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Agricultural News

New Vaccine Technology Helps Build BRD Immunity in Young Calves

Thu, 19 Jun 2014 12:21:53 CDT

New Vaccine Technology Helps Build BRD Immunity in Young Calves

Bovine Respiratory Disease - known as BRD - is the leading cause of death in beef calves 3 weeks of age or older. In a new - three-week series with Merck Animal Health - we'll identify ways to help build BRD immunity in young calves.

This week - we look into the incidence and impact of BRD in nursing calves. A recent multi-university survey of 61 veterinarians in six states provides insights into practitioners' experiences with BRD in nursing calves. Dr. Terry Engelken - an associate professor at Iowa State University College of Veterinary Medicine - was involved with the survey and says a key risk factor identified was inadequate colostrum.

"Anything that interferes with a calf standing up rapidly and nursing aggressively can have a negative impact on the amount of colostrum it receives and how well that colostrum is absorbed," Engelken. "We know from extensive research and practical experience as well calves that don't receive enough colostrum run a higher risk of developing calf scours early in life and that can be followed by BRD when they are out on pasture."

More than 85-percent of the veterinarians who responded to the survey recommend vaccination of nursing calves to prevent BRD or to shorten the duration of outbreaks. Merck Animal Health beef cattle technical services manager Brent Meyer says new technology is available to meet this need.

"Merck Animal Health recently introduced "Once PMH IN", it is the only internasal vaccine to deliver dual bacterial pneumonia protection in healthy beef and dairy cattle," Meyer said. "Internasal administration is easy to use and easy on calves as it can be given to calves as young as one week of age."

Engelken emphasizes that prevention is often more cost effective than treatment. He says the losses associated with BRD in nursing calves include both the obvious and those that are not so apparent.

"Medical expenses, labor costs and death loss are really pretty straight forward and easy to calculate," Meyer said. "What's more difficult is to be able to track weaning weight losses in individual calves after they recover from a bout of BRD during the suckling phase."

"There is research that indicates that calves that get sick for any reason during the suckling period will weigh from 20 to 35 pounds less at weaning compared to their herdmates that didn't get sick," Meyer said.

Next week - we'll discuss how to work with your veterinarian to develop a BRD vaccination program with young calves in mind. For more information on building a BRD prevention program for calves and Once PMH IN. For more information Click here.



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