About Dairy Wellness

Vaccine technology takes a different route for a better start
Posted by Greg Edwards

Successful dairies invest in their calves with good health management and disease prevention from birth.

Bolstering calves’ immune systems is important because cows that suffer from respiratory disease early in life can face a lifetime of diminished performance. They’ll likely have a reduced average daily gain, calve later than unaffected herdmates and produce less milk in at least their first lactation.1

Strong immunity starts with the transfer of maternal antibodies through feeding colostrum within 12 hours of birth. But there are situations that can compromise or limit the transfer of maternal immune protection. Vaccination can offer protection during the highly vulnerable first days of life.

The vaccine you choose makes a big difference between helping provide additional protection and having no impact. Reports show that maternal antibodies can neutralize or destroy vaccine viruses that are injected intramuscularly (IM) or subcutaneously (subQ) before they induce a protective immune response.2  

Taking a different route

Intranasal vaccination, on the other hand, during the first week of life can help circumvent the problem of vaccine interference from maternal antibodies. Intranasal vaccination activates the part of the immune system affecting the nose, mouth and intestine called the mucosal immune system. It is functionally distinct from the immune system associated with skin, muscles and other internal organs. The mucosal immune system produces a special type of antibody called immunoglobulin A (IgA), which prevents attachment and invasion of infectious agents in the nose, mouth, lungs and intestines.

To help provide protection from Day One, consider an intranasal respiratory vaccine such as INFORCE™ 3. Visit to learn how an active immune response enhances the level of immune protection at the primary site of entry for respiratory diseases and helps reduce the time that newborn calves are susceptive to infection.

1 Van Der Fels-Klerx HJ, Martin SW, Nielen M, Huirne RBM. Effects on productivity and risk factors of bovine respiratory disease in dairy heifers; a review for the Netherlands. Neth J Agr Sci2002;50:27-45.

2 Rice LE. Immunizations for Oklahoma Cow-Calf Herds. Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Service VTMD-9123. Accessed Jan 6, 2014.

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