Beef Research School: Matching a Vaccination Program to Each Herd’s Risk Level

Establishing the vaccination needs and schedule for your operation is going to depend heavily on your herd’s risk level. Fully closed herds, where not even bulls are bought in, have a lower risk level and different risk profile than a herd that is buying replacement heifers, feeder cattle or mature animals, be they bulls or cows.

Understanding specific disease threats based on disease life-cycles or production practices also factors in to the vaccination schedule and selection of vaccine type. As Dr. Nathan Erickson, of Highview Animal Clinic, explains in this video, access to new vaccine products and understanding which vaccine to administer when go a long way in fine-tuning an overall herd health plan.

Once you’ve developed a year-long plan for your ranch’s vaccination needs, it’s important to practice proper vaccination technique to minimize contamination of vaccine vials, the spread of bacteria between animals and broken or lost needles. A key aspect of safe vaccine delivery is in proper handling, and, as you’ll see in this video, where you inject livestock is equally important to how, based on squeeze chute or handling facilities. Failure to do so results in injection site lesions, which cost the industry over $600,000 in 2011, or broken needles which should then be documented throughout the animal’s life.

Please note: At the 2:15 mark, Dr. Erickson refers to the “Lepto virus”; it is, in fact, a bacteria. He misspoke and apologizes for the error.


If you cannot see the embedded video, click here.

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