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Cattle Vaccinations

The most common vaccinations we use in cattle are used to protect against Bovine Viral Diarrhoea (BVD), Leptospirosis, and the clostridial diseases.

BVD is a viral disease of cattle. It is transmitted either congenitally (the foetus being infected in utero) or after birth through faecal-oral or nose-to-nose contact. BVD infection can cause a range of symptoms depending on when an animal is infected. If a pregnant cow is infected she may abort, have a stillborn calf, or give birth to a calf who will persistently shed the virus throughout its life. Other animals who contract the disease may present with fever, nasal and ocular discharge, anorexia, oral lesions and diarrhoea. Treatment is only supportive for this disease, there is no cure. Therefore vaccination to prevent it is necessary. Biosecurity is also important. If you are buying in stock keep them quarantined (away from your own stock) for at least 7 days and monitor them for any signs of disease. You can ask if the animals have been vaccinated and when this occurred.

Leptospirosis is caused by a bacteria called Leptospira. There are many subgroups, or serovars of this bacteria. Cattle are the maintenance hosts of Leptospira hardjo-bovis. If infected they may not get ill but they will carry the bacteria and shed it in their urine. They can also become infertile. Other serovars can cause acute illness in calves. They can exhibit fever, anaemia, jaundice and red urine. This can lead to death in 3-5 days. If pregnant cows are infected with a non-host adapted serovar they can abort. Leptospirosis is a zoonotic disease. This means humans can be infected. Therefore it is very important for us to use preventative measures to control this. Vaccination is relied on to increase resistance to infection. Calves are vaccinated twice, 4 weeks apart, then they get yearly boosters. Pigs, dogs, rats and horses are also carriers of leptospira. It is important to control rats, fence cattle from potentially contaminated streams, separate cattle from pigs and wildlife, and vaccinate all stock on farm.

Clostridia are bacteria that commonly affect cattle. Infection normally results in sudden death. There are many diseases that are caused by clostridial infection, including tetanus, blackleg, malignant oedema and black disease. Many of these involve contamination of wounds with the bacteria. Since most animals die soon after infection, prevention is the only option. This is done by vaccination. We have a couple of vaccine options available, which can protect against up to 10 different clostridial bacteria. Calves are vaccinated twice, 4 weeks apart, then yearly after that.

Please contact us in at the clinic if you would like to book your cattle in for vaccinations.

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