Increasing the use of vaccinations on farms has become more important than ever, with the January 2022 antibiotic regulatory changes just around the corner.

This new legislation coming into effect regarding antibiotic usage on farm, means farms will have to use a more holistic approach to treating animals.

Vaccinations

Using vaccinations to protect animals from possible illness rather than treating an animal once it has become sick, will go a long way towards reducing antibiotic use on farms.

Vaccinations are an effective way of preventing the spread of illness on farms, from diseases such as:

  • Bovine Viral Diarrhoea¬†(BVD);
  • Leptospirosis;
  • Clostridial diseases;
  • Infectious Bovine Rhinotracheitis (IBR);
  • Pneumonic Pasteurellosis; and many more.

Before vaccinating animals, it is important that they are in good health beforehand. Vaccination is not the only method of disease control, and should be supported by additional on-farm measures, such as biosecurity and diagnostic testing.

How vaccines work

Vaccines stimulate an animal’s immune system without infecting them with the disease. Vaccines help to prevent disease and work best when used in groups.

If a vaccinated animal comes in contact with a disease, the animal’s immune system will recognise it and immediately produce the antibodies needed to fight the disease-causing bacteria.

Vaccinations are a worthwhile investment in farms that suffer from disease outbreaks. Outbreaks can often be unpredictable and can have a major financial impact on farms.

Storage and usage

There is a wide variety of vaccines available. Vaccines usually have specific storage requirements; most need to be refrigerated up until use.

Live vaccines are particularly fragile, if they become either too hot or frozen.

Some vaccines are suitable for use in pregnant animals, which can increase antibodies in colostrum. This helps to protect their offspring from possible diseases.

It is important when administering a vaccination that the instructions are followed. Dosage requirements are usually different to other medicines. There is often a set dosage rate, with no variation due to weight.