In Teagasc’s November 2019 beef advisory newsletter, Pearse Kelly, Head of Drystock Knowledge Transfer, focuses on respiratory diseases and vaccinating weanlings.
Respiratory diseases are by far the most common cause of ill-health and death in young stock over the winter housing period, he outlined.
“When a pneumonia outbreak occurs in a herd there is usually a fire-brigade-type response to it.”
“Unlike with a fire though, it is rarely stopped immediately. That is why the costs mount up.”
Preventative vaccination programme
Apart from the cost, a pneumonia outbreak can be very stressful for the farmer involved, Kelly said.
“Virus pneumonia affects the best calves in a herd just as much as the worst calves. It takes a lot of time and effort to get a group of sick animals back on track.”
By far, he added, the best approach all-round is to avoid a pneumonia outbreak in the first place, and this is where vaccines have a real role to play.
“The cost of a preventative vaccination programme against the most common of the pneumonia viruses would be less than 20% of the cost of such an outbreak.”
To ensure maximum cover is provided, Kelly outlined, it is necessary with most vaccination programmes, that a booster shot, as well as the initial primary shot, is given; these are usually three to four weeks apart.
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