Quick Tip: Reproductive Vaccinations Act as Insurance Against Disease

Auburn University study offers cattle producers effective options in protecting the unborn calf
calendar icon 13 June 2017
clock icon 4 minute read


Reproductive loss in U.S. beef herds costs cattle producers approximately $500 million per year.1 While research has shown that a modified-live vaccination program can be effective in helping prevent abortions caused by infectious bovine rhinotracheitis (IBR) and persistent infection caused by bovine viral diarrhea (BVD) viruses Types 1 and 2, maintaining a strictly modified-live vaccination program that fits the working schedule can be challenging for veterinarians and producers alike.

“Vaccination is like an insurance policy,” said Daniel Scruggs, DVM, managing veterinarian with Zoetis. “It costs the producer from $450 to perhaps over $600 a year, depending on who you talk to and what numbers they use, to keep a cow and to keep her in condition to breed. Vaccines are an insurance policy against losing that pregnancy and giving that cow the best chance of carrying the pregnancy to term so that you can realize the benefit of your investment.”

A groundbreaking study from Auburn University sheds new light on the BVD and IBR protection afforded by CATTLEMASTER GOLD FP® 5 when given to pregnant heifers that were vaccinated with BOVI-SHIELD GOLD FP® 5 prior to breeding.2 Scruggs notes that the choice of CATTLEMASTER GOLD FP 5 is important in this study because it is a unique combination vaccine that is safe to give to pregnant cows regardless of their prior vaccine history. It is the only killed BVD vaccine with a fetal protection label claim and contains a proprietary temperature-sensitive modified-live IBR fraction that is labeled to protect against IBR abortions.

The nearly three-year study evaluated the efficacy of a vaccination program where heifers were all vaccinated with two doses of a modified-live reproductive vaccine (BOVI-SHIELD GOLD FP 5) prior to breeding. At pregnancy check, the vaccinated heifers were split into two groups — one continued to get BOVI-SHIELD GOLD FP 5 and a second group was given CATTLEMASTER GOLD FP 5. The study also maintained a seronegative control group, which received no vaccinations throughout the study.

All the heifers were calved out and rebred for their second pregnancy. The animals confirmed pregnant with a second calf were challenged with BVD through exposure to persistently infected animals 11 months after their last vaccination. At the end of the BVD exposure, each group received their respective annual booster dose of reproductive vaccine. Ninety-two days after vaccination, the groups received an exposure to IBR intravenously when the cows were approximately four months pregnant.

Study results in the control group revealed the severity of the challenge model with 14 of 15 cows either aborting BVD-positive calves or delivering a BVD persistently infected calf. Researchers observed significant (p < 0.0001) protection against both virulent BVD and IBR exposure in the vaccinated groups with both vaccine groups providing similarly high levels of protection.2

“The takeaway from this study is that we’ve got a lot of flexibility now in how we handle reproductive vaccination programs in cow herds,” Dr. Scruggs said. “If people are satisfied with the BOVI-SHIELD GOLD FP pregnant cow vaccination program, there’s no reason to change. But if for whatever reason they need to alter, we have a good option with CATTLEMASTER GOLD FP with no loss in vaccine efficacy for either IBR or BVD.”

“This is a remarkable study that gives veterinarians hard data they can use for vaccine decisions when addressing their clients’ reproductive vaccine needs,” concluded Dr. Scruggs.

Producers are encouraged to visit with their veterinarian or local Zoetis representative about developing an effective fetal protection program or visit FetalCalfProtection.com for more information.

Producers and veterinarians are invited to watch an on-demand webinar featuring Paul Walz, DVM, Auburn University and Dr. Scruggs discussing the results of this Auburn University study. The webinar is available at this link.

BOVI-SHIELD GOLD FP: Do not use in pregnant cows (abortions can result) unless they were vaccinated, according to label directions, with any BOVI-SHIELD GOLD FP or PREGGUARD GOLD FP® vaccine prebreeding initially and within 12 months thereafter. Do not use in calves nursing pregnant cows unless their dams were vaccinated within the past 12 months as described above. To help ensure safety in pregnant cattle, heifers must receive at least 2 doses of any BOVI-SHIELD GOLD FP or PREGGUARD GOLD FP vaccine with the second dose administered approximately 30 days prebreeding.

About Zoetis
Zoetis is the leading animal health company, dedicated to supporting its customers and their businesses. Building on more than 60 years of experience in animal health, Zoetis discovers, develops, manufactures and markets veterinary vaccines and medicines, complemented by diagnostic products, genetic tests, biodevices and a range of services. Zoetis serves veterinarians, livestock producers and people who raise and care for farm and companion animals with sales of its products in more than 100 countries. In 2016, the company generated annual revenue of $4.9 billion with approximately 9,000 employees. For more information, visit www.zoetisUS.com.

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