INFECTIOUS diseases can play an important role in the economic viability of a beef or dairy enterprise. In particular, disease introduced into a naive herd can have detrimental effects on production and mortality. As well as the costs associated with dealing with an outbreak, an infectious agent circulating in a herd can contribute to fertility problems, abortions, decreased milk production and loss of bodyweight. Sampling programmes can help to establish the presence of a disease and its prevalence in a herd. Armed with knowledge of the disease status of a herd, veterinary surgeons and farmers can jointly formulate an action plan to manage the disease(s) in question. This article discusses how to sample for and monitor a number of non-statutory diseases that are of particular economic importance to the cattle industry – namely, infectious bovine rhinotracheitis, bovine viral diarrhoea, leptospirosis and Johne's disease.
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