News & Advice

Is your vaccine program working?

Mar 30, 2017 | Biosecurity, Dairy

Arnica van der Wiele, Anexa FVC Ngatea Veterinarian

Last year some of our Anexa FVC farm clients and Veterinarians took part in a nationwide Massey University trial that looked into the efficacy of long-term vaccination of dairy herds for leptospirosis. 200 dairy herds were randomly selected from throughout New Zealand and our vets took 20 urine and blood samples from each selected client’s herd during the period December 2015 to March 2016. This month the first results of the trial have been shared with us. It is great to participate in these studies and be able to present you with local, up-to-date New Zealand information.

Leptospirosis is estimated to cost the New Zealand economy $36 million per year. People are infected through direct or indirect contact with animal urine. Preliminary results of the trial indicate that animal vaccination programs continue to be an effective measure to prevent shedding in New Zealand dairy cattle and thus reduce exposure to humans. The results also reinforce the importance of a multi-faceted approach to this complex disease. In other words, yes, our vaccination programs are working but you still need to make sure that you use it in combination with other protective measures to prevent you, your family and your staff from contracting the disease. Continue to protect you, your Staff and Family.

  • Vaccinate your animals under advice from your veterinarian. 
  • Control rodents and wildlife: seek advice on baiting and trapping, vermin-proof buildings and feed stores. 
  • Minimise contact with animal urine – “Keep it off. If splashed then dry and wash”
    a. Personal hygiene: hand washing, no smoking/eating/drinking in the shed.
    b. Personal protective equipment: aprons, gloves, boots, keep wounds covered. Make sure that this equipment is effective at keeping you safe.
    c. Protect against exposures not in the milking shed such effluent spraying, assisting calving, home kill and hunting 
  • Be aware and share your awareness – remember, others can be exposed when not working e.g. kids playing in puddles. If you have ‘flu-like symptoms, seek medical help early and raise the suspicion of lepto to your Doctor – “hey Doc, might this be lepto?” 

For further information about Lepto or to work out the risk on your farm, contact your lead Vet and complete a Leptospirosis Risk Management Appraisal. We are here to help.

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