News & Advice

Don’t Forget About Your Calves!

Mar 2, 2021 | Dairy, Grazing youngstock, Young Stock

Sarah Duncan, Veterinarian, Anexa Vets Gordonton

Have your calves been vaccinated yet? If the answer is yes then great news, they’re all set until their 3rd booster in Winter. If not, then now is the perfect time to get them done, especially if they’ll be going away to grazing in the next few months. Below is a quick reminder of the main vaccinations we recommend for your youngstock and why they are so important.

  • 6 in 1 (or 10 in 1) is a vaccine that protects against a number of clostridial diseases (blackleg, pulpy kidney, tetanus, black disease, malignant oedema and sordelli). Calves can pick up an infection after bacteria from the environment enters the bloodstream and unfortunately, this can often result in sudden death if animals are unprotected. These bacteria live in the soil and environment normally so there isn’t much we can do to eliminate it, meaning that vaccination is the best option to prevent any losses. Calves require 2 injections, a sensitiser shot and then a booster shot 4-6 weeks time.
  • Leptospirosis is arguably the most important disease that we vaccinate against due to its ability to infect many different species, including humans. Animals that are infected shed the bacteria in their urine and abortion material. It is important to get your calves vaccinated early as once they contract leptospirosis they will continue to spread the bacteria and vaccination will not eliminate an already existing infection. Calves will require 2 initial injections 4-6 weeks apart and will then require annual boosters to ensure they are fully protected. Often this means having a third booster around winter to line them up with the heifers and herd.

Depending on your individual farm situation you may also have additional vaccinations that your calves should receive, for example BVD, Salmonella and/or IBR (catarrh). Your veterinarian will be able to advise you about the best vaccination protocol for your youngstock.

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