals:

Identify a plausible source or sources of infection

Based on the time period during which the dam could have been infected, and her location during the period, the vet, as part of a farm visit, can consider a series of possible transmission pathways from sources of infection that may be either inside or outside of the herd.

Ensure that the herd is left free from BVD

The vet will also identify and test any animals within the herd whose status is either not known or is suspect (e.g. animals with a DAMPI status due to their having produced a persistently infected (PI) calf).

This is to identify any previously unidentified PI animals in within the herd.

Review herd bio-security

Consideration of the various transmission pathways allows the vet to identify key risks on a herd by herd basis. The vet and farmer will also agree of farm-specific measures to prevent BVD re-introduction

From this, up to three recommendations to reduce the risk of reintroduction will be agreed with the herd owner, who will receive a written copy of these.

The results of the investigations will also be available to AHI for analysis and the BVD Helpdesk will contact eligible herd owners to inform them of the requirement to have a herd investigation and to identify the trained veterinary practitioner they wish to nominate to conduct it.