Department of Animal Science


Date of this Version

December 1997


Published for Proceedings, The Range Beef Cow Symposium XV December 9, 10 and 11, 1997, Rapid City, South Dakota.


Bovine viral diarrhea (BVD) is a common viral infection of cattle worldwide. The viruses responsible for BVD are classified as pestiviruses, a group of viruses that includes BVDV type I and type II, Border disease virus of sheep and hog cholera virus. Although BVD was first recognized as a disease of cattle 50 years ago, the genetics and epidemiology of BVD viruses have only been well-described in the last 10 years. These scientific advances have increased the accuracy of diagnostic testing for BVD and clarified the diseases caused by BVD viruses.

BVD is a confusing topic because the viruses cause a variety of diseases including diarrhea, hemorrhagic syndrome, peracute death syndrome, mucosal disease, infertility, abortions and weak calves. Producers can use new information about BVD viruses and their transmission to prevent the introduction of BVD into beef herds or eliminate BVD viruses from infected herds.