Sunday, June 4, 2023

When To Vaccinate Bottle Calves

The Point Is Quality Not Speed

Chute Side Manners

Does doing the basics perfectly slow you down? he asks. A little, but it is still our protocol at a 90,000-head feedyard. We focus on doing every calf perfectly. Remember, he says, it’s not a speed event. It’s a job-quality event.

AzTx Branded Beef requires two rounds of vaccinations, which can occur at branding and weaning pre-weaning and weaning or weaning and post-weaning. We want a minimum of 17 days between vaccinations and then hold the calves for seven to 10 days prior to shipment after the second round, he says.

He says to consult with your veterinarian on vaccine selection, because every operation is unique, with its own medical histories, environment and management. However, he strongly advises to avoid killed vaccines.

Killed viral products do not appear to stimulate the immune system to produce an immune response durable enough to withstand the high-exposure environment of feedyards, Peirce says. In fact, he goes so far as to say that if killed products are used, he doesn’t want your calves.

Even with this protocol, Peirce says not every calf will be prepared for the feedyard. While he maintains that poor producer protocol is the main reason for a lack of immune response in a calf, immune suppression can result from stress poor nutrition, including poor water quality and poor transfer of colostrum and an inherited poor immune system.

You can do otherwise and still sell your calves. But it won’t be to Peirce.

What To Do If Your Calf Refuses Its Bottle

Sometimes a perfectly healthy calf will refuse the bottle. I find that the easiest way to get a reluctant calf to eat in such a case is to fill the bottle with milk thats nice and warm, stand astraddle the calf, holding him firmly between your knees, lean forward until your chest is over its head, and place the bottle in the calfs mouth. Of course if the calf is particularly husky, youll have to watch that he doesnt throw his head up quickly and bump you in the chest. This method has, however, always worked well for me .

After a couple of feedings by the overhead method described above, you should be able to hold the bottle through the fence and feed the calf in the normal way.

Know When To Vaccinate Calves And Why

James England, Caine Center, University of Idaho says, the important vaccinations that all cattle should receive annually include the five-way viral vaccines and the seven- or eight-way clostridial vaccines.

Everything else is optional, depending on what the risks may be in a certain region or ranch situation. What most people do is vaccinate the calves at branding time, or at 6 to 10 weeks of age if they are not going to be branded, he says.

Depending on the age of the calf, there may be some that dont respond to a modified-live virus vaccine at this time because they still have antibodies from colostrum, but I still recommend using the modified-live vaccine because the calves that dont have residual colostral antibodies will benefit, England says.

About 25% to 50% of the 2- to 4-month-old calves may not respond, but the susceptible individuals are usually protected with this one dose. If you want to make sure all of them are immunized, you need to revaccinate calves at weaning time. This will also act as a booster to those that did mount immune response in the spring, he says.

Ideally, replacement heifers should be vaccinated at branding time with viral and clostridial vaccines, at weaning time, and then again at least 30 days before breeding. They need three doses of those two vaccine groups before they meet the bulls, he says.

Key Points

Calves need vaccinations after their immunity from colostrum wanes.

Weaning time vaccination

Animal Health

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Recommended Vaccination Schedules For A Comprehensive Dairy Herd Health Program

Feeding practices, management styles, health care programs, and facilities vary greatly among dairy operations. Because of this, the degrees of stress, the patterns of disease resistance, and pathogen exposure are variable and unique to each operation. Consequently, there is no one size fits all vaccination program, but each program must be tailor-made to fit the individual needs of each dairy.

Immunization is a necessary aid to limit or prevent disease in cattle due to common agents, such as Infectious Bovine Rhinotracheitis virus, Parainfluenza-3 virus, Bovine Viral Diarrhea virus, Bovine Respiratory Syncytial Virus , clostridial infections, and leptospirosis. The design of a vaccination program must take into account a variety of factors including infectious disease problems in the immediate area or region. It is strongly recommended that producers contact a qualified veterinarian before proceeding with any herd health vaccination program.

Killed Vaccines Vs Modified

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The most common vaccines on the market are either killed or modified-live. Most killed vaccines are provided in a liquid form that is ready for immediate use. Modified-live vaccines usually come as a dry powder that must be reconstituted prior to use. They should be used within a few hours after reconstitution, and they are particularly sensitive to harsh environmental conditions and should be protected from extreme temperatures or exposure to direct sunlight. Modified-live vaccines contain the disease organism that has been altered so that it may reproduce after it is injected into the host it is designed to develop immunity against the agent without making the animal sick. Modified-live vaccines are generally not recommended for pregnant animals. It takes approximately two to four weeks after the initial vaccination for the animals body to develop sufficient protection against a challenge from the infectious agent included in the vaccine. Yearly boosters are usually recommended for both modified-live and killed vaccines. However, there are many new products on the market that are exceptions with regard to frequency of administration and handling as compared to older, conventional vaccines. It is important that all vaccines are handled and stored properly to maintain their potency, and always read and follow the instructions carefully. Table 1 lists advantages and disadvantages of both vaccine types.

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Primary Dose: Calves At 6 Weeks

This is when the primary dose of vaccine is given.It is important to vaccinate young calves to stimulate their own antibody production. Antibodies may increase for a few weeks. Depending on the disease you are vaccinating against, there may or may not be some level of protection following the first dose of vaccine. This is known as the primary response.

Raising Bottle Calves Is A Rewarding Experience Here’s The Information You Need Including Supplies The Feeding Process And Illness Prevention

Feeding bottle calves can be a great alternative to purchasing older cattle if you are willing to put in the work and pay attention to the details. Feeding bottle calves can be a rewarding experience, but there are some important things to know about keeping them healthy, how and when to introduce dry feeds, and what to do if they do get sick.

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What To Do About Lice

Although lice are seldom a problem during the warmer months of the year, cattle of all ages can become lousy in the fall and winter. Frequently, the parasites are carried in by birds.

Four kinds of lice bother cattle. Three suck blood and the fourth eats skin and hair. All cause itching and a slowdown in growth rates.

If your mini-herd becomes infested with lice, make up a delousing medicine by mixing 1 ¾ pounds of rotenone and one-half pound of detergent with 25 gallons of water then spray your animals with the liquid twice: once now and again in five to 18 days. This treatment will also ward off cattle grubs.

Vaccinating The Right Animal At The Right Time

Management Minute (C2C)

To determine the best time to vaccinate animals in your herd, first write down the breeding and calving seasons, and then schedule vaccinations and other management events. Most recommended vaccines are best given at specific ages and/or at specific times as related to management and reproductive cycles. For example, blackleg is a rapidly fatal disease of calves. Calves should be vaccinated for blackleg by 3 to 4 months of age when the temporary immunity from the dam has declined and the calfs immune system can respond to the vaccine.

When protecting cows against reproductive diseases, it is often best to vaccinate at least 6 to 8 weeks prior to the breeding season to allow time for development of a protective immune response. However, if vaccinating cows to increase the amount of antibodies in colostrum against diseases such as calf scours, you may need to vaccinate 1 to 4 months prior to calving. Vaccine timing varies from product to product, so always follow vaccine label directions with respect to vaccine administration timing to maximize product efficacy.

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Best Practice For Administering Vaccines To Calves

On the list of priorities for farms rearing calves this spring, one of the key management tips is to keep the calf as healthy as possible through their young stage. This will aid the maximising of both their weight gain performance and growth.

On the third episode of The Calf Show series Susanne Naughton from MSD spoke about the importance of having a vaccination programme this spring and the best practice that farmers can follow when it comes to administering these vaccines.

Obviously, farmers should note that administering vaccines does not override the need to maintain good hygiene practices within housing.

Young Calves Must Be Vaccinated

Many cattle producers stopped boostering vaccines at the recommended four to six weeks apart as situations on farms changed and herds got larger.

They left the initial vaccination to before weaning and then boostered it at weaning. Older calves in the spring were given blackleg because we knew for sure that colostral immunity would wear off, but the other vaccines were dropped.

Summer pneumonias increased in incidence, often caused by respiratory viruses such as bovine respiratory syncytial virus and shipping fever bacteria such as pasteurella and mannheimia.

Producers started vaccinating much earlier to try and avoid these summer pneumonias, which occurred when calves were hard to spot and check.

Even though the second booster shot was months apart, producers noticed that morbidity and mortality seemed lower.

When immunologists checked into this, they discovered that the booster response from the second vaccination was very good. Over time it was found that protection was good with many months in between booster shots.

This was great because vaccinations could be better co-ordinated with other management procedures, and in most cases did not require a separate pass through the chute. Whether it was weaning, implanting or deworming, the second shot of vaccine can be given at the same time as these procedures.

There was always the worry about vaccinating calves too young because of the blocking from colostral immunity.

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Glossary Of Conditions And Terms

Anaplasmosis. An often fatal infectious disease of cattle caused by a microscopic parasite of red blood cells, spread by ticks or horsefly bites or by reusing needles or instruments between animals. A vaccine is available in some states with a conditional USDA license, but unless the risk is high, a routine vaccination for anaplasmosis is not recommended.

Bacterin. A bacterial vaccine.

BRSV . A virus that can cause severe, acute respiratory disease, especially in young cattle.

BVD . A disease caused by bovine viral diarrhea virus , resulting in numerous problems, such as damage to the digestive and immune systems, pneumonia, abortions, calf deformities, and others. Incomplete vaccination programs, such as those omitting a needed booster vaccination, have led to BVD outbreaks in some herds.

Blackleg. A highly fatal disease of young cattle caused by one type of Clostridium bacteria. See Clostridial disease.

Brucellosis. An infection resulting in abortion in females and inflammation and damage to the testicles in males, caused by the bacterium Brucella abortus. Also known as Bangs disease. See Calfhood vaccination.

Calfhood vaccination . Vaccination against Brucella abortus for heifers between approximately 4 and 10 months old . Calfhood vaccination must be administered by a federally accredited veterinarian . Calfhood vaccination against Brucella abortus is not mandatory in most states.

PI3 . A virus that can cause respiratory disease.

The Most Dreaded Calf Disease Of Them All: Scours

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Scours comes in a number of varieties: white, green, black, and bloody. The disorder can be brought on by any number of upsets, including exposure to wet and cold, overfeeding, contact with an infected animal, or a trip through the auction yard.

The disease begins with simple diarrhea. Unless this is stopped at once, the afflicted calf soon begins to pass yellowish, greenish, or light-brown feces. At the same time, the calf becomes dull and listless, exhibits a below-normal body temperature , experiences dehydration, and may pass bloody stools. Pneumonia, and death often follow.

There are many scour remedies on the market. I have yet, however, to find one thatll work well after the disease has become at all advanced, and I have yet to find one that will nip scours in the bud as well as the home remedy weve used for fifteen years: Whenever I notice that a calf is passing looser-than-usual feces, I skip the next feeding of milk. In its place, I feed a fluid made by mixing three tablespoons of pectin in a cup of warm water.

Once the pectin finds its way to the animals digestive tract, it causes the stomachs contents to jell and stops the cramping.

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How Early Should You Vaccinate Calves

Youve made it through calving season successfully, now when should you start to vaccinate the young bovines?

Producers should consider vaccinating calves at 2 to 4 months of age, depending on the operation, said Dr. DL Step, professional services veterinarian, Boehringer Ingelheim.

Colostrum consumed by a newborn calf provides protection against infectious diseases. However, this protection is only temporary, lasting a few weeks to months, and calves must start building their own immunities. Thats why its important to vaccinate during this time of transition to help protect the calf until weaning age.

The following are three key benefits of incorporating pre-weaning vaccinations on your operation.

1. Reduced stress During weaning, calves are faced with stressors such as castration, transportation, disease challenges, weather fluctuations, dietary changes, and more. Stress can cause immunosuppression in a calf, decreasing its ability to respond to disease-causing pathogens and vaccines, making it susceptible to respiratory disease.

Early vaccination gives calves the opportunity to stimulate their immune systems to work at optimum levels, said Dr. Step.

BVDV Type 1b has been identified as the most common subtype found in persistently infected calves, so make sure the vaccine you choose offers solid protection against it, Dr. Step recommended.

When your calves are protected and healthy, it will show in their performance and well-being, said Dr. Step.


Proper Handling Of Vaccines

The best vaccine program will fail if the product is damaged by improper handling. For example, if the label says to store a vaccine at 35 to 45 degrees F, the vaccine should be refrigerated. Vaccines should not be allowed to freeze, nor should they be stored in direct sunlight.

Most MLVs must be reconstituted by adding sterile water to a dehydrated cake in a separate sterile vial. Once the water is added, the vaccine organisms are fragile and will be live for only a short time. As a rule of thumb, only reconstitute enough vaccine to be used in 30 to 45 minutes, and use a cooler or other climate-controlled storage container to protect reconstituted vaccines from extremes of cold, heat, and sunlight.

Keep needles and syringes clean to avoid infections at the site of injection. DO NOT use disinfectants to clean needles and syringes used to administer vaccines, especially MLVs. Even a trace or film of disinfectant in a syringe or needle can kill the live organisms and make the vaccine worthless. Follow product guidelines for cleaning multi-use vaccine syringe guns, but in general, after use, rinse thoroughly with hot water to clean the injection equipment, and then sterilize it using boiling water.

Figure 1. Use neck for injections. Do not inject in rump or leg.

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Protecting Calves Through Vaccination

Newborn calves gain temporary immunity from disease when they ingest colostrum, since this first milk contains antibodies. After a few weeks or months this temporary protection diminishes, so calves must build their own immunities.

Vaccinating at the proper time can help protect them until weaning age. Vaccinating them too soon, however, may not stimulate much immune response. If the calf still has maternal antibodies in its system, these interfere with building its own immunities.

Dr. David Smith of Mississippi State University says many producers may not think about why they are giving vaccines, or when.

We have our hands on calves at branding, so this is usually when people vaccinate. Thats not necessarily bad, but we do need to think about the problems we are trying to solve.

For most producers, the problem they are trying to solve is to prevent calves getting sick after they are weaned, as they go into a backgrounding phase or into the feedlot. Calfhood vaccines are generally given to try to stimulate some immunity to protect calves at weaning time.

Also, its standard practice to vaccinate against clostridial diseases because these deadly diseases may be a risk to calves at any age.

Calfhood diseases include blackleg and some of the other clostridial diseases like enterotoxemia and pathogens that cause scours, along with respiratory diseases like pneumonia.

Vaccinations For Different Animals In The Herd

Orf vaccination how to get the most out of vaccinating your sheep

Every cattle operation will have unique vaccination requirements based on individual herd goals, so the following guidelines for vaccinating cattle may not be applicable in all situations. The best use of these guidelines is as a starting point to develop an effective vaccination protocol with your herd-health veterinarian and/or Extension agent. When appropriate, ensure that products are safe for pregnant animals and for calves nursing pregnant cows. Properly store and administer vaccines according to label directions adhere to designated meat withdrawal times booster primary vaccinations when recommended and follow all Beef Quality Assurance guidelines.

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