Controlling bovine respiratory disease (BRD) in young, naïve calves takes careful planning and management. Using a three–pronged approach, you can ensure your calves have the best chance to be healthy and thrive.

Dr. Travis Van Anne, Professional Services Veterinarian for Boehringer Ingelheim Vetmedica, Inc., recommends the following three steps to help control BRD:

  1. Minimize the exposure to diseases by reducing the risk of disease introduction through carrier animals and herd additions.
  2. Reduce external stressors like handling and sorting, comingling, malnutrition, weather and weaning.
  3. Implement a robust preweaning vaccination program, giving those animals the appropriate antigens at the appropriate time.

"Preweaning vaccinations start at branding, or even at birth on many operations," Dr. Van Anne says.

Dr. Van Anne recommends giving a viral vaccine, like Pyramid® 5 + Presponse® SQ that includes protection against IBR, BVD Types 1 and 2, BRSV and PI3. He also recommends the vaccine contain protection against Mannheimia haemolytica, a bacterium known to cause fibrous pneumonia in calves.

Dr. Van Anne adds that giving a combination BRD vaccine to young calves at 30-90 days of age helps prime their immune system to make a more complete immune response when they receive a booster shot 90 to 150 days later. The booster vaccine should be given at least three weeks prior to weaning, to give the calf time to create antibodies before the stress of weaning, shipping, and comingling occur.