For cow-calf operations looking to send off to feed yards, Early vaccination of calves can enhance herd health and produce quality animals. Dr. Daniel Cummings is a professional services veterinarian with Boehringer-Ingelheim. He talks about some of the challenges calves can face leading up to weaning.
“One of the biggest challenges that we see is disease protection from colostrum is actually temporary. Once the protection from colostrum runs out or wanes, which can last from a few weeks to a month, we can see some disease from that point forward, so that’s one of the challenges we face. Calves during that period can face multiple challenges externally. You look at nutrition, dietary changes, castration, other disease challenges, overwhelming pathogens, transportation, weather challenges as well. Some of the stressors that I’ve mentioned during that period can cause immunosuppression, where it can suppress the immune system and that can certainly lead to an increased risk of disease.”
Cummings says the immunosuppression from stress can lead to an increased risk of diseases like respiratory disease or bovine viral diarrhea virus. He talks about the advantages of vaccinating calves early to help counteract those challenges.
“By doing that early on, we want to minimize the risk of disease, we can build that immune response, and we can certainly vaccinate calves. Cattles as young as five to six weeks of age can be immunized. So we can effectively immunize and protect against those two viral pathogens and others by vaccinating at an early age”