Spring Vaccinations Set Calves Up For Long-Term Success

It’s never too early to think about a calf’s respiratory health. The steps producers take this spring with young calves not only help protect them through grazing season, but can prepare the calves for a more complete immune response with pre-weaning and weaning booster vaccinations.

“Spring vaccinations for respiratory disease set calves up for success during the summer grazing season,” said Jon Seeger, managing veterinarian with Zoetis. “Fall vaccinations help calves respond to disease challenges during weaning and comingling.”

Seeger says it is key to protect calves against viral diseases that cause respiratory challenges like bovine respiratory syncytial virus (BRSV), infectious bovine respiratory (IBR) disease and parainfluenza 3 (PI3).

“With INFORCE™ 3 we see a great value in the rapid, lasting immune response to the intranasal administration in the spring with young calves,” said Seeger. “But we also see a more robust immune response when we booster at pre-weaning with modified-live combination vaccine, like BOVI-SHIELD GOLD ONE SHOT®, when it follows the intranasal in the spring.”

Research at North Dakota State University demonstrated a significant (p=0.006) immune response to BRSV in calves given INFORCE 3 at approximately 74 days of age, and again when boosted 153 days later with BOVI-SHIELD GOLD ONE SHOT.1

“The North Dakota study showed us that we had a solid immune response following primary immunization with the intranasal vaccine and had a significant boost in immunity when we gave the combination respiratory vaccine several months later in the fall,” explained Seeger. “The real benefit for calves to have the first dose in the spring is that if they are exposed to a disease challenge mid-summer they have a better immune response and are less likely to get sick, than if they aren’t vaccinated before summer grazing.”

Seeger also says it is important not to forget protecting against Mannheimia haemolytica and bovine viral diarrhea (BVD) types 1 and 2.

“The virals are our leading concern, but with a dose of ONE SHOT® BVD in conjunction with the intranasal, we can more completely protect the young calf from viral and bacterial challenges,” said Seeger. “And that first dose of Mannheimia really helps improve the response to the second dose at pre-weaning when bacterial pathogens are a bigger threat.”

Seeger concludes that producers should think of spring vaccinations as first steps in building a complete immunization plan for the calf. “Our goal is to set the calf’s immune system up for success in responding to disease challenges,” said Seeger.

For more information on developing a complete calf respiratory program, visit with your veterinarian or Zoetis representative, or go to CompleteCalfProtection.com.