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Dairy Today Healthline

Protect Your Dairy’s Reproductive Program

Nov 18, 2012

An informed choice on vaccines and vaccination timing to control infectious diseases is critical.

Van Dyke 20small[1]By Tom Van Dyke, DVM, Manager of Veterinary Services, Merial Limited

Attention to detail is critical to the success of any reproductive program on the dairy farm as there are numerous management factors that can affect pregnancy rates. Although they may not be as exciting to ponder as the latest "synch" program, infectious diseases can make even the best reproduction protocol turn out badly. These diseases can lower conception, cause early embryonic death, or induce abortion.1 Vaccines are just one set of management tools used to minimize the impact of these infectious diseases. An informed choice on vaccines and vaccination timing to control these diseases is critical.

Brucellosis, Leptospirosis, Vibriosis, Trichomoniasis, Neospora, and the viruses IBR and BVD would all make the list of usual suspects of diseases with reproductive loss implications. 1 Animal health companies have provided commercial vaccines to help protect against each of these diseases either as monovalent (single antigen) vaccines or in various combinations. The commercial vaccines may differ from each other by the strains of infectious agents used, adjuvants added to help boost immune response or whether the viral (IBR, BVD, etc.) fraction is Modified Live Virus (MLV) or Killed Virus (KV).1 Each will have specific precautions and recommendations to be followed for best results.1

In some cases, a veterinarian may believe that a "one-size-fits-all" combination vaccine may not contain the desired strain, or may contain others not desired in the individual situation. An autogenous vaccine may be recommended. Autogenous vaccines and bacterins are made-to-order from the virus or bacteria causing disease in a livestock operation. 2 The resulting product is specific to the disease causing strain in that herd. 2 Because this vaccine is a custom product, it is especially important to follow the veterinarian's and manufacturer's recommendations.

So, what vaccines should you use to enhance your reproduction program, and how should you use them? Consult with your veterinarian to assess the risk on your farm and what management practices can be used to minimize the risk of infection. Choose vaccines and vaccination protocols that fit the operation. Monitor results periodically, and adjust as necessary.

1 Kirk, JH., Infectious Abortions in Dairy Cows, Veterinary Medical Extension Veterinary Medicine Teaching and Research Center University of California, Davis,
2 Peck S., Made to Order, Beef Magazine, Oct. 1, 2002,

©2012 Merial Limited, Duluth, GA. All rights reserved. RUMIOCY1204 (11/12)


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