In most stocker and feedlot operations there is a 30- to 60-day starter phase, where cattle are acclimated to their new surroundings and health is monitored closely. Standard practice is to vaccinate shortly after arrival and boost two weeks later. In many cases, the arrival antibiotic can mask the lack potential effects of the arrival vaccination program, so health problems are assumed to be due to resistance of the on-arrival antibiotic, not the lack of effectiveness of the vaccination program.
OSU ran a 60-day trial in which more than 1,400 high-risk calves were assigned to one of three vaccine protocols on-arrival at the feedlot. This trial was published as "Evaluation of Commercially Available Multivalent Modified-Live Viral Vaccines on Health and Performance in Feedlot Cattle," in Jacobs Journal of Vaccines and Vaccination, Nov. 17, 2015.
The calves in the OSU study were not given an antibiotic on-arrival. Health and performance outcomes were measured to show the differences between the groups.
The three vaccine groups were:
- INFORCE 3 and ONE SHOT BVD on-arrival; booster 14 days later with BOVI-SHIELD GOLD 5
- Pyramid 5 + Presponse SQ on-arrival; booster 14 days later with Pyramid 5
- Vista Once SQ on-arrival; booster 14 days later Vista 5
The INFORCE 3 and ONE SHOT BVD group was given an intranasal modified-live viral (MLV) vaccine for bovine herpesvirus 1, bovine respiratory syncytial virus (BRSV) and parainfluenza 3 (PI3) virus, in addition to an injectable MLV vaccine for bovine viral diarrhea (BVD) virus types 1 and 2, and M. haemolytica.
The other two groups were given an injectable combination MLV respiratory and M. haemolytica vaccine.
It was expected several calves would need a first BRD treatment in the first 10 days of the study, since vaccines require time for the calves’ immune systems to mount a response. There was no statistical difference at the first treatment between the groups.
The real difference between the groups occurs when looking at the percentage of calves needing a second and third BRD treatment, says Douglas Hilbig, DVM, Beef Zoetis Technical Services.
The INFORCE 3 and ONE SHOT BVD group showed significantly less (p-value = 0.01) second and third treatments when compared with Vista Once SQ. INFORCE 3 and ONE SHOT BVD had measurably less mortality when compared to Pyramid 5 + Presponse SQ and Vista Once SQ.
Although the regimen using INFORCE 3 and ONE SHOT BVD required the greatest initial cost, the reduction in mortality losses experienced by the calves vaccinated with INFORCE 3 and ONE SHOT BVD resulted in an overall per-head benefit of $16.87 and $32.49 compared with calves vaccinated with Pyramid 5 + Presponse SQ and Vista Once SQ, respectively.
"The study confirms that on-arrival vaccination protocol of high-risk calves impacts re-treatment and mortality rates," Hilbig says.
He adds another important point from the study is that a protocol with an intranasal viral vaccination can result in improved well-being and better cattle performance.