ABOUT: Bovine Leukosis Virus (BLV) is a retrovirus that infects dairy and beef cattle’s lymphoid tissue, causing malignant lymphoma and lymphosarcoma. It is transmitted primarily through direct contact with infected blood, saliva, semen, and milk.
SYMPTOMS: Symptoms may include tumors in lymphoid tissues, enlarged lymph nodes, weight loss, decreased milk production, fever, loss of appetite, rear limb weakness or paralysis, protruding eyeballs, gastrointestinal obstructions, and increased blood lymphocyte counts.
PREVENTION: Prevention can include eliminating blood transmission from cow to cow. Also feeding calves pasteurized colostrum and milk and using BLV negative dams for embryo transfer.
GETTING TESTED: Cattle can be tested for this virus. At least 3 ml of whole blood should be collected in a “red top” vacuum tube. Samples should be refrigerated after collection and be shipped with an ice pack and tested within 2 weeks of the collection date.
BLV samples are processed and results reported on Wednesdays.