BVD Ear Notch Collection

Currently the most cost effective and sensitive strategy for BVDV testing at the ISU VDL is  immunohistochemistry on formalin-fixed ear notch samples. 

Materials and Equipment Needed:

1. An ear notching tool that yields a 1cm a side notch, these are available
    from sources listed below, as well as others.

• Nasco: 800-558-9595, Order ID medium C0024N
• Dairy Health USA: 800-276-7933, Order ID medium 440-31
• Stone Livestock Identification, Show Equipment:
   816-231-4020 Order ID medium 7125

2. Snap–cap milk tubes [please do not use whirl-pac bags].

3. Shipping container rack that organizes individual tubes in slots.

4. Submission form: Use the Ruminant Health Test Request form found here.

5. Vaccination and tattoo ink do not affect immunohistochemistry
    techniques when done at the same time samples are taken.

Collection Procedure:

  • Label collection tubes with the animal ID’s and sequence number’s (#1 through number in submission).
  • Dip notching tool in disinfectant, then rinse.  Residual disinfectant does not affect immunohistochemical techniques.
  • Take a proper size ear notch from a clean portion of the ear (Figure 1).
  • Place notch into a labeled, collection tube with enough 10% buffered neutral formalin to cover the notch.
  • Ear notches can be stored for up 1 week prior to shipping. Refrigeration once formalin-fixed is not required.

Figure 1: Best location for taking ear notch

Submitting Samples

VDL Submission Form

VDL Fee Schedule

Contact Information

Dr. Vickie Cooper
Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory
Iowa State University
1800 Christensen Drive
Ames, IA  50011
Fax 515-294-3564