Vaccinations for cattle come in two forms
Modified Live Vaccine (MLV) or Killed Vaccine (KV). One easy way to tell if a vaccine is MLV or KV is that most Modified Live Virus (MLV) vaccines come in two bottles to be mixed together when you are ready to use them. Some old MLV may be a problem if used improperly on pregnant cows. There are many new MLV vaccines safe to use in pregnant cows. MLV vaccines tend to give higher and longer lasting immunity with only a single injection. Vaccines should be kept cool and out of direct sunlight.
What needle to use can be confusing? There is a large selection of gauges (diameter of needle) and lengths to choose from. Simply put, for most cattle work, use an 18 or 16-gauge needle that is 1 or 1 ½ inches in length.
The preferred site for injection is in the neck, both for intramuscular (IM) or subcutaneous (SQ) injections (See figure). IM injections of some products, in particular clostridial (blackleg) vaccines, can cause significant muscle reactions and scarring. Avoid the top butt or rump of the animal. Injection site reactions in the hind quarters will cause damage to a valuable beef product. This muscle damage costs the beef industry millions of dollars yearly from lost product. Do not give more than 10 ml (cc) in any one injection site Use neck for injections. Do not inject in rump or leg.
The parasite control program for the Cow/calf herd is based upon the type of parasites, challenges, and goals of your strategic deworming program. There are a large number of deworming products available on the market. Most injectable and oral cattle deworming products are efficient in removing the major parasites. “What time during the year should you treat cows for worms?” To reduce the chance of cows re-ingesting internal parasite infective larvae immediately, the environmental conditions have to be non-favorable to these infective larvae. Environmental conditions non-favorable to parasites are hot and dry or cold and dry. Two times during the year fit ideally for these conditions – late spring and late fall. Deworming calves that are nursing cows can increase their weaning weight by an average of 21 pounds. Deworming cows will increase a cow’s body condition score and decrease worm egg contaminations on the pastures.
A herd health program is most successful when it is tailored to the rancher’s needs by the owner and his/her local veterinarian. A local veterinarian is knowledgeable about diseases in the area and will be able to make herd health recommendations that will be the most cost effective for the producer.