Advertising and marketing methods affect the timing of the calf vaccination | cattle
With the year we’ve all been through, most would agree that everyone has a greater awareness of how vaccination and immunity are related. This applies not just to humans but to cattle as well, and the timing of when calves should be vaccinated depends somewhat on when they are marketed, according to experts at Kansas State University’s Beef Cattle Institute.
“Vaccines are most effective when given a few weeks before the calves are at risk for the disease,” said Brad White, veterinarian and BCI director, on a recent podcast on Cattle Chat.
Calves that leave the farm when they are weaned are at greater risk of respiratory disease due to being transported and mixed with cattle from different herds, according to veterinarian Bob Larson. For spring-born calves that are sold at weaning, Larson advised that the calves be vaccinated three to four weeks prior to this event for maximum immunity.
“We usually vaccinate calves against the respiratory diseases of IBR and BVD,” said Larson.
For cattle that remain on the ranch after weaning, Larson and White agree that these vaccinations can be given when the calves are a little older.
“Keeping the cattle healthy is not just about vaccination, but also about providing the cattle with good nutrition and minimizing the stress of weaning. The vaccines are just a tool, ”said Larson.
White added that it usually takes two to four weeks for the immunity created by the vaccine to provide an adequate level of protection.
For those producers who choose to vaccinate their calves at weaning, Larson emphasized the importance of planning low-stress weaning. Some strategies include finding the calves and their ridges over the fence, and offering water and feed in a familiar location.
“The time to start planning to wean the spring-born calves in October is now,” White said. “For some vaccines one dose is enough, for others two-dose treatment is required.”
The bottom line, Larson said, is to tailor these vaccinations to the situation.
“It is important to schedule vaccinations so that you are most at risk of disease, and often this is when there is a change in diet and exposure to cattle from other herds,” said Larson.
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