Up to now, about the only way a cattleman could help his cattle develop a strong immune system was by vaccination. But information is growing that immune function and health may begin long before an animal is ready for vaccination, says Gordon Brumbaugh, a veterinarian with Pfizer Animal Health.

“Studies have identified genetic contributors to resistance against some diseases. As more is learned about particular genetic markers, specific selection criteria may be available. The genetic basis for health emphasizes that preparing defenses against disease may actually begin with selection of brood stock.”