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Vet’s Voice: New calf health product available

This is great – spring is here! Last night, after several days of 50 degree-plus weather, we had a thunderstorm on the first day of spring. The half inch or more of rain put a green tinge on the grass and fuels our belief that spring can’t be far behind. Every spring most clients ask, “What is new for my calves this year?” Usually we don’t have much to talk about, but this year there’s a new vaccine to utilize.

A new intranasal vaccine for IBR (infectious bovine rhinotracheitis) PI3 (parainfluenza virus) and BRSV (bovine respiratory syncytial virus) is available. There have been intranasals in the past, but none on the market include BRSV. There have been injectable live viral vaccines containing BRSV, but the immunity provided was very short lived. These injectable-vaccinated animals were susceptible to wild virus infection in a very short time. It’s also somewhat unknown how very young calves with colostral immunity from their mothers respond to these injectable vaccines. This new intranasal vaccine offers an alternative for these young calves.

Respiratory disease is the most economically significant problem in the beef industry. BRSV is highly prevalent in the U.S. (41-70 percent). We commonly culture BRSV from young calves, feedlot cattle and breeding animals in our area, and believe it is the primary pathogen in cases of summer or pasture pneumonia. BRSV infects both the upper and lower respiratory tracts, including tonsils. BRSV can spread very quickly in a naive herd and replicates rapidly in the nasal and tracheal mucosa. In several days, clinical signs can be seen in 60-80 percent of the herd, with as high as 20 percent mortality rate in young calves. Older animals usually develop a subclinical, or less severe infection, because of the short lived circulating antibodies.



The intranasal vaccine stimulates a more localized immunity in the upper respiratory tract. This is where the wild virus replicates. Experiments show that although circulatory antibodies may not be greatly affected, the replication of the epithelial cells is greatly decreased. Testing revealed intranasal vaccinates exhibited:

• Lower mortality;



• Less lung damage;

• Better lung function; and

• Less viral shedding.

The intranasal administration results in no temperature spikes or stiffness in the calf (post vaccination sweats).

This spring we plan to use “Inforce 3” on most of the young calves going to grass. Some of our clients will give it shortly after birth to young calves, while others will wait until branding or turnout. Calving is barely underway in our area, but already we are seeing whole pens of calves develop respiration problems in a very short time. We use the intranasal vaccine and broad spectrum long-lasting antibiotics to minimize problems. After the spring intranasal vaccination, we will booster with traditional injectable viruses in the late summer or early fall.

BRSV is a problem in cattle of all ages in our area. Naive animals are the most susceptible; and injectable products produce short-lived immunity. The new intranasal product can be given to very young calves, producing good local epithelial immunity with very few side effects. If summer or pasture pneumonia have been a problem in your herd, consult your veterinarian and formulate a prevention program for your herd. Hopefully by fine tuning your vaccination program, it will eliminate pasture problems and produce more pounds of healthy beef.

This is great – spring is here! Last night, after several days of 50 degree-plus weather, we had a thunderstorm on the first day of spring. The half inch or more of rain put a green tinge on the grass and fuels our belief that spring can’t be far behind. Every spring most clients ask, “What is new for my calves this year?” Usually we don’t have much to talk about, but this year there’s a new vaccine to utilize.

A new intranasal vaccine for IBR (infectious bovine rhinotracheitis) PI3 (parainfluenza virus) and BRSV (bovine respiratory syncytial virus) is available. There have been intranasals in the past, but none on the market include BRSV. There have been injectable live viral vaccines containing BRSV, but the immunity provided was very short lived. These injectable-vaccinated animals were susceptible to wild virus infection in a very short time. It’s also somewhat unknown how very young calves with colostral immunity from their mothers respond to these injectable vaccines. This new intranasal vaccine offers an alternative for these young calves.

Respiratory disease is the most economically significant problem in the beef industry. BRSV is highly prevalent in the U.S. (41-70 percent). We commonly culture BRSV from young calves, feedlot cattle and breeding animals in our area, and believe it is the primary pathogen in cases of summer or pasture pneumonia. BRSV infects both the upper and lower respiratory tracts, including tonsils. BRSV can spread very quickly in a naive herd and replicates rapidly in the nasal and tracheal mucosa. In several days, clinical signs can be seen in 60-80 percent of the herd, with as high as 20 percent mortality rate in young calves. Older animals usually develop a subclinical, or less severe infection, because of the short lived circulating antibodies.

The intranasal vaccine stimulates a more localized immunity in the upper respiratory tract. This is where the wild virus replicates. Experiments show that although circulatory antibodies may not be greatly affected, the replication of the epithelial cells is greatly decreased. Testing revealed intranasal vaccinates exhibited:

• Lower mortality;

• Less lung damage;

• Better lung function; and

• Less viral shedding.

The intranasal administration results in no temperature spikes or stiffness in the calf (post vaccination sweats).

This spring we plan to use “Inforce 3” on most of the young calves going to grass. Some of our clients will give it shortly after birth to young calves, while others will wait until branding or turnout. Calving is barely underway in our area, but already we are seeing whole pens of calves develop respiration problems in a very short time. We use the intranasal vaccine and broad spectrum long-lasting antibiotics to minimize problems. After the spring intranasal vaccination, we will booster with traditional injectable viruses in the late summer or early fall.

BRSV is a problem in cattle of all ages in our area. Naive animals are the most susceptible; and injectable products produce short-lived immunity. The new intranasal product can be given to very young calves, producing good local epithelial immunity with very few side effects. If summer or pasture pneumonia have been a problem in your herd, consult your veterinarian and formulate a prevention program for your herd. Hopefully by fine tuning your vaccination program, it will eliminate pasture problems and produce more pounds of healthy beef.


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