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Intranasal vaccination can reduce risk of vaccine interference

Victor Cortese for Progressive Cattleman Published on 24 November 2018
Intranasal vaccination

Vaccine interference is something not every cattle producer is aware of, but it can have a big impact on how well cattle respond to vaccinations.

We have seen in several studies certain vaccines can block the immune response to other vaccines in a program, compromising the protection provided.

The young calf’s immune system is unique in how it responds to viral and bacterial challenges. Setting that young calf up for success starts with vaccinating the cow correctly and ensuring adequate nutrition during the entire pregnancy.

A strong cow vaccination and nutrition program sets a calf up for success by developing high-quality colostrum full of antibodies against key pathogens.

Calfhood vaccinations can complement what the dam provides through colostrum and further give a calf every chance to be healthy and perform to its potential. Timing and type of vaccine administration play key roles in managing the young calf.

Research has shown an injectable infectious bovine rhinotracheitis (IBR) vaccination given to naïve calves can interfere with the calf’s response to injectable Mannheimia haemolytica vaccinations.

A recent Montana study showed we can effectively protect calves early with an intranasal respiratory vaccine at birth without maternal antibody interference. The intranasal vaccine works with the calf’s immune system to prevent bovine respiratory syncytial virus (BRSV) and help protect against IBR and parainfluenza 3 virus.

We saw the best results with a booster of the intranasal respiratory vaccine 60 days later, along with an injectable vaccine protecting against bovine viral diarrhea (BVD) Type 1 and 2 viruses, as well as M. haemolytica before heading to pasture.

An earlier North Dakota State University study demonstrated similar results in that an intranasal vaccine administered to naïve calves for protection against IBR and BRSV did not result in the same interference as injectable IBR vaccine.

In the North Dakota State University study, calves vaccinated with an intranasal BRSV and IBR vaccine had a significant (P less than 0.05) increase in BRSV antibody response when revaccinated with an injectable 5-way modified live virus vaccine 90 days later. Vaccination with M. haemolytica bacterin-leukotoxoid at approximately 8 weeks old also resulted in a statistically significant (P less than 0.05) anamnestic response following revaccination 90 days later.

I usually recommend the following approach to calf vaccinations to have the best immune response and avoid any potential vaccine interference issues:

  • At birth: Intranasal BRSV and IBR vaccine if the herd has a history of respiratory issues in the nursing calf before branding or turnout. In heavy milking herds, a Clostridium perfringens Type C & D vaccine at birth before the calf receives colostrum can help reduce losses to that clostridial disease. If the calf has already nursed, the maternal antibodies may block the calf’s ability to respond to C&D perfringens vaccine.

  • Nursing calf, branding or turnout: Intranasal BRSV and IBR vaccine and injectable BVD/M. haemolytica combination. If you have summer pneumonia issues, don’t skip this vaccination series. I usually only recommend a 7-way clostridial vaccine at this stage if a ranch has a previous issue with blackleg; otherwise maternal antibodies do a good job of protecting the calf.

  • Pre-weaning and weaning: If you didn’t give a respiratory vaccine at turnout time, then start with the intranasal BRSV and IBR vaccine along with an injectable M. haemolytica bacterin and BVD vaccine at preweaning. Follow this with an injectable 5-way respiratory vaccine approximately three weeks later when the calves are weaned or after weaning.

    If you gave a respiratory vaccine at turnout, then simply revaccinate at weaning with a combination respiratory vaccine that covers your viral and bacterial pathogens.

No vaccine is 100 percent effective in eliminating disease, but proper timing and administration can go a long way in helping keep cows and their calves healthy. I encourage producers to work closely with their herd veterinarians to implement a strong disease prevention program. A well-planned vaccination program reduces vaccine interference issues and more effectively protects the herd.  end mark

PHOTO: Intranasal vaccination. Staff photo.

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Victor Cortese
  • Victor Cortese

  • Director of Immunology and Biologicals
  • Zoetis