Large Animal Vaccinations
by Ben J. Character, DVM
With all of the choices available for the vaccination of livestock, it is hard to know what vaccinations are best for the needs or your herd. Unfortunately, there is no magical protocol. Each vaccination regime should be tailored to the specific needs of each operation. The following are some tips in deciding what vaccinations to use.
Blackleg: The vaccination for the Clostridial diseases (Blackleg) is probably the most common vaccination given. Infection from Clostridial bacteria can be devastating. There is usually no warning that the cattle are sick; most are just found dead. This vaccine is relatively inexpensive, and should be a part of every herd health program.
Respiratory viruses: These viruses include IBR, BVD, BRSV and PI3. Usually the vaccination will include all four of these viruses. The respiratory system is the most vulnerable system of cattle. These vaccinations are highly recommended.
Pinkeye: A complete herd health program will include vaccination for pinkeye. If the herd has any history of problems with pinkeye, vaccinating can be of benefit. The vaccine doesn’t necessarily prevent all infection, but will limit the severity if infection does occur. Vaccinating does not eliminate the need for other measures of fly control.
Pasturella: Pasturella is a bacteria that is the primary component of most pneumonia. Pasturella, along with the Hemophilus bacteria, can cause disease severe enough to kill cattle. The Pasturella vaccine is suggested for herds that are shipping calves or bringing replacements into the herd. The disadvantage to this vaccine is the cost.
There are a variety of other vaccinations that can be given and may be recommended for your herd. The best way to decide what is necessary to maintain the health of your herd is to consult your vaccination.