Protecting the respiratory health of calves
There is an increased probability for calves to develop an infection during high-stress times, such as during weaning, moving to group housing, during transportation and even with changing weather conditions.
Chilling temperatures require closure of doors and windows of the calf house. The mixture of minimized air exchange and the possibility of improper ventilation can cause buildup of pathogens that may cause bovine respiratory disease.
Bovine respiratory syncytial virus is an omnipresent pathogen that is common to calves. It can be acquired from penmates and environmental surfaces on a farm.
Calves need help in defending themselves from BRSV and BRD pathogens.
The intranasal respiratory vaccine: In a trial test this vaccine was administered to calves between 1 day and 14 days old. Calves receiving this vaccine had a 57 percent reduction in lung lesions and 70 percent less mortality.
Boost immunity before commingling: It is important for producers to work with a herd veterinarian to develop a schedule for protocol to help maintain protection against BRD during commingling. Movement to group housing increases stress and exposure to pathogens is higher. As a result, increased sickness may be likely.
Step above vaccination: Protect calves' immunity by managing their environment.
Calves need a comfortable resting area as well as sufficient eating space.
It is important to provide proper ventilation and remove dirty air to minimize airborne pathogens and eliminate harmful odors.
Although proper ventilation is important, calves must be protected from drafts during colder seasons.
Calves affected with a disease caused by BRSV are likely to calve later than unaffected herdmates and produce less milk in their first lactation. This is serious not only for your herd but for your dairy's future. Take the extra necessary steps to help protect your calves so that you can maximize the productivity of your herd.