Lesions from clostridial injections may be a thing of the past with a new injection method recently announced by Boehringer-Ingelheim (BI) for its Alpha-7(tm) and Alpha-CD(tm) vaccines.

Using a subcutaneous (Sub-Q) injection site at the base of the ear, prescapular (ahead of the shoulder) lesions are eliminated and any lesions created by the ear injection method do not affect trim or head condemnation at slaughter.

Injections are administered at the base of the non-implanted ear, just outside the auricular cartilage (see diagram). BI is currently providing training for veterinarians and feedlot personnel to ensure administration accuracy.

Beef Quality Advantages Norbert Chirase, research animal scientist with the Texas A&M Agricultural Experiment Station at Amarillo, says the Beef Quality Assurance aspects of this injection method are important to the industry.

"We know we want to create as little stress as possible when cattle are processed. This injection method creates less stress on the animal compared to intramuscular injections and allows them to pick up on feed intake much faster. Even though lesions on the ear did occur in some cases, it didn't slow feed intake.

"If more injections could be administered this way in the future, there would be fewer complaints about injection site abscesses and a lot less trimming at processing," Chirase adds.

In studies conducted at the Texas A&M Research Center in Bushland, TX, Alpha-7 was administered Sub-Q, prescapular or on the back of the ear. Twenty-eight days post-vaccination observation revealed final weights of steers were similar for all groups; average daily gain (ADG) was similar for each group as were feed-to-gain ratios, feed intake and conversion rates.

In a commercial feedlot study, no difference in ADG, feed-to-gain ratio or quality grade at closeouts were observed among cattle injected with Alpha-7 via the ear or prescapular. Similar results were noted for Alpha-CD.

For more information, contact BI at 800/821-7467.