Set calves up for success, introduce vaccines early

by | Feb 4, 2019 | 5 Ag Stories, Cattle Industry Convention 2019, News

Calves can easily contract respiratory diseases, especially during winter months.

A professional services veterinarian discusses the steps to protect calves.

Studies indicate respiratory disease is the number one cause of illness in cattle over three to four weeks of age. Dr. DL Step, professional services veterinarian for Boehringer Ingelheim, reminds producers of the risks associated with respiratory disease.

?The loss can be extremely significant,? Dr. Step said. ?It?s about a $650 million annual loss to cattle producers in the United States. It is also the number one problem (for cattle) about three to four weeks of age until harvest or going into the adult cow herd.?

Cattle affected by respiratory diseases, such as Bovine Respiratory Disease (BRD), often struggle throughout life. Dr. Step emphasizes the importance of herd health and proper management.

?Animals that have experienced pneumonia will not gain as well. Their average daily gain is less, so total body weight would be less at marketing or the next phase of production,” Dr. Step said. “Those numbers can add up to 30 to 36 pounds per calf. Pneumonia is significant, and we need to try to prevent it as much as possible.?

Veterinarians suggest producers introduce vaccinations early on. Dr. Step also reminds producers of the importance of management and timing.

?One of the things that can help is early vaccinations,? Dr. Step said. ?We generally start during what some parts of the country refer to as branding time. Other times, it?s the first or early processing time of two months of age.?

Boehringer Ingelheim offers several vaccinations, catering to different management practices. For more information, visit