The beautiful fall weather has quickly been replaced by snow and colder temperatures. This has encouraged us to turn to the task of processing our cows and heifers as the season of confinement and hay feeding begins.
In addition to pregnancy checking the cows to identify non-pregnant animals, there are important vaccinations to consider. At the very least you should be vaccinating the cows with a 5-way viral vaccine. This covers important diseases such as Bovine Viral Diarrhea (BVD types 1 and 2), Infectious Bovine Rhinotracheitis (IBR), Parainfluenza virus (PI3), and Bovine Respiratory Syncytial virus (BRSV) that can affect the respiratory, gastrointestinal and reproductive systems of the cow or calf. Examples of killed viral vaccines for cows include Triangle, Vira shield and Cattlemaster. Heifers being vaccinated for the first time with a killed viral vaccine need to be boostered with a second dose 4 weeks after the first one. There are also modified live versions of viral vaccines however they cannot be given to pregnant animals unless they have been previously vaccinated with the modified live vaccine before breeding. This is also a good time to consider vaccination plans on heifers you may like to retain and breed next year. Schedule a consult with your veterinarian if you wish to discuss the best approach in your herd.
If your herd has experienced other disease issues such as calf diarrhea (scours), unusual abortion issues or significant respiratory problems there may be additional vaccinations to consider.
This is a great time to schedule a consult with your veterinarian to assess your overall vaccination strategy and adjust anything that needs to be improved.