Controlling bovine respiratory disease (BRD) in young, naïve calves takes careful planning and management. Using a three-pronged approach, you can ensure your calves have the best chance to be healthy and thrive during the next phase of their lives, and help build your reputation for selling healthy, quality calves, too.
To control BRD, minimize the exposure to diseases by:
- reducing the risk of disease introduction through carrier animals and herd additions;
- reducing external stressors like handling and sorting, commingling, malnutrition, weather and weaning; and
- implementing a robust preweaning vaccination program, giving those animals the appropriate antigens at the appropriate time.
“Preweaning vaccination starts at branding, or even at birth, on many ranches,” says Dr. Travis Van Anne, Senior Professional Services Veterinarian for Boehringer Ingelheim Vetmedica, Inc. “Oftentimes, we start at birth with a clostridial vaccine like Alpha-7®, and then at branding, around 1 to 3 months of age, we give a combination BRD vaccine, like Pyramid® 5 + Presponse® SQ, which has no age restriction for calves and can be used at this time as long as the cow is not pregnant.”
Preweaning Vaccine Timing
“It is important to give a respiratory vaccine like PYRAMID 5 + PRESPONSE SQ before calves leave the ranch to help the next guy in line, whether it is a stocker operator or a feedlot manager,” Dr. Van Anne says. “And, it will help build your reputation as a supplier of healthy, quality animals.”
Dr. Van Anne recommends giving PYRAMID 5 + PRESPONSE SQ, which protects against the common causes of BRD:
- infectious bovine rhinotracheitis (IBR)
- bovine viral diarrhea (BVD) Types 1 and 2
- bovine respiratory syncytial virus (BRSV), and
- parainfluenza 3 (PI3)
- M. haemolytica
He recommends the combination vaccine because it contains protection against Mannheimia haemolytica, a bacterium known to cause fibrous pneumonia in calves, which is the leading cause of BRD. Discover other reasons to choose PYRAMID 5 + PRESPONSE SQ.
Dr. Van Anne adds that giving a combination BRD vaccine to young calves helps prime their immune system to make a stronger immune response when they receive a booster shot 90-150 days later.
“Preweaning (preconditioning) time for calves normally starts at 30 to 90 days of age, which is when branding and/or turnout occur,” says Dr. Van Anne. “A second dose is needed when the calves are 4 to 8 months of age so they can respond more completely to the vaccine prior to or at weaning. Weaning is typically a more stressful time, so vaccinations 30 days prior to leaving the ranch, while calves are still on the cow are advised.”
The timing of the second dose of vaccine is critically important. Dr. Van Anne recommends giving calves a second dose of vaccine at least three weeks prior to weaning to give the calf time to create antibodies and a cell mediated response before the stress of weaning, shipping and commingling occurs.
“It is important to give a respiratory vaccine like PYRAMID 5 + PRESPONSE SQ before calves leave the operation to help the next guy in line, whether it is a stocker operator or a feedlot,” Dr. Van Anne says. “And, it will build your reputation as a supplier of healthy, quality animals that perform well and likely need fewer antibiotics. At the end of the day, preconditioning is an image the industry wants to support and display for our non-agriculture friends and consumers.”
For more information, contact your herd veterinarian or Boehringer Ingelheim Vetmedica, Inc. representative, or visit www.bi-vetmedica.com. For the latest on cattle health and product information, visit BIVI Prevention Works on Facebook.
Legal: Alpha-7, Pyramid and Presponse are registered trademarks of Boehringer Ingelheim Vetmedica, Inc. ©2013 Boehringer Ingelheim Vetmedica, Inc. All rights reserved.