Determine the risk and vaccinate to prevent specific diseases

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Guidelines for implementing a vaccination program

Vaccination is effective in preventing some common cattle diseases. Base the decision to vaccinate on whether the potential loss is more than the cost of a vaccination program, or if the disease poses a human health risk.

Identify the diseases that can infect cattle, and people, and can be vaccinated against in your beef enterprise. These include:

  • clostridial diseases
  • vibriosis
  • leptospirosis
  • mucosal disease (pestivirus)
  • pinkeye

Seek local advice from your veterinarian or state department of agriculture. A table to help determine the presence of these diseases treatable by vaccination is presented in Tool 6.05.

Vaccinate against specific diseases if it is cost-effective or a human health risk. If you do have to vaccinate, the timing of the treatment is important.

Zoonotic diseases (those that affect both cattle and humans) are listed in Tool 6.06 and include:

  • leptospirosis
  • Q-fever
  • campylobacteriosis
  • milkers nodule
  • brucellosis
  • tuberculosis
  • cryptosporidiosis
  • yersiniosis
  • salmonella
  • listeriosis
  • ringworm
  • anthrax

Assess the risk of cattle diseases infecting people.

It is critical that a thorough risk assessment is conducted on the likelihood of you, or anyone that may come into contact with your animals, contracting one of these zoonotic diseases. If there is any risk at all, a vaccination program should be implemented or a management system put in place that is guaranteed to prevent transmission of the disease.

What to measure and when

If you have not already done so, assess your beef enterprise’s current disease risk status then reassess whenever conditions that affect the disease occur, or the enterprise changes to include new or different classes of stock.

The following should be monitored regularly:

  • the conditions likely to lead to the development of common cattle diseases (see Tool 6.01)
  • the presence of signs of disease that can be prevented by vaccination (see Tool 6.04).

Regularly assess the disease status of your herd.