Dont count out reproductive diseases: vaccinating cow herds offers protection

Aug 19, 2011
by WLJ

Today’s cattle producer is increasingly mobile— traveling to sales or conferences and never out of the cattle industry loop with the help of a smart phone. And, the same can be said for many of today’s herds. Due to the increasingly mobile cattle population, diseases that may not have been a problem for closed herds of the past may be a concern.

“I still believe in closed herds, but the reality is, our herds are extremely mobile. And, with that, you can get the spread of infectious bovine rhinotracheitis (IBR) virus and bovine viral diarrhea (BVD) virus,” says Randy Grint, DVM, Ord Veterinary Clinic, Ord, NE. “We have used more of the reproductive vaccines in the last five years—that has been a dramatic jump.”

Now in his 12th year as a large animal veterinarian at the clinic, and a farmer and rancher himself, Grint understands how detrimental reproductive diseases can be for cattle and producers.

“It seems like we see BVD more often in calves than in cows,” Grint says. “We see the respiratory problems and weak calves and then can trace it back to the cows. That’s when we often realize that maybe we’re having some reproductive problems, too.”

Reproductive diseases can vary by geography, but nearly every producer should vaccinate their cow herd against IBR and BVD. IBR, a highly-contagious disease and one of the most common viral cattle infections in the U.S., causes abortions in cattle that otherwise appear healthy. BVD virus also can have significant reproductive consequences, resulting in infertility, respiratory disease, congenital abnormalities, abortions and stillbirths.

Additionally, BVD infections can result in calves that appear normal, but are persistently infected (PI) with BVD virus. They shed the virus continually throughout their life, becoming an ongoing threat to herd health. BVD-PI cattle are the primary transmitters of the BVD virus.

To help protect his clients’ cattle against IBR and BVD, as well as other pathogens that can lead to both reproductive and respiratory diseases, Grint recommends Bovi-Shield GOLD® products.

“Ord Veterinary Clinic was using Pfizer Animal Health vaccines before I started working here,” Grint says. “Plus, Pfizer Animal Health invests money to research their vaccines, and that is as important to me as anything. They back their products really well— in the rare case we have a wreck, they’re always here for us.”

The fact that Pfizer Animal Health backs its reproductive vaccines with riskfree guarantees makes them an easy choice for Grint. In fact, Pfizer Animal Health will guarantee 100 percent of calves born to be BVD-PI free provided that all cows and heifers have been vaccinated according to label directions and at least 30 days prebreeding with Pfizer Animal Health Fetal Protection (FP) vaccines. In addition, Pfizer Animal Health will guarantee the herd to be free of IBR abortions if cows and heifers were vaccinated according to label directions and at least 30 days prebreeding with the Pfizer Animal Health family of FP vaccines.

John Rodgers, DVM, MS, Veterinary Operations, Pfizer Animal Health, adds that Bovi-Shield GOLD products offer the flexibility to choose a reproductive vaccination program that best suits producers’ individual operations and goals.

For example, Bovi-Shield GOLD® FP 5 L5 HB is an uncompromising reproductive vaccine that helps provide protection against IBR virus, parainfluenza type 3 (PI3) virus, bovine respira tory syncytial virus, and BVD Types 1 and 2 viruses, and helps offer at least 365 days of immunity for IBR abortions, BVD Types 1 and 2 persistent infections, and Lepto hardjo-bovis infections, including Lepto hardjo-bovis urinary shedding and kidney colonization.

“Producers have always been aware of the economic impact of open cows,” Rodgers says. “Vaccines such as Bovi-Shield GOLD FP 5 L5 HB help provide protection against things like earlyterm abortions and can help protect against the economic losses associated with fetal loss.”

Only a local veterinarian will understand the diseases and challenges a herd may encounter, says Rodgers. “Working with veterinarians, such as Dr. Grint, ensures that vaccine programs will be designed on a herd-by-herd basis,” Rodgers says. “When vaccine programs are managed for specific situations, vaccines can perform at their optimum.”

After more than a century servicing herds in a 70-mile radius, the veterinarians and staff at Ord Veterinary Clinic have found a recipe for success. For Grint, an important part of their success is staying informed and in touch with clients and their operations.

“I don’t think I can help people unless I have an idea of what’s going on and their situation,” Grint says. “And, I know things get busy and maybe you can’t get as involved as you like, but I definitely believe that it all comes back around.”

For Grint, vaccinating his clients’ herd against reproductive disease is more than just helping protect the cattle—it also is about helping protect his clients.

“We’re really trying to help people, and that’s why we’re here,” says Grint. “If I can help make my clients make money, then there’s a trickle-down effect. I think it helps all of us be more successful.” — WLJ