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Ear Notch Testing
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Swans Veterinary Services pioneered ear notch testing in Australia, establishing the first commercial laboratory offering ear notch testing for the detection of animals persistently infected (PI) with BVDV. PI animals are only produced from intra-uterine exposure to BVDV within the first four months of their gestation. Because their immune system tolerates the virus, they go on to shed large amounts of the BVDV virus for their entire, though typically shortened, lives. In this way PI’s act as the primary vector for ongoing transmission of the BVDV virus. We established our laboratory to accurately identify these carriers using simply harvested ear notch tissue.
 
Veterinarians and producers from all over Australia collect ear notch tissue from cattle, identify and package them up in our purpose built kits, and ship them back to our laboratory. Upon arrival the ear notch samples are prepped and tested the following day using the IDEXX HerdChek BVDV Antigen Capture ELISA.
           

The HerdChek ELISA is widely used in Europe and has been demonstrated there to be 100% sensitive and over 99.6% specific. This means the assay never missed a PI and only occasionally misdiagnosed a non-PI animal as a PI. Most false positive samples are due to acute infection, the outcome from the exposure of an animal with a functional immune system to a PI. Most acute infections resolve fairly quickly, with detectable virus clearing within ten days of infection. For this reason we ask our vets and producers to retest any weak positives or valuable strong positives at least two weeks following their first submission. 

Whilst most PI’s die within a couple of years of being born, allowing them to expose future generations of unborn calves can have drastic consequences. The best management practices for BVDV control involve removing PI animals, providing immunity to at risk females prior to their pregnancies, maintaining reasonable biosecurity, and maintaining a solid surveillance program for reintroduction of a PI.

 
We strive to work with you and your veterinarian, not only providing PI testing, but also herd level BVDV consulting to help you and your veterinarian work out the most cost effective approach to managing BVDV in your herd. If you are interested in having some of your animals tested with us, please download the appropriate submission forms and/or contact us for any questions or concerns. Upon request we can send out testing kits complete with everything you need to begin protecting your herd.
 
 
 
For more information, here are the BVDV Lab contacts:

Dr. Enoch Bergman DVM

 

 

Mobile: 0427 716 907

Email: enoch@swansvet.com

Sharon Slater BSc, Lab Manager
Lauren Norris, Assistant Lab Manager
Phone: 08 9071 5777

 

Email:

lab@swansvet.com 

 
 

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