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    NMR Introduces ‘Tag & Test’ to Improve BVD Control
2009-08-17

Despite 50 years of vaccines and other tools to help control Bovine Viral Diarrhoea (BVD), the disease still remains a major drain on the UK cattle industry, estimated to cost between £25 and £61 million a year according to studies by the University of Reading.

Hannah Pearse,
NMR development manager

Hannah Pearse, NMR development manager

To help tackle the expense and reduce the disease and welfare risks associated with BVD NMR is launching a new service in September called Tag & Test. Together with a vaccination programme, Tag & Test will help producers and the UK cattle industry make significant headway into reducing BVD in the national herd by identifying persistently infected animals at the earliest stages.

Persistently infected BVD animals are the biggest threat to the herd. They are infected before birth but if they survive they are infectious for the rest of their lives, shedding huge quantities of the virus and causing transmission of the disease when they come into contact with other animals.

Tag & Test has been developed through the NMR group of companies. It combines the resources of its tag company Nordic Star with the disease testing facilities at National Milk Laboratories.

“It is a very integrated and simple service,” says NMR’s development manager Hannah Pearse. “Farmers – dairy or beef – order and get supplies of tags from Nordic Star. They apply the tags as normal but the ear tissue sample is collected in a bar-coded vial attached to the tag applicators. This is posted to the NML laboratory at either Hillington or Wolverhampton and the BVD test is carried out.”

 

Bar coded tissue collection vial and ear tag
showing matching bar codes

Bar coded tissue collection vial and ear tag showing matching bar codes

The service has been developed to give producers and their vets an accurate and reliable result at the earliest opportunity. “There is full traceability with this service through the bar-coded tag and vial and results from the test can be back with the vet or on farm – or both as requested – within five days of the tissue arriving at the lab.

“This means that, should the result be positive, the animal can be removed from the herd, so preventing the risk of transmission to other animals and eliminating rearing costs of an infected animal and subsequent welfare issues.”

Tag & Test will cost between £7 and £8 plus VAT, depending on quantities ordered. This includes the tag, vial and BVD antigen test. Results will be returned by post, fax or email as requested.

“This compares favourably with blood tests that typically range from £8 to £15, taking into account vet sampling time, and involves the producer with no hassle or further chores above the normal ear tagging of calves. And Tag & Test opens up more possibilities – in future, we plan to use it for other disease tests.”

The Tag & Test service will be launched by NMR this autumn and exhibited at this year’s Dairy Event and Livestock Show on September 16 and 17, Stoneleigh. Visit NMR’s stand in Exhibition Hall 1 or call NMR Customer Services on 0870 1622547 or customerservices@nmr.co.uk

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