Published 14 November 14

Excellent cattle health is vital for maximum production since cattle must be healthy to reach their performance potential. A vaccination plan is an essential component of any herd health plan. It is likely to be most effective when it is designed to meet the particular needs of the farm.  Each dairy business is unique, so every owner should work with his/her veterinarian to create a vaccination plan. A successful vaccination plan should include which diseases to vaccinate against, which animals will benefit from vaccination and when the cattle will benefit most from the protection that the vaccine provides.

Vaccinations are only one part of a comprehensive herd health plan. They cannot compensate for an unclean environment, poor ventilation or exiting poor health. One of the most common reasons vaccinations do not work is the failure to administer a booster vaccine at the correct interval.

Vaccines help to reduce the incidence or the severity of disease by stimulating the immune system to provide protection.

AHDB Dairy along with its research partner, the University of Nottingham, has produced a short film for farmers and farm staff to demonstrate the correct technique used to vaccinate cattle safely and effectively.

Five key areas are covered:

  1. Storage and use of the vaccine at the correct temperature
  2. Using the vaccine at the correct time, interval, dose and route
  3. Importance of good hygiene when using the vaccine and equipment
  4. Ensuring adequate safety for people and animals involved
  5. Ensuring accurate recording of vaccinations

It is essential that the necessary steps are taken to protect the health of the herd and the future herd. Maintaining good health is important to ensure acceptable standards of animal welfare, alongside productivity of the herd.