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Vaccinate for scours

The implications of harsh winter weather can lead to important health problems in cattle herds, including scours in newborn calves. So, amid all of the problems caused by recent winter storms and their muddy aftermath, Kansas State University veterinarian Larry Hollis is encouraging producers not to forget vaccinating cows and heifers for scours.

"First and foremost it's important to read the label on vaccines," Hollis says. Generally, heifers should be given a first vaccination about seven weeks prior to calving with a follow- up injection four weeks prior to calving, he said. If a producer is also concerned about scours in calves born from cows, the cows should typically be vaccinated about 30 days ahead of calving.

"It's also important to make sure cows have adequate Vitamin A as they come into calving season, especially considering how dry it was coming into winter," Hollis adds. However, he cautions if a cow needs a Vitamin A injection, as well as a scours vaccination, they need to be about a week apart to avoid an 'antagonistic reaction,' which could lead to abortion.

"Nobody likes to work cows twice like that -- especially in the kind of weather we've had recently, but that can help avoid any problems later on," he says.