Bovine Viral Diarrhea Virus (BVDV)

Agricultural Disaster Preparedness and Recovery June 06, 2012 Print Friendly and PDF

The bovine viral diarrhea virus (BVDV) is the cause of several economically-significant diseases of cattle including bovine viral diarrhea and mucosal disease. BVDV is transmitted by close contact with infected animals, such as from mother to fetus, and by contact with contaminated equipment. A fetus infected with BVDV may be aborted, suffer from congenital defects, or survive to adulthood as a silent carrier of the virus, causing continuing disease in the herd. The cost of BVDV infection may be $25 to $200 per cow per year.

Bovine viral diarrhea and mucosal disease have clinical signs similar to Rinderpest and must be confirmed with appropriate laboratory testing.


Endemic Areas

BVDV is found worldwide.


Clinical Signs

Bovine Viral Diarrhea

  • Fever
  • Depression
  • Decreased milk production
  • Excessive tearing and nasal secretions
  • Mouth ulcers
  • Watery diarrhea
  • Prolonged bleeding at injection sites
  • Abortion
  • Congenitally-malformed calves


Mucosal Disease

  • Fever
  • Severe watery diarrhea (may be bloody)
  • Anorexia
  • Dehydration
  • Ulcerative lesions of the mouth and nose
  • Sudden death



There is no specific treatment for bovine viral diarrhea or mucosal disease. Bovine viral diarrhea infection may be mild to severe but mortality rates are low. However, mucosal disease is a severe infection of cattle chronically infected with BVDV; it is often fatal. Any cow suspected of having bovine viral diarrhea or mucosal disease should be reported to the State Veterinarians or USDA Area Veterinarian in Charge immediately.



Vaccinations against BVDV are available and should be used to protect herds. In addition, animals of unknown health status should be placed in quarantine before joining a herd.


Public Health

BVDV is not a public health threat.



Bovine Viral Diarrhea Module -New York State Cattle Health Assurance Program

Bovine Virus Diarrhea -Kansas State University

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This work is supported by the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture, New Technologies for Ag Extension project.