BVDV surveillance programs typically rely on blood or skin biopsies for detection of PI cattle. Brian Vander Ley, IowaStateUniversity, compared BVDV detection in types of samples that might be collected for diagnosis following disease outbreaks of unknown etiology and to evaluate the entire hides of known PI animals for BVDV antigen to determine if there was a significant variation in detection of antigen.  

Testing of tail skin fold biopsies, nasal swabs and ear notch samples resulted in reproducible reliable results. Testing of vaginal/preputial swabs was accurate 90% of the time. In contrast, based on this study, testing of conjunctival swabs, rectal swabs and oral swabs missed >30% to >90% of the PI animals tested.

“There was no significant variation in the detection of BVDV antigen regardless of the location of the skin punch sample,” Vander Ley says. “This suggests that skin punch samples collected from any haired location may be used in research and test validation.”