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Make your vaccination dollar count

We’re experiencing a bumper season and there are a lot of valuable new calves and lambs in the paddocks, but these bright prospects could all be undone without an effective vaccination program in place.

A five in one vaccination program at marking time is the starting point for an ongoing, effective program to prevent disease and stock losses.

A five in one vaccination will tackle clostridial diseases, a group of bacterial organisms that include:

  • Enterotoxemia (Pulpy Kidney): grows in the intestines and is generally caused by a sudden change in diet/feed conditions or lush pastures with high levels of soluble plant sugars
  • Black leg: affects subcutaneous muscle
  • Black’s disease: affects the liver and is often associated with liver fluke damage
  • Tetanus: usually related to skin penetrating injuries
  • Malignant oedema: an acute, generally rapidly fatal wound infection.

For both lambs and calves, the vaccine requires two injections at least four to six weeks apart.

While starting with a five in one vaccine at marking provides baseline protection against the most common disease threats for livestock, a six in one vaccine is recommended for sheep as it provides additional protection against CLA (caseous lymphadenitis) or cheesy gland, which causes subcutaneous and internal abscesses in sheep that can lead to condemnation of the carcass and mortality in older sheep.

A seven in one vaccine provides an extra level of disease security by creating immunity to leptospirosis.

Producers should consider other possible vaccine options at weaning to protect against problems such as pestivirus, vibriosis, leptospirosis, and respiratory viruses, depending on current disease prevalence and seasonal conditions.

Critically, vaccines need to be handled correctly to ensure their effectiveness.

Vaccines are kept under refrigeration by retailers and it’s essential to maintain the cold chain right up to the point of injection in stock. At purchase, take the vaccine home in a chilled esky and keep it in the fridge prior to transportation to the yards in an esky. Avoid exposure to heat and sunlight to ensure the vaccine remains effective.

It’s advisable not to buy more vaccine than you need for each season and to discard any remaining product at the end of the job because left over vaccine is unlikely to maintain its effectiveness after a day in the yards.

The most expensive vaccination is one that doesn’t work.

Contact your Northern Tablelands Local Land Services District Veterinarian for more information about effective vaccination programs and disease risk in livestock.

Contact: Andrew Biddle, District Veterinarian, Northern Tablelands Local Land Services (Inverell) – 02 6720 8300.

Media contact: Annabelle Monie 02 6720 8317 or 0429 626 326