A variety of tests are available for a wide range of diseases, for both beef and dairy cattle. It is important to work with your vet and decide what tests are most appropriate for what you are trying to achieve.

For information on controlling disease and health schemes visit:


Be proactive: To assess your herd contact your vet for advice on effective testing.

Disease example: IBR

Various tests are available, which assess different things:

  • Some look for previous exposure to IBR, e.g. antibody tests based on blood or milk samples.
    • This can help establish herd or animal status as being naïve or previously infected/immune.
    • Some tests even distinguish between animals that have been infected and those vaccinated with a ‘Marker’ vaccine - very helpful when trying to control or eradicate IBR.

  • Other tests will look for the virus itself, including those run on swabs, which can be important when trying to get a diagnosis when investigating a disease outbreak.
    • Where possible, animals at the early stages of infection should be sampled to stand the best chances of getting an accurate diagnosis – so present animals with a watery discharge from the eye (below) to your vet for examination:

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