Let's talk BLV

Help Support CattleToday:

Then maybe there's a trigger that allows an inflicted animal to become ill? In that case what does @TCRanch have going on that would trigger her animals to become positive?
I believe it depends on the type of lymphoma/lymphosarcoma and location. And it's not like my cattle are under severe stress that would further compromise their immune system. Mother Nature can be a wicked, selective bytch.

A neighbor of ours had one where the tumor(s) settled in the spine on what appeared to be a perfectly healthy bull. I've already talked to a number of neighbors, and some have either had it in their herd or had a cow die for no apparent reason and wrote it off as "if you have livestock, you'll have dead stock". I get that. With so many operations still running with an older generation, they aren't going to go to the expense of having all their animals tested, culling, and starting over again. And they're not going to suddenly change their ways and change needles between each shot, etc.
 
Never heard of it, hope i never see it either.
Red, in the early 80's after the successfull eradication of Brucellosis and TB they thought they would tackle BLV. I was involved in testing a couple of dairy herds close to me, -ve's to slaughter then herd retested until 2 clear tests I think. I just googled it and DPI NSW say it has been eliminated from dairy herds but is present at a very low rate in beef herds. I suspect that the more extensive conditions of raising beef cattle in Australia keeps it at that low level. They also say transmission from cow to calf via milk is the principal form of transmission. I guess it must be monitored and steps would be taken if it showed sign of increasing.

Ken
 
I believe it depends on the type of lymphoma/lymphosarcoma and location. And it's not like my cattle are under severe stress that would further compromise their immune system. Mother Nature can be a wicked, selective bytch.

A neighbor of ours had one where the tumor(s) settled in the spine on what appeared to be a perfectly healthy bull. I've already talked to a number of neighbors, and some have either had it in their herd or had a cow die for no apparent reason and wrote it off as "if you have livestock, you'll have dead stock". I get that. With so many operations still running with an older generation, they aren't going to go to the expense of having all their animals tested, culling, and starting over again. And they're not going to suddenly change their ways and change needles between each shot, etc.
I'm curious as a fact of life, so when I see something that I want answers to I ask a lot of questions and try to look at it from every angle I can think of. Not implying anything about you or your cattle.

So my next thought is that Kansas may be an area where it's prevalent and anywhere I've been I've either not noticed or they aren't as likely to have that particular issue? I feel for you, so wondering about all this stuff to find an explanation. I'm not much on the "wisdom of the crowd" but once in a while asking the right questions will shake something loose.
 
Red, in the early 80's after the successfull eradication of Brucellosis and TB they thought they would tackle BLV. I was involved in testing a couple of dairy herds close to me, -ve's to slaughter then herd retested until 2 clear tests I think. I just googled it and DPI NSW say it has been eliminated from dairy herds but is present at a very low rate in beef herds. I suspect that the more extensive conditions of raising beef cattle in Australia keeps it at that low level. They also say transmission from cow to calf via milk is the principal form of transmission. I guess it must be monitored and steps would be taken if it showed sign of increasing.

Ken
Emphasis on In Australia. But good info, Ken, thanks! Cow-to-calf could certainly be a source in Hershey's case (the one I lost last week). Zero clinical signs in her lineage but she's the only one from a lineage that has been here from the start. The original cow was successfully treated for lump jaw but eventually culled because she was old, breeding back late and her last calf was a dink.
 
I have no idea. We haven't bought a cow since our original herd of bred 2-year-olds in 2009. I still have one of our first heifer calves from 2010, who is now 14. The bulls we have purchased are virgin yearlings. Satan was one of our original cows and I do not have any of her lineage. But when she was diagnosed, we were still using a repeater syringe when we worked cattle, changing the needle every time we refilled. Changed our protocol immediately & starting using disposable. Early Bird's dam (she's the one with the bulging eyes) died of hardware. And that's when we changed our protocol and started giving every cow, retained heifer & bull a magnet. I don't have any lineage from either of them. Sold Midget's dam because she blew out her udder and don't have any of their lineage. Sold Hershey's dam last year because of the drought and I had to treat her for foot rot twice (harsh, I know, but . . . ). I still have her grandmother, who is 13, and a lot of that lineage. Is it possible it's been lurking in the herd the entire time? I suppose anything is possible. My vet says vector transmission is the most likely cause in our case.
Was curious if there was any idea. It is always hard too lose one. But I always feel better when I know what it is, if it is treatable, how too prevent it and how it is spread. In your case it sounds there are some unknowns about spread. Some of our issues they blame the wild life for the spread. Hope she is the last one.
 
I'm curious as a fact of life, so when I see something that I want answers to I ask a lot of questions and try to look at it from every angle I can think of. Not implying anything about you or your cattle.

So my next thought is that Kansas may be an area where it's prevalent and anywhere I've been I've either not noticed or they aren't as likely to have that particular issue? I feel for you, so wondering about all this stuff to find an explanation. I'm not much on the "wisdom of the crowd" but once in a while asking the right questions will shake something loose.
It's also quite possible I'm freakishly compulsive about my cattle and one of (maybe?) the minority that notices. And takes pics. Not necessarily more prevalent in KS.
 
I don't have any experience with it, but this article from Cornell vet school (they are highly regarded) seems to cover most bases - what it is, how it is spread, testing for it, eliminating it from a herd, stopping the spread in a herd, etc.

Seems to cast doubt on the spread by vectors. Quotes a study that found that almost 40% of beef herds had the issue and 10% of the cows in those herds were infected.

 
Like Neospora. Of which there is no vaccine. Attempting to control the coyotes, (primarily) wild dogs or other wildlife from pooping in your pastures is a futile attempt. It is what it is.
I better understand now. We have issue that are attributed fo deer, ect. Not much we can do but fortunately there is treatment protocols we can use for most. We have one pasture we have more coccidious issues in. Been told it is in the soul. Have a few cases every year. Have foot rot also. We have 2 pastures we get a high worm load every year. No issues elsewhere. But at least there are treatment options.
 
The picture of the dead animal on the front end loader is saddening, and I had to do it more than once as I suspect all of us have had to. Tho short, it's still a hard drive from where it died to the final destination as you think of what the animal was, or might have been....... I sure don't miss that part of farming.

Filed under "stuff I didn't know"...
This, is a very informative and pretty recent article regarding BLV. It mostly is about dairy cattle but does include some input for beef cattle.

Mich State BLV research

It includes this:
"Within Michigan, 26% of breeding beef bulls between 1-10 years old were infected with BLV. In 2017, 34% of the beef cattle in the U.S. slaughterhouses tested positive for BLV, a 20% increase in 20 years."
 
The picture of the dead animal on the front end loader is saddening, and I had to do it more than once as I suspect all of us have had to. Tho short, it's still a hard drive from where it died to the final destination as you think of what the animal was, or might have been....... I sure don't miss that part of farming.

Filed under "stuff I didn't know"...
This, is a very informative and pretty recent article regarding BLV. It mostly is about dairy cattle but does include some input for beef cattle.

Mich State BLV research

It includes this:
"Within Michigan, 26% of breeding beef bulls between 1-10 years old were infected with BLV. In 2017, 34% of the beef cattle in the U.S. slaughterhouses tested positive for BLV, a 20% increase in 20 years."
Woah, good read! Thanks for posting, GB.
 
Stress including calving, heat, parasites etc can cause it to flare.
It seems to pop up out of nowhere sometimes, even in closed tested herds. A lot don't consider it an issue with 1-5% having active infection. But those that have seen it and dealt with it - they can go overnight paralyzed and it's hard to have to put them down.
I've had friends who opted to test and cull, some kept original cows that were pets and none of progeny ever tested positive. They say up to 5% get it in utero, not to feed blv milk, but then proceed to say the positive milk can be protective in heifers... Also that flies can be vectors, but they have not proven conclusively that flies spread it. There is so much contradictory information on so many diseases. They often talk as though we know a lot about it even the tests, but when it comes down to it we really don't know as much as we like to say we do.

With 40-80% of beef and dairy herds having positives, eradication would be incredibly hard.
What I've learned is that if you test, you will eventually find / get something. So better be prepared for it.

I think it's wise to test and cull because I don't believe positives are great to keep around.
But there's also situations like mine where the neighbors cows have johnes, myco, bvd etc and why we have no offense line in contact, his cows get out year round and I'm sure we share flies. So i manage for what i would like, but deal with what's in front of me.

I have never met a vet that even switches needles between cows, gloves between cows, disinfects their bangs tattoo digits, and they even share bangs vials between herds because they're trying to save us money. Those big 250 and 500 mL bottles I've had so many already use needles back in them from herd calls all day, it's easier to have your own drugs than try to explain why they should have been switching needles to keep drugs clean at the very least. You ate lucky if the bull probe for bse is cleaned between herds....
 
Last edited:

Latest posts

Top