It’s Fall Vaccination time!
Now’s a good time to run your cattle through the squeeze chute for their fall vaccinations. Vaccinations and fall treatments can be given to each heifer/cow after the veterinarian determines whether or not she's pregnant. At the same time, you should also consider the following management practices to keep your cows and heifers in top shape for the coming winter weather.
Parasites: Parasite control is important in a fall management program. Especially if you’re a 100% Grass-Fed Operation! It doesn’t matter if your 100% Grass-Fed, Grass-finished or in a "Controlled environment" (Feed-lot). The primary parasites to worry about are grubs, lice, worms and in some locations liver flukes. Liver flukes will be easy for your cattle to get especially in areas such as the North East that has experienced record rainfall. Many Farmers/Ranchers use a pour on product that is effective against both grubs and lice. Most veterinarians recommend fall treatment of all cattle for lice control. You should also assume that any new animal brought into the herd is carrying lice. Any animal in the herd suspected of having lice should be treated in early fall before lice populations build up (to help keep lice from spreading to the rest of the herd), and all animals should be treated in late fall before infestation becomes severe. Effective control of lice requires two treatments two weeks apart if using a product that kills only lice and not the eggs. The second treatment kills lice that hatch out in between.
If cattle are being put through a squeeze chute, a pour-on is usually the simplest way to control lice. Oil based pour-on’s are formulated to travel through the hair coat so the chemical spreads over the whole body of the animal. If you are just getting started raising/grazing cattle and don’t have a squeeze-chute yet, the simplest way to perform your fall and than spring parasite program is to use a "Worming Block".
Your local Feed Store or Feed Mill should have a worming block and the instructions are on the box or wrapper as to how long to leave it in your mineral feeder. It should be used as a replacement to your regular mineral block and not in addition to. Meaning, take the regular mineral block out of the feeder while the worming block is in there. That way you know your animals aren’t being selective and possibly missing the benefits of the worming block based off of individual animals tastes.
Check with your veterinarian for advice on insecticides and which products might be best for your herd based on where in the country you are located. Treatment for grubs in northern regions should be given before December, while treatments in warm southern states should be no later than mid October.
Vaccinations: A 9 way is recommended for healthy Dairy & Beef cattle of all ages, including pregnant cattle as an aid in the reduction of disease caused by IBR, BVD, PI3, BRSV. No matter which vaccine you use, it should always be given subcutaneously (just under the skin), and in the side of the neck. That way, any tissue damage that occurs can be easily trimmed out at slaughter without sacrificing good parts of the beef carcass. Most veterinarians now recommend vaccinating all cows for Leptospirosis in the fall as well as in the spring. Leptospira can cause abortion at any stage of pregnancy, and the Lepto vaccination is effective for only six months. Your Vet may also recommend twice a year vaccination for IBR and BVD. Since pregnant cows cannot be given modified live virus vaccinations for these diseases without risk of abortion, the standard procedure is to use modified live virus vaccine before the breeding season in the spring, and a killed vaccine product during pregnancy, in the fall.
Check with your Veterinarian for advice on a vaccination program and a schedule that will protect your herd against common diseases in your area. You won't need to give a clostridial vaccine to adult cattle unless you live in the mountain west regions. But you will need to vaccinate for Leptospirosis wherever you are, and sometimes IBR and BVD.