Healthy calves are the result of good planning. Working with your veterinarian, you can develop a vaccination and health management plan based on the age of your animals, location and best management practices (BMPs). Your health plan should also stress preventive management through sanitation, observation, preparation and vaccination of the cow herd. Vaccination can help prevent diseases in animals and reduce illness. 

To be effective, vaccines need to be properly handled using effective sanitation protocols. Here are some sanitation tips from the Dairy Animal Care & Quality Assurance (DACQA) handbook. 

  • Keep the contents of the bottle sterile.
  • Clean transfer needles regularly to avoid contamination.
  • Do not go back into the vaccine bottle with a needle once it has been used for anything else.
  • When vaccinating groups, change needles frequently (every 10 head).
  • When using killed vaccines, keep a saucer or sponge of alcohol or disinfectant nearby, and wipe off the needle after each use. However, do not disinfect needles between injections when using a modified live vaccine, as the disinfectant can destroy the vaccine.
  • Make sure the injection site is clean. Injecting into a wet or muddy site increases the risk for spreading disease and increases the incidence of injection-site lesions.

Be sure to follow Beef Quality Assurance guidelines for proper handling and administration of all vaccines and animal products. To learn more, visit or DCHA's Gold Standards III.

Tip provided by The Beef Checkoff.

Source: Dairy Calf & Heifer Association