By Mike Wells, DVM, Veterinary Operations, Pfizer Animal Health
When it comes to dealing with bovine respiratory disease (BRD), producers and veterinarians rely on vaccinations to help protect their cattle — refusing to gamble with the health of their cattle or their finances.
The good and bad news is that there are more options than ever when it comes to respiratory vaccines. For this reason, producers should keep several factors in mind when developing a vaccination program.
1. Talk to a Veterinarian
Veterinarians are familiar with the type of operation, frequency of new stock introductions, weaning practices and shipping requirements, giving them the ability to recommend the appropriate vaccination program to fit the operation’s needs and goals. Additionally, veterinarians are familiar with vaccines in the marketplace and are well-versed in the differences between them.
2. Evaluate All Options
Even when a vaccination program is already in place, it’s sometimes necessary to evaluate other options to ensure cattle are well-protected against viruses with which they may come into contact. For example, stocker and feedlot operations may find intranasal vaccines useful, especially on arrival, because an intranasal vaccine can help create an immune response where viruses attack first, helping to stimulate mucosal immunity and helping trigger a quick immune response. But that doesn’t mean traditional, systemic vaccines should be discounted. While intranasal vaccines may help provide a quick immune response, injectable vaccines often can help protect cattle against additional viruses and help provide duration of immunity, helping protect cattle throughout the management phases.
3. Use What Works
Respiratory disease is the most devastating disease for both cattle and producers, costing the industry up to $1 billion annually from death, reduced feed efficiency and treatment costs.1,2 Using vaccines that are safe for use in all types and classes of cattle and help provide immunity, help protect cattle through all stages of production and offer superior label claims, can help ensure cattle will be protected when BRD viruses challenges their immune systems.
With so many choices, developing a respiratory vaccination program can be a challenge. But with the help of a veterinarian and armed with the necessary information regarding a vaccine’s label claims, duration of immunity and the viruses it helps protect against, producers can choose vaccines that will fit their operation and goals.
Dr. Mike Wells is a veterinarian with the U.S. Beef Veterinary Operations team of Pfizer Animal Health. His primary responsibility involves providing technical support and expertise to the Pfizer Animal Health beef cattle field force, practicing veterinarians and cattle producers located in Iowa, Illinois, Minnesota, Missouri, Kansas and Nebraska.
Dr. Wells is a native of west-central Iowa and a 1974 graduate of the Iowa State University College of Veterinary Medicine. He received a master’s degree in veterinary science from the University of Nebraska in 2003. Before joining Pfizer Animal Health in 2003, Dr. Wells spent 29 years as a beef/mixed animal practitioner in Guthrie Center, Iowa.
In his current role, Dr. Wells primarily focuses on production medicine associated with feedlot cattle and cow/calf customers. His professional involvement includes the Academy of Veterinary Consultants, American Veterinary Medical Association, Iowa Veterinary Medical Association and the Iowa Cattlemen’s Association.
1Griffin D, Chengappa MM, Kuszak J, McVey DS. Bacterial pathogens of the bovine respiratory disease complex. Vet Clin North Am Food Anim Pract 2010;26(2):381-394.
2Brodersen BW. Bovine Respiratory Syncytial Virus. Vet Clin North Am Food Anim Pract 2010;26(2):323-333.