Why BVDV (Pestivirus) may be affecting conception rates in your herd?

Bovine Viral Diarrhoea Virus (BVDV) is a very common infection in Australian cattle with around 90% of herds showing evidence of past infection. It is capable of causing 25-50% production losses in recently infected herds and also increases susceptibility to other common diseases.

The effects of Bovine Pestivirus – Reproduction

BVDV is a significant cause of reproductive loss in Australian cattle herds, particularly when an infection is introduced for the first time into a group of pregnant females. When the dam is infected during pregnancy, the virus can cross the placenta and infect the developing foetus. Depending on the stage of pregnancy, this infection can result in infertility, foetal loss, abortions or stillbirths. When the developing foetus survives to the end of pregnancy, the calf may be born with severe birth defects, die soon after birth or most importantly, it may be persistently infected with the virus. It is these ‘PI’ carrier calves that play an important role in spreading the disease as they shed the virus throughout their life, acting as a constant source of infection for other cattle. These carriers may or may not be ‘poor doers’ and they often die from a condition called Mucosal Disease before two years of age.

Increased Susceptibility to other common diseases

BVDV normally has little affect upon healthy adult cattle, however when cattle become stressed, such as in an intensive grazing, feedlot or saleyard situation, an infection with Bovine Pestivirus may place cattle at a greater risk of contracting other illnesses. Through it’s immunosuppressive effects, Bovine Pestivirus is a major factor predisposing cattle to infection with other viruses and bacteria that in combination can manifest as Bovine Respiratory Disease (BRD) complex.


Vaccination is key to preventing BVDV in your herd. Pestigard® is the first vaccine for the prevention of Bovine Viral Diarrhoea Virus (BVDV), otherwise known as Bovine Pestivirus in cattle in Australia.

The introduction of a Pestigard® vaccination program will reduce reproductive loss caused by BVDV. Pestigard® will also stimulate active immunity against BVDV which will assist in the reduction of losses associated with the Bovine Respiratory Disease (BRD) complex and other clinical diseases where BVDV is implicated.

For more information on dosing schedules and how to vaccinate your herd, please visit the Zoetis website.

Stabler and Howlett would like to thank our partners at Zoetis for their assistance in compiling this post. We recommend and sell the Zoetis range of cattle vaccines.

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