“Using MLVs in pregnant cows is possible with some approved MLV vaccines, if the same vaccine was previously administered prior to breeding. But this requires vigilant recordkeeping,” notes vander List.“If the health and vaccination history of a pregnant female is unknown, do not use MLV vaccines,” he says, adding that MLVs also should be used no closer than three weeks prior to breeding. This is especially important in heifers that may not have been vaccinated before.
Because dairies usually have ready access to their adult animals, killed vaccines may be practical, but the one-shot convenience of MLVs may be appealing for calves and heifers. Van der List cautions, however, to avoid vaccinating calves at the same time as weaning, dehorning, castration, etc., as these stressful events may compromise calves’ ability to respond fully to vaccines.
In some vaccines, MLV and killed organisms are incorporated in the same product, as is the case with Express® FP-10. Van der List says separate MLV and killed vaccines may be given safely at the same time. But he recommends administering no more than two Gram-negative vaccines (such, Salmonella, E. coli, Leptospirosis and Mannheimia) in one session to avoid overloading animals with endotoxins. Clostridial vaccines also are included in this group.
Finally, vander List emphasizes the importance of vaccinating healthy, non-stressed, well-nourished animals (with adequate energy, protein, minerals and vitamins) to ensure optimal vaccine response. “The herd veterinarian should be consulted to establish protocols that allow the herd to stay ahead of disease challenges, rather than respond to them after they occur,” he says.“The purpose of vaccination is to keep you from falling into a hole, not help you dig your way out of one.”
To learn more about dairy vaccination protocols and disease prevention, visit BI-Vetmedica.com/Cattle.
Boehringer Ingelheim Vetmedica, Inc. (St. Joseph, MO) is a subsidiary of Boehringer Ingelheim Corporation, based in Ridgefield, CT, and a member of the Boehringer Ingelheim group of companies.