Vaccination Timing

Published on: 10:31AM 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.


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