One of the most common questions in cow/calf production is what vaccines are necessary on an annual basis to keep the herd healthy. The guidelines set forth in this article are designed to help answer that question but the details of what products to use and when to administer them are best decided by the producer and his or her veterinarian. Technology is constantly changing and updating science to make today’s vaccines safer and more effective than any time in the history of cattle production. However, the sheer number and types of vaccines and dewormers available today can make the correct selection of products challenging at the very least. Every farm is different with regards to the disease risk the cattle face and the challenges of labor and facilities needed to work the cattle. Your veterinarian is equipped with the knowledge and skills to determine what will work best for your unique situation.
Consult your veterinarian before instituting any health protocol.
Cows and Bulls 4-6 weeks Prior to Breeding
1. Viral respiratory vaccine (IBR, BVD, PI3, BRSV) with Campylobacter fetus (Vibriosis) and 5-way Leptospirosis- Fetal Protection (FP) product preferred. If the cow is pregnant at the time of vaccination, use a killed vaccine product to reduce the risk of accidental abortion. Certain modified live vaccines can be used in pregnant animals but only if used strictly according to label directions.
2. 7 way Clostridial (Blackleg)-necessary if under 2 years of age. Optional after that depending on the exposure risk of the herd.
3. Deworm-perform at least twice per year (spring and summer). If only once is possible, deworm in late June or July. Deworming in the fall is a good practice to reduce the number of worms that overwinter in the cow but is not as important as the spring and summer when larvae are active in the pasture.
4. Tag cattle for identification and/or re-tag those that have lost tags.
5. Breeding Soundness Exams are highly recommended for herd bulls.
Heifers 6 weeks Prior to Breeding
1. Viral respiratory vaccine (IBR, BVD, PI3, BRSV) with Campylobacter fetus (Vibriosis) and 5-way Leptospirosis-Modified live or killed product. Fetal Protection (FP) product is preferred. Follow label directions; some vaccines require a booster and some do not.
2. 7 way Clostridial (Blackleg)
3. Deworm with a branded (not generic) product. A heifer is under increased nutritional demand because she is still growing herself and trying to reproduce. Young animals do not have the immunity to parasites that adult cattle possess; therefore it is important to use effective dewormers.