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Vaccine choice could be affecting reproductive successVaccine choice could be affecting reproductive success

Research data suggests that vaccine choice can have a larger impact on reproductive efficiency than once realized

Industry Voice by Elanco

November 1, 2018

3 Min Read
Vaccine choice could be affecting reproductive success

Getting back to the basics of reproduction

Reproductive efficiency is one of the most important factors affecting the profitability of a cow/calf herd. And there is good research to back up that belief.

“When it comes to getting back to the basics of reproductive performance, we really need to be able to evaluate herd performance measures, such as calves born per cow exposed,” said W. Mark Hilton, D.V.M., DABVP and Elanco technical consultant. “If we can evaluate these metrics, it helps us identify gaps in reproductive efficiency in clients’ herds.”

Implementing industry best practices — such as estrus synchronization (ES) and artificial insemination (AI) —  can help ensure a successful breeding program, but several other factors can also influence reproductive efficiency, from nutrition to health management. One factor — vaccine choice — may be affecting your clients’ reproductive efficiency more than you realize.

Vaccine impact on reproduction

Research at South Dakota State University demonstrates how the vaccine you recommend 30 days prior to breeding can affect reproductive performance.1 The trial compared Vira Shield®, an inactivated vaccine, with a modified live vaccine (MLV) on previously vaccinated heifers and cows up to 13 years of age.1

“What surprised us when we looked at the modified live [vaccine] versus the inactivated vaccine was the difference in AI conceptions between the two vaccines,” said George Perry, Ph.D., Professor and Beef Reproductive Management Specialist, South Dakota State University. “Compared to the modified live vaccine, the inactivated vaccine demonstrated a higher conception rate throughout the season.”

The data show:1

  • The MLV tended to reduce the percentage of cows that calved in the first 21 days of the calving season compared to Vira Shield

  • This decrease in calving percentage remained over the entire calving season

  • Vira Shield resulted in 6.5% higher first-service conception rate

“The results translated to calving results,” said Perry. “Cows that were bred earlier, calved earlier, which affects weaning weights. After you get a late start, everything else is negatively affected from a performance standpoint.”

Rethinking vaccine options for reproductive success

“If a producer’s focus is the same as a traditional cow/calf producer, where they’re not bringing in lots of outside animals, the question that comes from this data is, ‘Can I improve conception rates by switching to an inactivated vaccine?’” said Perry. “From what we have seen in this data, cattle receiving an inactivated vaccine had a 6.5 percent higher first-service conception rate, with a higher percentage of cows calving in the first 21 days.”

To protect their bottom lines, producers are constantly evaluating opportunities to improve reproductive parameters.

“In the past, we didn’t know the impact a vaccine had on future estrus cycles,” said Hilton. “But now, we can use this data to consider the potential impact on our clients’ herds.”

Vira Shield — honest, hard-working proven protection

Establishing lifetime immunity is critical in setting your clients up to win by preventing reproductive and respiratory diseases that can negatively impact performance. Vira Shield helps establish immunity by providing a complete line of flexible, safe and powerful inactivated vaccines that protect against up to 13 respiratory, reproductive and leptospirosis diseases.

“Data1 demonstrates that using Vira Shield 30 days before breeding provided improved reproductive performance compared to the MLV,” said Hilton. “It’s critical to evaluate your clients’ vaccine programs to ensure you’re helping them get the most out of their breeding program.”

To learn more, talk to your Elanco technical consultant or sales representative.


1Perry, G., Larimore, E., et al. 2016. "Influence of vaccination with an inactivated or modified-live viral reproductive  vaccine on reproductive parameters in beef cows."

Vira Shield, Elanco and the diagonal bar logo are trademarks of Elanco or its affiliates.
©2018 Elanco or its affiliates.
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