December 1, 2015
By Kevin Hill, D.V.M
Pregnancy-check is a time to identify and sell open cows. But, just as important, it is an opportunity to take the steps necessary to ensure pregnant cows deliver calves that are healthy and vigorous. Among those steps, vaccinations for prevention of late term abortions and colostrum enhancement are key.
If your cow herd was not vaccinated in the spring before breeding, now is the time to give the annual respiratory and reproductive vaccine boosters. A killed or modified-live vaccine, labeled as safe for pregnant cows, can be used. MLV vaccines should only be used if a cow has been vaccinated within the past 12 months with the same vaccine. Vaccines providing protection against Bovine Viral Diarrhea (BVD), Infectious Bovine Rhinotracheitis (IBR), vibriosis and leptospirosis are essential.
Vaccinating cows prior to calving also will stimulate antibody production that will result in higher-quality colostrum, ultimately giving calves better protection when they’re born. For example, you can administer a scours vaccine six to seven weeks prior to calving to boost antibody levels in the cow’s colostrum so the newborn calf will have increased protection from scours.
A healthy calf is your most valuable asset, and keeping the mama cow healthy is the best way to ensure a strong start to the next calving cycle. Be sure to talk with your veterinarian and document any vaccinations, parasite control or other treatments that the cow receives. The steps you take now will help ensure the last 90 days of pregnancy have a positive impact on your herd’s future