The Dairy Authority Lab
BVD antigen capture ELISA
Bovine Viral Diarrhea Virus is an RNA virus belonging to the genus Pestivirus. It is endemic in cattle populations in the United States and other countries around the world. BVDV can infect susceptible cattle of all ages, but is especially costly when it infects pregnant females. Fetal infection between 60-120 days gestation may result in what is known as a Persistently Infected (PI) calf. Persistently infected cattle are lifetime carriers of BVDV and are the means of propagation of BVD in cattle populations. BVD control programs are geared toward identifying PI animals and promptly removing them (permanently) from the population.
BVD Test specifics
The antigen capture ELISA test is an accurate, rapid method of identifying cattle persistently infected with BVDV. The test can be performed on either serum or skin biopsy (ear notch) samples stored in phosphate buffered saline solution (PBS). Once started, the test takes 4 hours to complete.
Serum from calves should not be submitted for testing unless the sample was collected prior to feeding colostrum or the calf is >3 months of age. This is due to maternal antibody interference, which can increase the risk of false negative results.
Skin biopsy samples can be submitted from cattle of any age, including young calves < 3 months of age.
Although rare, there is a slight chance of the test detecting a transient infection. Therefore animals that test positive are often retested 3 weeks later for verification of PI status.
BVD Sample collection and handling
Serum samples should be collected in red top serum tubes and stored chilled prior to submission to the lab. If blood samples are to be stored more than a few days prior to submission, serum should be removed from the clot. Separated serum samples can be frozen and stored for longer periods of time if necessary.
Skin biopsy samples should be collected into individual tubes and the tubes labeled with date, client name and ID. Samples should be frozen prior to shipment.
Ship so that samples are received in 1-2 days and always ship samples on ice (cold packs best).
Keep in mind that testing is only one component of a complete BVD control program. Proper vaccination, biosecurity and biocontainment are other important issues to address when designing a comprehensive plan to deal with BVDV. Our staff would be glad to address any questions you may have regarding BVD control programs.
To learn more about delivering samples to the lab, visit the Laboratory page.
Questions may also be submitted through our online contact form.