Disease Control Takes a Program Approach

For complete disease protection put together a program that goes beyond just using products.


By Dr. Bruce Hoffman, DVM, Elanco Animal Health

It's frustrating when you administer vaccines that aren't giving you the results you expected. Walking through a pen of sick calves can be demoralizing when you think you're doing everything to keep them healthy.

The answer to disease control goes beyond the products you're using. A program approach is the best path to taking control of disease outbreaks in your calf herd.

A program approach means going beyond just vaccinations. Products that have a fetal protection claim are not fool proof --persistently infected (PI) animals can still be created in the herd and it only takes one PI animal in the herd to cause reproductive, disease and performance issues.

Developing a biosecurity plan is the start to this program approach. Bovine Viral Diarrhea (BVD) can enter the herd in several ways: bringing in a PI fetus from a bred cow or heifer, using a positive bull, and fenceline contact with BVD positive animals are all possibilities. A solid biosecurity plan can help keep these threats out of your herd.

Another part of the program includes PI testing. There are easy ways to know if BVD is causing an issue in your herd. Properly testing young calves from first calf heifers --the most susceptible animals in your herd --is an important first step. If a PI is identified, a testing plan can help to eliminate the disease from your herd.

The final part of the program includes getting your replacements a solid vaccine foundation which includes BVD vaccines. Timing is important, so start with a quality modified live virus (MLV) vaccine while the calf is still on the cow. A second MLV vaccine for BVD should be given after weaning but at least a month and a half prior to breeding to avoid lower conception rates.1 After confirming pregnancy, a properly adjuvanted inactivated vaccine should be used, and again annually at pregnancy check. This vaccination program --using an MLV before breeding and then an inactivated vaccine after a heifer enters the herd --is part of a program that can lead to lifetime immunity from BVD.

Vaccines from Elanco fit seamlessly into the ideal disease control program, starting in the calf herd. NUPLURA PH+3 helps prevent BVD Types 1 & 2 and Infectious Bovine Rhinotracheitis (IBR) in calves and keep calves on feed with minimal sweats and other setbacks.2 It also provides protective immunity for BRD caused by M. haemolytica in as few as 10 days after vaccination. This fast and strong protection is especially useful during periods of elevated stress.

The Titanium line of vaccines are MLV with consistent and proven Bovine Respiratory Disease (BRD) protection at a competitive price point. Unlike other respiratory disease vaccines, the Titanium portfolio does not impact feed impact or milk production with little to no post-treatment side effects.3,4 When bred heifers enter the cow herd, Vira Shield offers a complete line of flexible, safe and powerful inactivated vaccines that protect against up to 13 respiratory, reproductive and leptospirosis diseases. The Vira Shield line is safe to use in pregnant cows, heifers and calves nursing pregnant cows.

Each herd is different, so each vaccination program should be flexible enough to meet unique situations yet still provide complete protection from young calves to brood cows. Work with your herd health veterinarian to create a vaccination program that fits your herd's unique needs.

1Perry GA, Geary TW, Walker JA, Rich JJ, Northrop EJ, Perkins SD, Mogck CL, Van Emon ML, Zezeski AL, Daly RF. Influence of vaccination with a combined chemically altered/inactivated BHV-1/BVD vaccine or a modified live BHV 1/BVD vaccine on reproductive performance in beef cows and heifers. Bov Pract 2018;53-58.

2Elanco Animal Health. Data on file.

3Elanco Animal Health. Data on file.

4Elanco Animal Health. Data on file.

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