Infectious Disease Surveillance & Management

Infectious diseases, such as BVD, IBR, Schmallenberg, Liver Fluke & Johne’s Disease should be routinely and regularly monitored on farm.

There are a number of infectious diseases that we recommend routinely monitor for.

Whether that be by blood sampling a group of homebred, unvaccinated sentinel young stock (beef and dairy) or testing a bulk milk sample (dairy).

Blood can be combined with your TB test, reducing the number of handling session for animals and saving a visit cost.

Monitoring should include BVD, IBR, Leptospirosis, Johne’s Disease, Liver Fluke and Schmallenberg Virus. More information on disease surveillance can be found on the NADIS website.

  • BVD
    BVD (Bovine Viral Diarrhoea) is a complicated virus with a misleading name – diarrhoea is not that commonly seen in infected cows and diarrhoea is certainly not the reason that this disease costs the UK cattle industries an estimated £50-75m per year.

    BVD suppresses the immune system of infected animals. These animals are then less able to fight off infections such as mastitis or pneumonia. As a result, a whole host of disease situations may become much more serious on a farm where BVD is also active.

  • IBR
    IBR is the most obvious clinical disease associated with infection by Bovine Herpesvirus 1 (BoHV-1).

    It is a disease of the upper respiratory tract, which varies in severity depending on the strain of virus involved and other factors that may influence the immune status of the animal.

    In severe cases, damage to the upper airways may lead to pneumonia and sometimes death. BoHV-1 infection has also been associated with infertility, abortion, high temperatures and milk drop.

  • Schmallenberg
    Schmallenberg is a viral disease affecting cattle, sheep and goats.

    In adult cattle the disease has been associated with symptoms including milk drop, fever, loss of appetite, diarrhoea and late abortion or birth defects in calves, lambs and kids.

    The disease (SBV) is not notifiable and there are currently no implications to trade or movement barriers.

  • Liver Fluke
    Sheep are particularly susceptible to fluke. Infection can cause serious illness and even death. However, fluke is often over-looked in cattle because the signs are very subtle and clinical disease is rare.

    Fluke infection has been recognised for generations, but evolving problems in cattle demand we look afresh at how liver fluke might be undermining herd performance.

    Over the past years there has been an alarming increase in the incidence of liver fluke. This has coincided with a greater geographic distribution beyond the traditional at-risk, high rainfall areas.

  • Johne’s Disease
    Johne’s disease is a chronic disease which progressively damages the intestines and after a period of scouring and weight loss, ultimately results in the animal’s death.

    It causes huge economic loss to the national cattle industry and yet its presence goes unrecognised in many herds. Johne’s disease is a notifiable disease within Northern Ireland

    More information about Johne’s disease and the National Johne’s Management Plan (NJMP) can be found on the Action Johne’s website.

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