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Midwest/North: Tips for chuteside vaccinations

Erika Lundy for Progressive Cattle Published on 24 March 2021

A vaccination program is only as good as the techniques utilized when handling and administering the products. Consider these chuteside management practices to ensure pre-breeding vaccinations are effective.

1. Plan ahead. This includes reading the label to identify the proper timing to administer pre-breeding vaccinations ahead of the breeding to minimize any risk of impacting pregnancy success.

2. Start with well-maintained equipment. Syringes should be rinsed out and cleaned with boiling water prior to use. Avoid using disinfectants to clean syringes, as any remaining residue is likely to compromise the vaccine effectiveness. When vaccinating, needles should be replaced every 10 to 15 head, each time a syringe is reloaded and if bent. Although not necessarily as frequently, needles on implant guns should also be monitored and changed to remain sharp as well as disinfected between each calf.

3. Handle vaccines appropriately. Prior to filling, syringes should be cooled and maintained at a similar temperature as the vaccine. A syringe that is too warm from sunlight or even from cleaning with boiling water can impact the active ingredients in the vaccination, reducing effectiveness. Utilizing a cooler to keep vaccine bottles as well as filled and extra syringes cool and out of sunlight is also imperative to success.

4. Ensure proper injection site. Using the appropriate administration route in the neck of an animal helps to reduce tissue damage and injection site swelling. If giving multiple products on the same day, ensure adequate space (recommended at least 4 inches) between injection sites to avoid product reactions. This is much easier to do on a mature cow than a young calf, so if needed, give injections on both sides of the neck. Also consider needle length and gauge size based on animal maturity, product viscosity and how the product will be administered.

5. Reduce animal stress. Stress of the animal, including current health status, can impact immune response to vaccinations. Therefore, strive to minimize stress the day of processing by considering handling behavior, avoiding overcrowding, transporting and temperatures. If your cows aren’t as stressed, you won’t be as stressed either. end mark

Erika Lundy
  • Erika Lundy

  • Extension Beef Program Specialist
  • Iowa Beef Center - Iowa State University
  • Email Erika Lundy

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