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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): Adhoc £6.39 | Quarterly: £22.12
  • Individual milk antibody ELISA: From £2.08 per cow, dependant on cow numbers
  • Individual cow blood antibody ELISA: From £3.18 per cow, dependant on cow numbers
  • Individual cow blood antigen ELISA (tests for virus): £4.64 per sample
  • Individual tag and test tissue antigen ELISA (tests for virus): From £4.50, see Nordic Star for more info
  • 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 scheduled 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 vaccine so it is important that if vaccinated herds are using this test option they monitor antibody levels quarterly to ensure the trend is level or falling. 


To order individual cow milk BVD tests simply ask your NMR milk sampler to fill out a blue form to be included with your recording samples. 
For non-NMR herds please call NML to request sampling pots on 01902 749 920 or email  

To order a BVD bulk milk test please call the NML office along with your Milk Buyer ID on 01902 749 920 or email 

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

For tag and test orders please call Nordic Star Customer Services on 0800 731 9465 or visit


Results are available through normal notification methods.  These include post, email or Herd Companion.