Boehringer Ingelheim launches new BVD Checked project for dairy cattle farms



  • The three-year pilot project provides for a certification that documents the absence of active viral circulation for BVD in dairy cattle farms.
  • With this project, Boehringer Ingelheim aims to respond to a health problem that has important repercussions both on animal welfare and on the profitability of the sector.


Milan, 1 March 2021 - Boehringer Ingelheim, which has always had among its main objectives that of guaranteeing the health and well-being of farm animals, has launched a new three-year pilot project from December 2020 to December 2023.


This initiative is called BVD Checked , and was designed in response to the rapid and silent spread of the Bovine Viral Diarrhea Virus (BVD) on farms. The severe consequences of this viral infection prompted the company to develop a protocol to support veterinarians and breeders in containing the spread of this serious disease.


BVDv in its two genotypes (1 and 2) is one of the main viruses affecting the bovine species worldwide1 causing significant economic losses, and directly impacting both the fertility of the herds and the daily milk production, resulting in a state of immunosuppression. The BVD virus, in fact, causes a worsening of the reproductive parameters of the herds and an increase in secondary diseases.


The virus is mainly transmitted by direct contact between animals, by air, by indirect contact and by the trans-placental route. Infection, if it occurs within the 125th day of gestation, can lead to vertical transmission of the virus and the consequent birth of persistently infected immune-tolerant calves (PI).


These animals are able to eliminate large quantities of viruses in the environment throughout their life2,3,4. Although the course of the virus is often asymptomatic, this impacts in every way on the productivity and fertility of the herd.


The clinical forms when they present are generally mild, with fever, malaise, anorexia, mouth lesions, oculonasal discharge, embryonic resorptions/abortions, respiratory symptoms and sometimes diarrhea. Severe acute and haemorrhagic forms with high mortality from type 2 BVD are also reported5.


The main cause of persistence and spread of the virus is the presence of PI cattle, but the infection can also be carried by a Transitory Viremic (VT) animal; it is an animal that, having recently come into contact with a PI or another VT, manifests a mild clinical form or a subclinical form and eliminates the virus in the environment for a few days.


In addition to animals, inanimate vectors (fomites) are also described as potential vehicles of infection (tools, clothing, vehicles, pests, etc). Therefore, a low level of biosecurity and inadequate management are considered as risk factors for the entry and spread of the BVD virus on the farm.


The rate of spread of the virus on farm is strongly correlated with the percentage of PI, the density of animals and the means of control. In the conditions most favorable to the spread of the virus, the entire herd can be infected in a few months6.


The control of the spread of BVD is based on the prevention of transplacental infection in pregnant cows and on the identification and elimination of immune-tolerant ones; for this reason it is necessary to adopt, together with appropriate biosecurity measures, vaccination plans that provide for the use of supports capable of guaranteeing the protection of the fetus against BVD virus strains present in the environment (Type 1 and 2).


The objective of the Boehringer Ingelheim project is to certify dairy cattle farms that adopt the "BVD STP BVD 013/36 Integrated Control System" approved by the independent SGS Italia, defining the correct BVD control plan to be adopted on the farm. This includes the necessary biosecurity procedures, the presence of an adequate vaccination plan and self-monitoring analytical activities, to ensure that animals from the certified farm can be considered adequately controlled for BVD and therefore not suspected of being eliminators of the BVD virus.


The company's commitment in this direction has led in recent years to the development of the ambitious worldwide BVD zero project which includes pathology awareness initiatives such as THE MONTHS OF PREVENTION FOR BVD, support for the conscious management of herds for the prevention of BVD. through an offer of specialized consultancy, scholarship programs aimed at young veterinary students in collaboration with the world association of buiatrics and awards for veterinarians who share clinical cases of BVD virus characterized by unusual aspects or particularly difficult management.


As part of this program, there is also the possibility of certifying the animals of your own farm. This certification is a certificate that complies with the requirements of ISO/IEC 17065: 2012 which documents the absence of active viral circulation for BVD in dairy cattle farms that have correctly implemented the requirement.


In this way, a regulatory void is filled in relation to the eradication plans, even on a voluntary basis, of this health problem which has enormous repercussions on animal welfare and on the cost-effectiveness of the sector.


The certification, which is valid for 12 months and is subject to annual surveillance, is issued by SGS Italia S.p.A, the third-party body also responsible for carrying out the control analyses.







1Gunn et al., 2005
2Houe, 1995
3Grooms, 2004
4Brock et al., 2005
5Charleston et al., 2001
6Nardelli, 2017




Source : Boehringer Ingelheim   Communication Manager: Marina Guffanti