A collaborative programme called Gwaredu BVD involving the Royal Veterinary College (RVC) and Coleg Sir Gâr’s Agriculture Research Centre, has tested over 4,000 farms for bovine viral diarrhoea (BVD) over the past six months.
Of those tested, 27% have evidence of the BVD infection and some 50 have started persistent infected (PI) animal hunts on their farms. Gwaredu BVD is currently screening approximately 50 submissions a day in their efforts to eradicate BVD.
The ‘Animal Health & Welfare Wales – Eradicating Bovine Viral Diarrhoea in Wales’ project is funded by a £10 million award from the Welsh Government’s Rural Development Programme. This voluntary project, which was launched in July 2017, has been working closely with farmers to identify herds infected with BVD. The project is managed through a partnership between the RVC and Coleg Sir Gâr’s Agriculture Research Centre.
BVD is a viral and immunosuppressive disease maintained by a small population of animals that become persistently infected in gestation and are a risk to the health of the rest of the herd. This affects animal welfare and can lead to pneumonia, scour, infertility and reproductive disorders.
The RVC are strongly encouraging farms that have not taken part in the screening must get involved with the programme. Testing is carried as part of the annual TB test which farms undertake and only requires five animals (between the ages of 9 and 18 months) to be blood sampled. These samples are then tested for BVD antibodies, if BVD antibodies are present on the farm, then finding and removing PI animals becomes a priority.
Dr Neil Paton, Lecturer in Farm Animal Health and Production at the RVC, said: “This is a hugely important initiative for Wales and we are delighted to see that the farming community has taken the opportunity to get rid of the disease on farms. Getting rid of BVD will improve the health and welfare of the Welsh cattle herd by making it more robust and productive.
“If farmers have not already engaged with the programme, I would highly encourage them to take advantage of the free screening being offered through their vets.”
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Notes to Editors
The Royal Veterinary College (RVC) is the UK's largest and longest established independent veterinary school and is a constituent College of the University of London. The RVC offers undergraduate, postgraduate and CPD programmes in veterinary medicine, veterinary nursing and biological sciences, being ranked in the top 10 universities nationally for biosciences degrees. It is currently the only veterinary school in the world to hold full accreditation from AVMA, EAEVE, RCVS and AVBC.
A research-led institution, in the most recent Research Excellence Framework (REF2014) the RVC maintained its position as the top HEFCE funded veterinary focused research institution.
The College also provides animal owners and the veterinary profession with access to expert veterinary care and advice through its teaching hospitals; the Beaumont Sainsbury Animal Hospital in central London, the Queen Mother Hospital for Animals (Europe's largest small animal referral centre), the Equine Referral Hospital, and the Farm Animal Clinical Centre located at the Hertfordshire campus.
RVC press release 29 March 2018