Choosing the Right Vaccine Program for Your Cow Herd
With so many vaccine options available, it can be tricky to decide what products to use in your cow herd. One of the major decisions to make is whether to use a killed vaccine or a modified live vaccine (MLV) to protect against the respiratory viruses: IBR, BVDV, BRSV and PI3.
It helps to outline the pros and cons of each type of vaccine:
MODIFIED LIVE VACCINE
*The IBR portion of the live vaccine causes inflammation of the ovary, which can affect the egg. Giving the vaccine at least 30 days prior to breeding allows females to cycle, providing a viable egg and giving the best chance to catch on the first cycle of breeding season!
**CattleMaster GOLD FP5 is the only “killed” vaccine on the market with a FP label claim
Vaccination program options in order of best protection:
#1. Using a MLV each spring, approximately 30 days prior to breeding.
- Although arguably the most inconvenient program, this gives the highest protection over the highest risk period, for the lowest cost.
- If heifers received the same brand product at weaning, they can enter the program in spring
- With full coverage. Ie; Bovi-Shield Gold One Shot in fall and Bovi-Shield Gold FP5 in spring is OK.
#2. Using a MLV in the fall at preg check.
- To avoid the risk of causing abortion, this program requires significant effort to start up.
- It is required that females receive 2 doses of the MLV (same brand) before they are pregnant in order to safely receive the MLV at preg check.
- For your cow herd this can be accomplished with 2 shots (> 4 weeks apart) in the spring pre-breeding, or 1 shot each spring for 2 years in a row. For heifers, this can be a weaning and pre-breeding shot.
- Once set up, this program provides the second highest level of protection, and can represent significant cost and time savings in the future compared to options #1 or #3.
#3. Using a killed vaccine in the:
a) Spring < 30 days prior to bull turn-out
- If you have run out of time to use a MLV in the spring, but it is feasible to vaccinate cows as you load them to send to pasture, then this is a good option. This will allow the greatest protection to coincide with the greatest risk period.
b) Fall at preg check
- Fall vaccination provides some protection against BVD PI calves (< 125 d gestation), and does improve colostrum quality, but in general the cow’s immunity will be lowest during the high risk period. Therefore, this is probably the least effective timing for vaccination. However, it is still MUCH BETTER than not vaccinating at all!!
Again, it is important to highlight that any vaccine (when label directions are followed) is better than not vaccinating. Vaccines are a simple way of insuring the health of your cow herd. In fact, many products come with a guarantee by the company - which can be a great marketing tool!
If you are interested in setting up a vaccine program, or changing from your existing program, May is the month to make the change! Please call or stop in the clinic and we will help tailor a program that’s right for you!
The SWAHC Veterinary Team
Written by: Dr. Brittany Wiese