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Protecting your herd from disease takes more than just the vaccination

BI PreventionWorks 10/22/2012 @ 2:53pm

Correct handling and administration are key to maintaining vaccination effectiveness.

StJoseph, Missouri, August 16, 2012 — As beef producers move into the fall working season, it is important to keep in mind management practices to protect against disease challenges. 

Properly vaccinating calves is one management practice that can help calves be healthier, avoid financial losses down the road and provide the best possible product to the consumer.

However, simply vaccinating your calves is not enoughCorrect storage, handling and administration practices must be followed in order to ensure the effectiveness of the vaccination.

“As we consider vaccinating the calves, either pre-weaning or at weaning time, it is pretty universally accepted that protecting against respiratory disease, rather than treating disease, is far better for the animal, the producer and even for our consumer,” says DrJerry Woodruff, Professional Services Veterinarian for Boehringer Ingelheim Vetmedica, Inc.

Boehringer Ingelheim Vetmedica, Increcommends adhering to the following five keys to handling and using cattle vaccines to receive full benefit from vaccinations:

Store vaccines in accordance with labeling, generally 35°F to 45°FFollow label directions.
Protect vaccines and filled syringes from sunlight and heat.
Use modified-live virus (MLV) vaccines within an hour of mixing.
Discard bent or broken needlesChange needles often (about every ten animals).
Clean syringes with hot distilled water (212 degrees F)Use care not to burn your skin with hot waterDo not use soap or disinfectant.

Making sure vaccines are never frozen is key, says DrWoodruff, as freezing temperatures will cause damageExposure to sunlight and heat will have similar effects on the vaccinesFor modified-live virus vaccines, make sure to use them within one hour after mixing, as viability of the vaccine declines after mixing.

Changing needles every ten head is also critical, not only to ensure cleanliness, but to avoid unnecessary tissue damage to the animal.

“A burred or blunted end of the needle is likely to cause damage to the skin and underlying tissue,” says Dr

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