How to vaccinate spring-calving suckler herds

Vaccines can be a vital tool for controlling infectious diseases but it is important to remember that they are only one element of an overall herd health plan, according to Animal Health Ireland (AHI).

It says that it is important to put in place bio-exclusion measures to prevent disease entering your herd and bio-containment measures to prevent disease spreading within your herd.

Which diseases to vaccinate against?

Prior to putting in place a vaccination protocol, it is important to assess your herd’s infectious disease status with the aid of your veterinary practitioner.

This will involve looking at herd records and testing animals to see what diseases are present on your farm.

Where available and considered appropriate, vaccines can then be used to minimize the impact of those diseases which are already present and those for which there is an unacceptable risk of introduction.

Herd health plans and vaccination protocols should be reviewed with your veterinary practitioner on a regular basis.

The Animal Health Ireland (AHI) Vaccination Planner for Spring Calving Suckler Herds:

AHI vaccination planner

*There are various protocols for IBR vaccination. Discuss with your veterinary practitioner. Do NOT vaccinate potential A.I sires for IBR.

**All cattle vaccinated with the primary vaccination course of a Salmonella vaccine should receive a booster at least two weeks prior to each period of risk or at intervals of not more than 12 months thereafter.

As part of an overall herd management programme, for pregnant cattle, it is advised that for each subsequent pregnancy, a booster should be given approximately three to four weeks before calving to provide a sufficient level of colostral protection for calves.

The other risk for cows is abortion in late pregnancy and a booster in mid pregnancy may be considered. Discuss with your veterinary practitioner.

***Depending on the product, BVD boosters may be required every six months or annually.

Rebecca Carroll Assistant Programme Manager, Animal Health Ireland.

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