29 September 2000

New vaccine protection for calves

CALVES can now be protected against a new sub-strain of bacterial pasteurella that is becoming more important in the UK.

Oxon-based animal health company Vetoquinol, manufacturer of the new vaccine Tecvax Pasteurella 1-6, says this could save dairy farmers at least £85/year for a £5 investment.

This was estimated using figures from a herd suffering 10% mortality and 10% reduction in growth rates in heifer replacements caused by Pasteurella haemolytica.

Lower growth rates are the biggest cost to farmers of pasteurella, adding about £52 more in feed and forage costs, said the companys vet adviser Mark Leddy.

But the development of a new strain of pasteurella – A6 rather than the previously more common A1 – caught the industry by surprise. "The sudden emergence of A6 serotype has come as a surprise and has been no effective vaccine to fight it until now."

The new vaccine will protect calves against both serotypes A1 and A6 strains.

It is a POM licensed product and will be on sale through vets. Mr Leddy is expecting it to cost about £5/calf.

To gain full protection calves require two doses three weeks apart, after they are at least four-weeks-old and it can be administered safely by farmers. &#42