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Bovine Viral Diarrhoea

What is Bovine Viral Diarrhoea?

BVD is a viral disease that causes substantial losses on dairy and beef units due to reduced fertility. There are several effective licensed vaccines available in the UK which can be used for herd protection. However, it is important to remember that vaccines rarely offer the herd 100% protection so surveillance programs should be discussed with your farm vet to ensure that farm status is not compromised.


In an effort to eradicate this disease from farms across the UK there are some national schemes in place in Scotland, England, Wales and Northern Ireland - follow this link to read more about national schemes and how you can get involved.  National Milk Laboratories is an accredited laboratory for all of these schemes.

Prevention and management of BVD can involve:

  • General surveillance of bulk milks (dairy) and youngstock (beef and dairy) 
  • Vaccination
  • Tag and testing calves (including dead or dying)
  • Increased biosecurity between youngstock and adult groups
  • Double fencing boundaries between cattle farms
  • Safe disposal of aborted/stillborn calves

Options should always be discussed with the farm vet.

NML BVD Testing Services

  • Bulk milk antibody ELISA (for dairy herds)
  • Individual milk antibody ELISA
  • Individual cow blood antibody ELISA
  • Individual cow blood antigen ELISA (tests for virus)
  • Individual tag and test tissue antigen ELISA (tests for virus)
  • BVD HerdCheck surveillance scheme
  • PI Hunting
  • Milk buyer testing schemes - please call 01902 749 920 to discuss specific schemes in more detail

Individual milk tests can be performed on one milk sample through to a whole herd test. 

Bulk milk tests for BVD can be done on an ad-hoc or quarterly basis.  No extra bulk sample necessary. The bulk samples held in the NML fridge can be used for testing.  Please note that the Bulk Milk antibody test can be affected by the vaccine so it is important that vaccinated herds monitor antibody levels quarterly to ensure the trend is level or falling. 

NMR recording customers can request individual cow tests on their normal milk recording samples taking the hassle out of testing.

For non-NMR recorded herds we will send kits enabling you to take the required number of samples and submit them to the laboratory for testing.


To order individual milk tests for BVD simply ask your NMR milk sampler to fill out a blue form to be incuded in with your recording samples.  For non-NMR herds please call customer services to request sampling pots on 0844 725 5567 or email

To order a BVD bulk milk test please call the NML office along with your Milk Buyer ID on 0844 725 5567 or email

To order a blood test just ask your vet to take a blood sample and submit it to the NML laboratories.

To Order the Tag and Test product please call Nordic Star Customer Service on 0800 731 9465 Free from a land line, or click on this link



Results are available through normal notification methods.  These include post, fax, email or online via the milk quality monitor on Herd Companion