Total calf health solutions: Have you got every angle covered?

Within a week, farmers witnessed summer-like weather conditions with highs of 17°C, which quickly turned back to wet and windy winter conditions of -2 to 3°C in some parts. The change in temperature has brought on a mix of wet and cold weather, which has resulted in animals being re-housed.

Changing temperatures along with the movement of animals can cause stress. Stress can weaken the immune system of an animal, especially young calves. A weakened immune system is an opening for disease which can lead to a lack of thrive and, in some cases, mortality.

Feeding adequate high-quality colostrum, having strict hygiene practises and well-ventilated sheds will all help calves thrive in the early weeks of life. However, this won’t always guarantee that the calves will stay healthy over the spring period.

MSD Animal Health has a wide range of calf health solutions for farmers to reduce disease levels and mortality on farm this spring. It is best to work with your vet to create a calf health plan for your calves.

Alternatively, you can build your own calf health vaccine calendar here at: Or simply  click here

This system will send you a free reminder text seven days prior to the vaccination due date and provides you with a printable vaccine calendar for the farm wall.

In the first month of life, scour is the biggest cause of mortality in calves. Work with your vet to determine what is causing scour in your calves. If it is caused by rotavirus, corona virus or E. coli (K99), vaccinating may be a solution to reduce the shedding of disease.

MSD Animal Health has a single 2ml shot scour vaccine, to be administered into the muscle of pregnant cattle 12-3 weeks pre-calving. Antibodies that protect against these bugs are passed to the calf from the cow by feeding colostrum in the first hours of life.

Cryptosporidium parvum, better known as crypto, can also be a cause of scour in young calves. Crypto typically infects calves in the first one to two days of life, resulting in disease in the first few weeks. Again, have dung samples tested to determine the cause of scour before commencing treatment.

MSD Animal Health has a product that is licensed to treat and protect against scour caused by Cryptosporidium parvum. It is an oral dose given at the rate of 2ml per 10kg body weight. Commence treatment 24-48 hours post birth for seven consecutive days.

For more information, go to: Or simply click here

In one to five month old calves, respiratory disease becomes the greatest cause of death. Good airflow down at calf level in sheds can help remove bugs from their airspace. This will help reduce respiratory disease-causing bugs in the air but, again, this will not ensure that pneumonia won’t strike.

Bovipast RSP protects calves against RSV, PI3 and provides the broadest protection against Mannheimia (Pasteurella) haemolytica¹. Bovipast RSP is a 5ml shot given under the skin to calves from two weeks-of-age.

A 5ml booster shot is given four weeks later. Conveniently, and from a labour-saving point of view, Bovipast RSP can be administered on the same day as Bovilis IBR Marker Live from three weeks old.

Do not mix the vaccines together when administering them. Bovilis IBR Marker Live is a 2ml dose and must be administered up the nose if being given to calves younger than three months-of-age.

It is best to discuss a suitable vaccination plan for your calves with your vet prior to vaccinating.

For more information, go to: Or simply click here

Further information

For more information on Calf Health Solutions, check out the MSD Animal Health webpage at:; or the MSD Animal Health Twitter page: @msd_ah. Click here for more information

¹Mannheimia (Pasteurella) haemolytic A1 & A6.