Vaccination Protocol Considerations By Michael Cox for American Dairymen Magazine
n ounce of prevention is worth a ton of cure,’ is an expression that rings true for animal health. As dairymen, we are all too familiar with the lost time and stress a disease outbreak in the herd can create for ourselves and the farm team. Being proactive and assessing what disease risks are troublesome to your farm is time well spent. Thanks to modern medicine, many animal health diseases are now almost fully preventable through using a comprehensive and properly administered vaccination program. In this article, we will look at some of the considerations involved in designing a robust vaccination protocol to help protect both your herd and the farm team from the stresses of poor animal health.
Consulting with your veterinarian and/or local extension officer is an important first step to designing a vaccination schedule. With such a myriad of different vaccines available on the market nowadays, producers need to plan out how and when certain vaccines will be administered to different groups of cows. Advice from your veterinarian
can help mitigate issues such as ‘over-stacking’ vaccines caused by jabbing too many vaccines on the same day.
Vaccines can work wonders in preventing illnesses, but their success relies on administration at the optimum time to animals at different stages of the lactation and
dry periods. Advice from University of Missouri Extension suggests that the dry period is perhaps the most convenient and effective time to vaccinate adult cows. Vaccinating during the early dry period will ensure that all cows are being targeted at the same stage of the production cycle. This has several benefits; no loss of milk production will occur as cows are dry, all cows in the group can be given booster vaccines at the same time near the end of the dry period, immunoglobin levels in colostrum will be increased due to cows reacting to the vaccine and strong immunity will be present in the following lactation and breeding periods.
Most veterinarians will suggest a base vaccination protocol to target the most common and potentially threatening diseases. These include * Continued on page 20