Andrew M. Cuomo, Governor | Richard A. Ball, Commissioner


"BVD Testing Required for All Cattle, Llamas and Alpacas Attending New York Fairs"

As of the 2008 fair season, all cattle exhibited at NY county fairs and State Fair must be negative to an approved test appropriate to detect Bovine Viral Diarrhea Persistent Infection (BVD-PI). Beginning in 2009 this requirement has been extended to include new world camelids (llamas, alpacas, guanacos and vicunas). This is a once in a lifetime test that must be reported on the required certificate of veterinary inspection (CVI). The issuing veterinarian is responsible for verifying the validity of the test, the identification of the animal and recording the test date on the CVI.


What is BVD?

BVD stands for Bovine Viral Diarrhea. BVD is a potentially serious disease of cattle. Acute signs vary depending on the strain but can include fever, lethargy, loss of appetite, eye discharge, oral lesions, diarrhea and decreased milk production. The severity of BVD varies from mild to severe depending on the strain of virus. Deaths can occur with “hot” strains. Abortion and respiratory problems are the most common consequences of BVD infection.

What is BVD-PI?

BVD-PI stands for Bovine Viral Diarrhea-Persistent Infection. BVD-PI occurs when an animal is infected with BVD before birth (in utero). The animal will remain infected with BVD for life and will shed virus continuously. BVD-PI animals often are poor doers but can appear healthy and normal in size.

Why is BVD-PI testing now required for fairs?

A BVD-PI animal produces large amounts of BVD virus continuously. The virus is present in secretions including nasal discharge, tears, saliva, urine, feces and milk. BVD virus can survive in cool, protected environments for several days. It also can be spread by direct contact or indirect contact with contaminated objects like halters. Common areas like wash racks present a significant opportunity for virus spread. The presence of a BVD-PI animal at the fair is a serious potential risk to other susceptible animals. The testing requirement is an effort to eliminate this risk.

Why is a single BVD-PI test good for life?

If an animal is BVD-PI negative it will remain negative. It cannot become persistently infected at a later date.

Vaccination of cattle for BVD is already a fair requirement.  Why is that not enough to keep my cattle safe at the fair?

The protection offered by BVD vaccination may be of short duration. The presence of a BVD-PI animal at a fair producing large amounts of virus could easily infect an animal whose vaccine protection has weakened. The newly infected animal could then spread BVD upon return to the home herd.

What specific test is required?

Your veterinarian is responsible for making sure your cattle are tested properly and will request the appropriate test from the laboratory.  If your veterinarian is not sure they can contact our office (518-457-3502) or the Animal Health Diagnostic Center at Cornell University ( (607-253-3900).
Is the pooling of samples from multiple animals allowed?

Pooling is acceptable if the samples and paperwork are handled properly.  The laboratory results must include the individual identification for all animals in the pool.  There are limits on the number of animals that can be included in a pool.  If your veterinarian has questions concerning the pooling protocol they can contact the Animal Health Diagnostic Center ( (607-253-3900).

How will the Fair know that my animal is BVD-PI negative?

All cattle and new world camelids attending a NY county fair, youth show or State Fair must be accompanied by a certificate of veterinary inspection (CVI) issued by an accredited veterinarian. The veterinarian must include the negative BVD-PI test results on the CVI. You do not need to attach negative laboratory reports or certificates to the CVI. A properly completed CVI is sufficient. The CVI will be reviewed by state animal health personnel at the fair at the same time your animal is inspected for health and identification.

If I want to take my cow to the fair again next year how will my veterinarian know she is already test negative?

When a laboratory test is submitted it should include a complete description of the animal including all unique identification. You can obtain a copy of this lab report from your veterinarian as proof of negative BVD-PI testing. Your veterinarian can refer to this report when issuing the CVI next year. Your veterinarian also has the option of issuing a certificate with the owner, test and animal identification information included. It is recommended that registration numbers be included if available on the lab submission and any certificate issued.

What happens if I or the veterinarian has no proof of previous negative BVD-PI test?

The animal will need to be tested.

How should my animal be identified to avoid problems at the fair?

Animals requiring a certificate of veterinary inspection must be uniquely identified. Acceptable forms of unique ID for cattle include official eartags, registration tattoo, or electronic ID (implanted microchip, radiofrequency eartag). An eartag with only a handwritten or printed number that is not unique is not acceptable. This is the same ID that must be on the proof of BVD-PI testing (lab report or test certificate). Implanted microchip is the ID of choice for llamas and alpacas since the owners typically avoid eartags. Signed photographs can also be used.