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November 2009 Archive for Cattle Healthline

RSS By: Dan Goehl, DVM, Beef Today

Dan Goehl, DVM, and his wife own and operate Canton Veterinary Clinic in Canton, MO, where Dan works primarily with stocker and cow/calf beef operations.

Vaccination Timing

Nov 16, 2009

Reader asks:
 

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Just read your article (Protect Your Herd from Vaccine Failure), makes sense. We have some cattle in central Missouri. What and when should we give vaccinations for our cow-calf operation?

Dan's response:

Personally. I am a believer in modified live vaccines. On the cow side some of these are approved for use in pregnant females, but this should not be used as a crutch to vaccinate in an untimely manner. My preferred program would be a modified live vaccine (containing IBR, BVD 1, BVD 2, PI -3, BRSV) 2 to 4 weeks prior to bull turn out. 

If you are using artificial insemination to group your calving season, increase genetic quality etc (another topic in itself), then you may need to do this before the synchronization program begins. There is a 33 day protocol that allows for vaccine at CIDR insertion.  The modified live vaccine I use contains Vibrio and Lepto.  This is the basic vaccine implemented into a herd.  Depending on history other vaccines that may be considered may include pinkeye, Hardjo bovis Leptospirosis, and scour vaccine to name a few. 

The calf vaccination program most commonly used consist of 7-way blackleg, modified live 5-way and Pasteurella.  I am comfortable giving the first round of vaccines as soon as the last calf is a few weeks old.  I have found, especially in fall calving cows, this helps with winter pneumonia.  The drawback to doing this is that most “tag” programs require the calf to be at least 120 days old.  In a herd with a well ran herd health program cows should be well vaccinated and calves should receive good colostrum.  There is no reason why these calves should not be able to wait until at least 120 days to be vaccinated.  These vaccines are then boostered as appropriate.   


Dan Goehl, DVM, and his wife own and operate Canton Veterinary Clinic in Canton, MO, where Dan works primarily with stocker and cow/calf beef operations. Dan is also partner in Professional Beef Services, LLC, which offers herd consultation and helps in data management and marketing of beef cattle.

 

This column is part of the Beef Today Cattle Drive e-newsletter, which is delivered to subscribers biweekly and includes beef industry analysis, market information as well as the latest beef headline news. Click here to subscribe.

When to Use Metaphylaxis

Nov 02, 2009

By Dan Goehl, DVM

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to Dan Goehl
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Metaphylactic use of antibiotics(giving the product to head off mass spread of disease in a group) in purchased calves can be an useful management tool. 

This decision is not to be taken lightly for several reasons. Antibiotics should always be used prudently to avoid overuse and cost on these products can run over $15 per head depending on the product and the size of the calf. 

There are several factors that we use to make a decision on metaphylactic use. Source, purchase pattern, size/age of calf, value of calf, management practice, availability of help, availability of time to ride pens, vaccination history (if known), weaned or unweaned are among some of the factors we look at. These items are used to determine a risk level for each pen of calves and then a decision is made rather to treat on initial processing event or pull cattle that appear ill and treat at that time. 

On pens of cattle that the determination is made to pull and treat, we still keep pen level treatment on the table. As treatments mount up in a pen, we may determine it is time to mass treat the pen to prevent the “perfect storm”. 

It is best to set trigger points to determine when that time has arrived. Some rules of thumb are 20 - 25% on one day or 10% two or more days in a row.  These also will vary from operation to operation. One reminder I give to clients that implement this strategy is when the trigger point is reached on Sunday morning or Christmas Day the antibiotics need to be given that day.  If this is not an option then the plan needs to be adjusted. Allowing 24 hours to pass can be a fatal flaw in stopping the spread of the pathogen (disease causing agent).

There are several reasons that these practices can be beneficial. One of the advantages is that it helps cover up our inability to determine which calf is ill and if ill will it benefit from antibiotics. This ability varies from person to person but as a whole the industry is not very good at identifying these animals.  This is not to discredit the talent of pen riders, there is simply no good way to visually determine the answer. Our ultimate goal of our health programs is to decrease the reproductive rate of disease to below one. That is for every animal that becomes sick less than one more animal will become sick as opposed to a disease that has a high reproductive rate where every animal that gets sick infects several more animals.

Often when we use metaphylaxis we will see the peak in sick pulls to be extended out to after day 14 but we are able to keep this reproductive rate of disease low through the initial acclimation period. At this later time the calves are on good plane of nutrition and our vaccinations have had time to begin to provide protection. 

Ultimately our goal should be to only use metaphylaxis if it will decrease the respiratory sickness and death loss. Using it to overcome shortcomings in other management practices should not be tolerated. 

Dan Goehl, DVM, and his wife own and operate Canton Veterinary Clinic in Canton, MO, where Dan works primarily with stocker and cow/calf beef operations. Dan is also partner in Professional Beef Services, LLC, which offers herd consultation and helps in data management and marketing of beef cattle.

This column is part of the Beef Today Cattle Drive
e-newsletter, which is delivered to subscribers biweekly and includes beef industry analysis, market information as well as the latest beef headline news. 
Click here to subscribe.

 

 

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