Why it’s important to protect calf health prior to birth

Here are 4 considerations for a fetal protection program

May 29, 2017

1 Min Read
Why it’s important to protect calf health prior to birth

Source: Zoetis


Herd health is important for a couple of reasons. And many producers vaccinate their calves at branding and weaning. But have you considered vaccinating your calves before they’re born?

That’s what you do when you vaccinate your cows. At the herd level, low pregnancy rates, abortions and calf deaths are some of the real economic losses associated with inadequate fetal protection against reproductive diseases.

Protecting the health of the unborn calf is important not only to the vitality of the calf but also the cow’s well-being and future productivity. A healthy, productive cowherd can help improve the financial health of a cow-calf operation.

“When we discuss major reproductive diseases in beef cattle, our primary viruses are infectious bovine rhinotracheitis (IBR) and bovine viral diarrhea (BVD) viruses Types 1 and 2,” explained Mark Alley, DVM, veterinarian with Zoetis.

Alley says it is important for producers and veterinarians to look at the labels to make sure they are selecting vaccines that are effective in protecting against the reproductive forms of these important diseases. This means looking for the following information on the vaccine label:

  • “FP” in the name of the product, which is a designation that the vaccine provides fetal protection

  • Indication to prevent or control IBR-related abortions

  • Indication to prevent or control BVD persistently infected calves

  • Indication to prevent or control BVD fetal infection

“What we’re doing by using fetal protection vaccines is that we are effectively protecting the calf prior to birth. If you couple that with a proper nutritional program, we’re setting that calf up for success in being able to reach its full genetic potential, from the time it’s conceived all the way through the production cycle,” Alley says.

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