Administering vaccines is a very important task that can have a huge impact on the health and well-being of cattle and the profitability of the dairy. Here are answers to some important questions about how and why we vaccinate dairy cows.
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|Basic training for vaccinating cattle|
|El Lechero Dairy Basics - Management|
Why do we give vaccines?
Vaccines protect cows from diseases that make them sick. Just like people get vaccines to protect against diseases like the flu, chickenpox and measles, cows need vaccines to protect them against diseases like Infectious Bovine Rhinotracheitis (IBR), Bovine Viral Diarrhea (BVD) and Leptospirosis.
Cows that are not vaccinated properly are much more likely to get sick. When calves and young cows get sick, they do not grow and develop properly. When adult cows get sick, they don’t produce as much milk. And caring for sick animals costs the dairy money and makes it less successful.
How do vaccines work?
A vaccine contains a killed or weakened part of a germ that causes infection. Because the germ has been killed or weakened before it is used to make the vaccine, it cannot make the cow sick. When a cow receives a vaccine, its body reacts by making protective substances called antibodies.
Theses antibodies help to kill off germs the cow may come into contact with in the future. In other words, vaccines expose cows to germs safely, so that they can become protected from a disease without getting sick.
How do I read the label?
A label is the information printed on the outside of the vaccine bottle. This same information is also on a printed piece of paper that comes in the box containing the bottle. The label contains instructions for administering the vaccines and other key information.
The three most important sections of the label are “indications,” “directions” and “precautions.” Let’s examine what each of those sections is about, using Vira Shield® 6 as an example. Vira Shield 6 is a vaccine that prevents several respiratory and reproductive diseases in cattle.
Indications—This section tells you what disease or diseases the vaccine prevents and what types of cows should receive the vaccine.
INDICATIONS: For use in healthy cattle, including pregnant cows and heifers, as an aid in the prevention of disease caused by infectious bovine rhinotracheitis (IBR), bovine virus diarrhea (BVD Type 1 and BVD Type 2), parainfluenza Type 3 (PI3), and bovine respiratory syncytial (BRSV) viruses. Produced from non-cytopathic (BVD Type 1 and BVD Type 2) and cytopathic (BVD Type 1) isolates.
DIRECTIONS: Shake well before using. Administer 5 mL subcutaneously. In accordance with Beef Quality Assurance guidelines, this product should be administered subcutaneously (under the skin) in the neck. Revaccinate in 4-5 weeks. Vaccinate dairy cows at dry-off. Revaccinate annually or as recommended by your veterinarian.
PRECAUTIONS: Store out of direct sunlight at 2°-7°C (35°-45°F). DO NOT FREEZE. Use entire contents when first opened. Do not vaccinate within 60 days prior to slaughter. Transient swelling may occur at the site of injection. Anaphylactic reactions may occur. Symptomatic treatment: Epinephrine. Contains amphotericin B, gentamicin, and thimerosal as preservatives.