Preventing scours early
Protecting calves against disease as early as possible after birth is essential to maximize lifelong health and performance. Because of the many stressors they face in the first few hours of life, calves are especially vulnerable to scours. The combined effects of scours can add up to thousands of dollars each year, so helping protect against these potential losses is critical.
“The problem with scours is not just death loss, but also the treatment costs and performance loss associated with scours,” said Bruce Hoffman, D.V.M. and Elanco Cattle Vaccines Director. “Scouring calves have a higher propensity to get sick later on, and they also will have poorer weight gain than calves that did not get scours.”
The first two to three weeks of life are vital to getting calves started off right.
“If you lose performance in those first few weeks, you set yourself up to lose a lot of performance over the entire life of the animal,” said Craig Bieber of Bieber Red Angus Ranch in South Dakota. “By using a vaccine intervention, specifically Scour Bos®, we’ve seen the incidence of scours reduced significantly, getting calves off to a better start.”
Getting started off right
“As we see operations grow in size and we have more heifers coming back into the cow herd, we’re seeing more pressure on increasing cattle numbers without necessarily expanding pasture sizes,” said Hoffman. “That pressure can potentially lead to increased incidence of scours.”
That’s why Hoffman says it’s so critical to prevent scours. Effective vaccination programs for scours rely on having adequate levels of antibodies in the colostrum for the calf on the first feeding.
“If a calf doesn’t get a good dose of colostrum from that mother, that’s going to lead to a poor immune system, so it’s important to make sure calves get up and nurse aggressively,” said Hoffman. “The second thing is: how do we get that good antibody in that colostrum? The key is that we vaccinate appropriately prior to calving. The advantage of this practice is that you expose the cow to an antigen that creates good antibodies in the first milk. A good vaccination program will allow a calf to receive the right antibodies from colostrum to prevent scours.”
Broad protection against scours
According to Bieber, the reduction in scours on his ranch can be tied to the broad-spectrum protection Scour Bos provides against the primary causes of the disease — coronavirus, rotavirus, K99 E. coli bacteria and Clostridium perfringens Type C. Compared to most competitors, Scour Bos covers a larger number of key antigens and isolates them to ensure this broad protection.
“With so much potential infection due to a variety of causes, choosing a vaccine with broad-spectrum protection is key, and that’s what Craig has experienced on his operation,” said Kenton Carlson, Bieber’s Elanco sales representative.
Bieber used Scour Bos for approximately 10 years with satisfaction, but decided to try another product that appeared to be “a better deal.”
“When we tried the other product, we almost immediately started having issues with scours during calving that we hadn’t had before,” Bieber said. “The next year, we switched back to Scour Bos, and that spring, we had hardly any problems.”
“The Midwest typically sees a higher incidence of scours, especially because of a wide range in temperatures and weather conditions during calving time,” said Carlson. “Scour Bos has a flexible vaccine window of up to 16 weeks prior to calving that allows Craig and other producers to ensure their vaccine protocol will help protect their calves against that stress.”
Unlike other scours vaccines that have a shorter vaccination window, Scour Bos can be administered 8 to 16 weeks pre-calving,* offering the flexibility to vaccinate at preg-check or other timing based on each operation’s protocols and management practices.
“Many producers in our area give their vaccine in August or September, during ultrasound time,” said Bieber. “For our operation, we maximize our immunity by giving Scour Bos 9 in October, followed by Scour Bos 4 four to six weeks before calving. We have a lot of flexibility with this product.”
“Improving cattle production is a critical part of why I do what I do,” said Carlson. “Fall is a critical time to evaluate health management protocols, and I enjoy working with veterinarians and their clients to help identify areas of opportunity.”
Continuous evaluation of your clients’ herd health protocols can make a big impact on the overall health and performance of their herd.
“We take a look at all of our vaccination protocols every year to make sure we’re doing the best job we can. We obviously left using Scour Bos and realized it was a mistake,” said Bieber. “Scour Bos is a product that works well for us.”
To learn more about the powerful, flexible protection of Scour Bos, contact your Elanco sales representative or visit scourbos.com.
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*16-week vaccination window for initial vaccination. In subsequent years, administer up to 10 weeks pre-calving.
Elanco(®), Scour Bos(®), Full Value BeefTM and the diagonal bar are trademarks owned or licensed by Eli Lilly and Company, its subsidiaries or affiliates.
© 2016 Eli Lilly and Company, its subsidiaries or affiliates.