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Kick-Start Respiratory Vaccination At Turnout

Using an intranasal vaccine at branding or summer turnout can help producers prepare calves to kick-start their fight against bovine respiratory disease (BRD), according to Dr. Michael Nichols, DVM, Cattle and Equine Technical Services, Pfizer Animal Health.

“There are intranasal vaccines that can be used in very young calves,” Dr. Nichols says. “In fact, an ideal time to use them is at branding or turnout for two major reasons — some intranasal vaccines can help override maternal antibodies present in colostrum and they can help prime the calf’s immune system, helping make future vaccinations more effective.”1-3  

Ingestion of adequate colostrum after birth is critical to a calf’s health during the first months of life. While antibodies present in colostrum can help fight off diseases in young calves, they also can interfere with the immune response to vaccination, potentially making the vaccine less effective.1 A recent trial tested young calves’ ability to respond to bovine respiratory syncytial virus (BRSV) vaccination in the presence of maternal antibodies received from colostrum. The results demonstrated that calves vaccinated with INFORCETM 3 respiratory vaccine had almost half the lung lesions, 44 percent fewer, and reduced morbidity when compared with non-vaccinated calves.2

“This trial indicates that the BRSV fraction present in INFORCE 3 can override BRSV maternal antibodies,2 which is especially important for young calves at branding or turnout, as BRSV is a primary cause of viral pneumonia and can be particularly damaging to calves from birth through weaning,”4 Dr. Nichols says.

In addition to overriding BRSV maternal antibodies, during another recent trial, it was shown that INFORCE 3 doesn’t interfere with concurrent use of a Mannheimia haemolytica vaccine and even helps make subsequent BRSV vaccinations more effective.3

“Historically, vaccination protocols for beef calves have been developed primarily on the basis of convenience, with little consideration given to the potential interactions that may occur when multiple vaccines are given concurrently,” Dr. Nichols explains. “This study was conducted to further clarify these vaccine interactions.”

It showed that calves vaccinated with INFORCE 3 and ONE SHOT® at branding had similar antibody responses to those vaccinated with ONE SHOT alone, meaning INFORCE 3 did not interfere with the concurrent use of ONE SHOT. And, these same calves had substantially greater BRSV antibody levels following vaccination with Bovi-Shield GOLD® 5 at weaning.3

“INFORCE 3 helps prime the immune system, and this study shows it can help make weaning vaccinations with Bovi-Shield GOLD 5 more effective for BRSV,”3 Dr. Nichols says.

INFORCE 3, a three-way intranasal vaccine, can help provide protection against infectious bovine rhinotracheitis (IBR) virus, parainfluenza 3 (PI3) virus and most importantly, prevent respiratory disease caused by BRSV — an especially dangerous disease for young calves. BRSV can play a major part in the BRD complex because of its frequency of occurrence, tendency to settle in the lower respiratory tract and ability to predispose the respiratory tract to secondary bacterial infections.

While vaccination at branding with INFORCE 3 can help protect calves against these damaging effects, Dr. Nichols recommends producers consider following with an injectable vaccine, which stimulates the rest of the immune system and helps provide duration of immunity.

No matter the operation, Dr. Nichols recommends producers work with their veterinarians to evaluate their vaccination program to decide whether an intranasal vaccine is a good choice.

“INFORCE 3 is an ideal vaccine to use at branding or turnout because it can help override maternal antibodies and prime the calf’s immune system, helping make later vaccinations at preconditioning and weaning more effective,”1-3  Dr. Nichols says. “But BRD is a complex disease, and a veterinarian can help review herd health programs and overall management aspects to help producers decide if an intranasal vaccine can add to their operation.”

About Pfizer Animal Health

Pfizer Animal Health, a business unit of Pfizer Inc., is a world leader in the discovery, development and manufacture of innovative animal health vaccines, medicines, and diagnostics.  Pfizer Animal Health invests more in research and development that any other animal health company.  We work to assure a safe sustainable global food supply from healthy beef and dairy cattle, pigs, poultry, and fish while helping dogs, cats, and horses live healthier longer lives. To learn more visit,

For more information, contact:

Jean Lonie
Pfizer Animal Health
[email protected]

Wendy Mayo
Bader Rutter
[email protected]

1.     Vangeel I, Antonis A, Fluess M, et al. Efficacy of a modified live intranasal bovine respiratory syncytial virus vaccine in 3-week-old calves experimentally challenged with BRSV. Vet J 2007;174(3):627-635.

2.     Data on file, Study Report No. 3131R-60-10-760, Pfizer Inc.

3.     Cortese VS, Seeger JT, Stokka GS, et al. Serologic response to Mannheimia haemolytica in calves concurrently inoculated with inactivated or modified-live preparations of M. haemolytica and viral combination vaccines containing modified-live bovine herpesvirus type 1. Am J Vet Res 2011;72(11):1541–1549.

4.     Grubbs ST, Kania SA, Potgieter LND. Prevalence of ovine and bovine respiratory syncytial virus infection in cattle determined with a synthetic peptide-based immunoassay. J Vet Diagn Invest 2001;13:128-132.