Search this website

Sponsored by ...
Beef Reproduction Task Force

Beef Reproduction Task Force

University of California-Davis

UC Davis Animal Science

UC Davis Animal Science

Visit the sites in
the Angus Journal®
Virtual Library ...

The topic sites in our library offer portals to information on body condition scoring, beef cow efficiency, country-of-origin labeling, feeding & feedstuffs and more.
Click here.

Angus Journal
event sites ...

Sign up for...

Angus Journal
Copyright © 2015
Angus Journal

How to Maximize a Vaccination Program

Management strategies underpin success of vaccination program.

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (Dec. 4, 2012) — Many things affect immune response, and immune response is integral to vaccine success, said Chris Chase, professor of veterinary and biomedical sciences at South Dakota State University (SDSU). He explained that no one vaccine program will work for all operations, but there are some management practices that can increase immunity. Chase spoke to attendees of the Applied Reproductive Strategies in Beef Cattle (ARSBC) symposium in Sioux Falls, S.D., Dec. 3-4, 2012.

Chris Chase Animals must be in a positive energy balance to foster any immune response, said SDSU's Chris Chase.

Stress greatly reduces immune response, so it is best to avoid vaccinating at times of stress, Chase noted. This is true for both calves and older animals.

He recommended waiting two weeks after new calves arrive at the operation before vaccinating them. This is counter-intuitive, because you are already handling them on arrival, but Chase explained that their immune system is suppressed because of the gigantic stressors of transport, commingling and, often, weaning. An underestimated stressor, he pointed out, is dust, especially in drought years. He said weaning should be done before shipping calves.

Animals don’t lie about their immune responses, he said. Cattle should show some side effects to vaccines. The side effects show the vaccine has gotten the immune system’s attention.

The immune system needs energy, he explained. Without energy, the immune system cells slow down and cannot attack intruding cells. Animals must be in a positive energy balance to foster any immune response.

Chase said older animals also need to be in good body condition, and vaccinating pregnant animals gives added antibodies to colostrum, which, in turn, gives calves better response to vaccines in their lifetime. Postpartum vaccinations should occur prior to rebreeding. In order of importance, energy, protein, vitamin A, vitamin E, copper, zinc, selenium and iron aid in immune response.

Chase recommended nasal vaccination, explaining that mucosal responses are effective in all tracts of the body. “Almost all bovine pathogens enter via airways and mucosa surface,” he said.

Chase spoke during Tuesday's ARSBC session focused on vaccination and pregnancy determination. Visit the Newsroom at to listen to this presentation and to view the PowerPoint slides and proceedings paper submitted by Chase to accompany it.

Comprehensive coverage of the symposium is available online at Compiled by the Angus Journal editorial team, the site is made possible through sponsorship by the Beef Reproductive Task Force and

Editor's Note: This article was written under contract or by staff of the Angus Journal. To request reprint permission and guidelines, contact Shauna Rose Hermel, editor, at 816-383-5270.