Today’s stocker operators are blessed with the availability of a wide variety of proven animal-health products for preventing and treating disease in their herds. However good the products are though, their effectiveness depends on proper storage, handling and administration. 

Kansas StateUniversity veterinarian Larry Hollis offers the following tips for assuring maximum benefit from your investment in animal-health products.


  • All modified live viral vaccines are susceptible to inactivation by sunlight. Keep the bottles in the cooler out of the sunlight and off of your dashboard. Also, keep the syringes out of the sunlight; sunlight will kill the vaccine in the syringe if left exposed to sunlight for more than a few minutes. A cardboard box laid on its side with the open side facing away from the sun makes a good shade for the syringe.
  • Modified live bacterial vaccines should be handled in the same manner as modified live viral vaccines.
  • Do not reconstitute more modified live viral vaccine than you will use in one hour. As soon as this type of vaccine is reconstituted the viral particles come to life, then gradually start to die off. If you take too long to use the product after reconstitution, enough virus can die to reduce the vaccine’s effectiveness.
  • Keep the reconstituted product cool.
  • Do not combine different vaccines in the same syringe unless they are manufactured to be mixed together. Unless the components are specifically made to be mixed together by the manufacturer, one portion of your mix may inactivate the other portion.
  • Keep vaccines thoroughly mixed until the bottle is completely empty. This is especially critical with any non-clear vaccines. Suspended particles will settle out over time.
  • Do not “beat” vaccines to get them into suspension. Swirl them gently to keep from damaging cellular particles or releasing endotoxins.
  • Use disinfectant-soaked sponges in a plastic paint tray to disinfect needles between animals. Stick the needle into the sponge to physically clean the needle. Change the sponge when it becomes visibly soiled.
  • Do not use disinfectants with modified live viral vaccines. The disinfectant will kill the vaccine! Wash out the syringe and other equipment used for modified live vaccines with sterile water only. Change needles at least every 10 head instead of using the disinfectant-soaked sponge and paint tray.
  •    It is safe to use disinfectants with killed vaccines, antibiotics and other pharmaceuticals.


  • Cleanliness also is essential when using injectable antibiotics. The antibiotic in the bottle will not necessarily kill contaminants.
  • Do not mix different antibiotics in the same syringe or bottle. Some cause an obvious physical reaction, some cause an unseen chemical reaction, and some antibiotics have conflicting modes of action that could neutralize the activity of each other.