The role of diagnostic testing in establishing bovine vaccination programs
Guy Sheppard, DVM
Vaccination programs are integral to the overall health and profitability of a cattle operation. Without vaccinations, diseases such as Bovine Respiratory Disease (BRD) and Bovine Viral Diarrhea (BVD) can decimate a cattle herd. The Texas A&M Veterinary Medical Diagnostic Laboratory (TVMDL) team includes experienced veterinary diagnosticians available to help veterinarians and producers with a vaccination program.
It is recommended that producers start vaccination programs when calves are approximately four months old. At this age, calves have typically lost the immunity provided by their mothers and can produce a longer lasting immunity to diseases. Some producers opt to vaccinate calves younger than four months old. If this is done, vaccination boosters should be administered again once a calf reaches four months of age.
TVMDL offers several testing options veterinarians and producers can use to assess the quality of a vaccination program. For example, the BRD Serology Panel can be performed shortly after the initial vaccination, and the results can be useful in assessing the response of the calves’ immune systems to the vaccinations. Since BVD infection can cause immunosuppression in cattle, consideration may also be given to testing calves for this disease.
To contact a veterinary diagnostician please visit tvmdl.tamu.edu or call the College Station or Canyon laboratories.