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New Vaccination and Testing Requirements for VA Premium Assured Heifers Go Into Effect This Fall

Livestock Update, March 2007

John B. Hall, Extension Beef Specialist and W. Dee Whittier, Extension Veterinarian

The goal of the Virginia Premium Assured Heifer Program is to use research based methods to develop healthy, reproductively sound, and genetically superior replacement beef heifers.  Recently, the beef industry has focused on the impacts of calves persistently infected (PI) with bovine viral diarrhea virus (BVD) on herd health and profitability.  At a recent program, Dr. Julia Ridpath from USDA National Animal Disease Center indicated that bred heifers are a significant potential source of BVD infection to the cow/calf herd. 
If PI heifers are accidentally introduced to the herd then the cow/calf herd can become infected with  BVD.   Abortions, weak calves, and persistently infected calves can all result from BVD infection.  The exact outcome depends on what stage of pregnancy the cow is in when she becomes infected. It should be noted that, although the heifer herself may be tested, the fetus in a pregnant heifer cannot be tested and could be infected.  There are, however, steps that can be taken to minimize the risk.
Based on Dr. Ridpath’s recommendations, the following changes to the VAPAH health requirements will be adopted this fall:


This will allow VAPAH animals to be marketed as:

The additional cost of BVD testing will be $ 5-10 per heifer if done in conjunction with other procedures when the veterinarian is already on the farm.  Bulls sold through BCIA Bull Test Stations and many private breeders have already been certified negative for PI-BVD. 

By fall, we will have a lab designated as the lab for testing VAPAH heifers.  It appears it will be the VDACS diagnostic labs, but we are still working out the details.  Until then consult your veterinarian for PI testing.
As a result of these changes the complete vaccination and testing requirements are as follows
VAPAH females will be vaccinated against:

VAPAH females will be negative for:

Producers or extension agents with questions should contact Dr. Hall at 540-231-9153 or

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