The BVD eradication programme- tagging and submission of samples 13/05/2013

When you receive your order of tissue sample tags for the BVD programme you will get with it a detailed programme information leaflet, advice on inserting the tags and pre-addressed packaging for sending the samples to the testing laboratory. Each tag supplier is required to have an arrangement in place with a designated laboratory (with the price paid for the tags including the cost of testing).

It is recommended that calves are tagged as soon as possible after birth, ideally before they have received colostrum. This helps ensure that positive calves are identified as quickly as possible and that calves and their dams are correctly matched. It also minimizes the risk of a calf testing positive due to a transient infection (TI) acquired by contact with a persistently infected (PI) calf after birth. Remember also that the guidelines require tagging of stillborn and dead calves. While tissue tagging will be new to most herdowners, it is straightforward and should quickly become routine. Tags and applicators will vary between manufacturers, so it is important to read the information provided. Some suppliers also have demonstration videos on their websites. As ever, it is important that the calf is adequately and safely restrained before tagging.

When the sample has been collected it should be submitted to the testing laboratory as soon as possible, but certainly within seven days. In the meantime, they should be stored somewhere cool and dark (preferably a non-domestic fridge).

To comply with postal requirements samples should be placed in a plastic bag which is then sealed and this in turn placed within one of the pre-addressed envelopes provided by the tag supplier. Contact suppliers in the first instance if additional packaging is required. Alternatively, this can be made up using a sealable plastic bag and a robust envelope labelled with the words “BVD TAG TEST; EXEMPT ANIMAL SPECIMEN”. In all cases, ensure that the CORRECT postage is paid to avoid delays in delivery, at a minimum the envelope will be classed as a “large letter” by Royal Mail. It is advised to write your return address on the back of the envelope.

For further information , including guidance on registration of stillborn and dead calves, see or contact 028 8778 9126 or your own veterinary practice.