March 22, 2016
By Scott Nordstrom, D.V.M.
Springtime preventive measures before turnout can help increase the health and productivity of your cows and calves. This is the second article of a two-part series that looks at ways to get the best results from disease prevention programs.
In our previous post, we talked about the importance of using vaccines that state the duration of immunity (DOI) on the vaccine label. DOI is the length of time after proper immunization a vaccine is expected to provide protection following a pathogenic challenge.
DOI information is based on results of disease challenge studies, required by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). Historically, regulations did not require DOI data – and not all vaccine labels offer this information. Prior to DOI information being available, vaccination programs were planned without the knowledge of how long immunity would last.
DOI information gives cattle producers the ability to precisely time vaccination, which allows for the use of fewer vaccines, saving money on product and labor costs associated with administration. Fewer vaccines also mean fewer injections, which aligns with Beef Quality Assurance (BQA) programs, as there is reduced risk of carcass quality defects.
The most important step of developing a vaccination program is to think about your specific operation and what disease challenges your cattle face. Experienced veterinarians are the best resource for fine-tuning vaccination programs.
Veterinarians are familiar with diseases in the area, so they are the best counsel in making decisions concerning vaccine use and timing to match herd challenges. The goal is to make sure DOI will last throughout the periods of disease challenge.