Vaccination costs could be worthwhile later

5 October 2001

Vaccination costs could be worthwhile later

IT IS estimated that a third of calves suffer from respiratory disease at some point in their lives, which can lead to lung damage, reduced growth rates and high treatment costs.

Yet less than 20% of UK calves are vaccinated against the infectious causal viruses, says Pfizer Animal Healths vet adviser Georgia Owen.

"The initial cost of vaccinating calves could put off many producers. But treating pneumonia with antibiotics and anti-inflammatories and the invisible costs associated with low weight gains outweigh vaccine costs."Using a vaccine for a few years after a bad outbreak will hide the fact there is still a potential herd problem. Stopping vaccination programmes to cut costs will probably cause further flare-ups," she warns.

It is best to seek vet advice when herds are threatened by respiratory disease, to determine the best form of control. This will include looking at housing, management and preventative treatments, she adds.

Justine Stewart, a vet with Intervet UK, explains that vaccines work using a small dose of virus pathogen to challenge calves immunity to set up a defence mechanism. "Next time calves come into contact with the virus, defences are mobilised."

Choice of vaccine will depend upon the age of stock and viruses present on farm (see table). "Blood tests or autopsies done by the vet can identify specific virus challenges, but when this is impractical, a more general vaccine could be the answer, particularly for bought-in animals."

Only healthy animals should be involved in a vaccination programme and this should be completed before calves and cattle are housed, says Ms Stewart. "This allows full immunity to develop, giving them the best chance to fight pathogens."

She advises marking stock with spray when vaccinating to ensure all animals in the herd have been treated and reminds producers to use clean, sharp needles.

Miss Owen warns vet advice must be taken on the best course of action for unvaccinated animals when faced with an outbreak of disease. "Usually it is too late to vaccinate when cattle are already coughing, but when the IBR virus is involved, vaccination can stop viral shedding and prevent disease."

Booster vaccinations in subsequent years to keep immunity against viruses high should be discussed with the vet, she adds. &#42

Cattle vaccines controlling respiratory diseases

Product name Company name Active against

Bovilis Huskvac Intervet UK Lungworm — young cattle

Bovilis IBR Intervet UK IBR

Bovilis IBR and PI3 live Intervet UK IBR, PI3

Bovipast RSP Intervet UK RSV, PI3 and Past. haem

Imuresp Pfizer PI3 — calves/growing

Imuresp RP Pfizer PI3, IBR

Pastobov Merial Animal Health Past. haem

Rispoval RS Pfizer RSV

Rispoval 4 Pfizer RSV, PI3, IBR, BVD

Rispoval Pasturella Pfizer Past. haem

Tecvax Pasteurella 1/6 Vetoquinol UK Past. haem A1+A6

Torvac Vericore (Novartis) RSV

Tracherine Pfizer IBR — calves

Infectious Bovine Rhinotracheitis (IBR), Bovine Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV)

Bovine Parainfluenza 3 Virus (PI3), Pasteurella haemolytica serotype A1 (Past. haem)

See more