Vaccines are an important part of herd health management. It is a relatively inexpensive way to invest in the health of your herd by preventing or reducing the severity of respiratory, reproductive and other disease. Core Vaccines All cattle in Virginia should receive the following vaccines annually: Clostridial 7-way: Commonly called “blackleg”, this is a vaccine that is critical in calves and should be boostered annually in animals one year and older. Calves should receive their first dose around three months of age. If using a product that requires a booster after the initial dose, it is essential to booster at the appropriate time. Occasionally in high-risk situations, we will suggest a first dose earlier than three months of age. The Clostridial diseases often cause sudden death in outbreak situations. Treatment is difficult and prevention is cheap. IBR-PI3-BRSV-BVD1&2: This is the five-way respiratory/reproductive vaccine. Calves should receive one or two doses prior to weaning. All breeding animals should receive this vaccine annually. The vaccine reduces respiratory disease and improves fertility in breeding animals. Modified live vaccines provide the strongest, longest-lasting immunity, but carry certain risks. Be sure you understand the specific risks of the brand/product that you choose. Leptospirosis: This vaccine must be boostered annually in pregnant animals. Leptospirosis causes mid to late-term abortion. Other Vaccines There are dozens of other vaccines available for various health concerns, such as scours or pinkeye. In general, we try to minimize our use of vaccines unless we deem them necessary in a particular herd. Brucellosis (Bangs) vaccination is typically recommended in replacement heifers between four and 12 months of age. Timing of Vaccines Ideally, vaccines are not given during times of stress. This means that vaccination at weaning is to be avoided when possible. Beef cattle vaccine protocols can range from one to four round-ups per year. The timing of shots can be adjusted to the number of round-ups that suits your needs and to get the most out of your vet checks.
Contact Old Dominion Veterinary Services to develop a protocol appropriate for your herd. We can help you design a program that suits your needs so that herd immunity is maximized at the most important times of the year.