Why you should think like a dairyman when it comes to vaccinations
As housing approaches each year, farmers are also thinking about what to dose and vaccinate with around housing. This decision-making process should ideally be done in conjunction with your veterinarian.
They will put you on the right track of what tests might be done within your herd to establish exposure to particular diseases.
Many suckler herds are now replicating what their dairy neighbor is doing and testing a sample of their cows via random blood samples to try to establish the disease status of the herd and take action accordingly. If a particular disease is subsequently identified in a herd, your veterinarian will advise you on the best course of action.
If you’ve had a lot of breathing problems, don’t ignore them; investigate and act. For farms purchasing cattle from herds of unknown health status, the best practice may be to vaccinate all cattle against IBR.
This decision should be made in conjunction with sound veterinary advice. The timing of vaccinations and any required boosters is important to optimize disease coverage.
Housing livestock, even using good management practices, will increase stress levels, making them more susceptible to contracting the disease from carriers within the farm. This seems to be quite the case when it comes to respiratory diseases such as IBR, RSV and PI3.
Many lactating breeders also vaccinate pregnant cows to prevent calf diarrhea, and if this has been a problem in the past, it should be considered.
Consider introducing young animals to their indoor diet prior to housing to reduce feeding stress which compounds any environmental stress. This should include both roughage and concentrates to be given indoors.
As part of disease control, it is important that sheds are cleaned and disinfected to avoid carrying over insects from last winter.
Parasite control advice should also be sought from your veterinarian. Suckler cows are often not dosed, but is it the right thing to do? Some will dose first calves on drying and not mature cows.
If in doubt, ask your veterinarian to take samples and establish the parasite load of your herd and establish the necessary control measures.
For those of the BEEP, if you have chosen to do the excreta sampling option, you will obtain the relevant information. Many herds report positive results for liver fluke, even in herds considered to be dry and lower risk.
Be sure with all stock that you follow all manufacturer recommendations when using doses and vaccines.
- Brian Reidy is an independent ruminant nutritionist at Premier Farm Nutrition.