Vaccinate against diseases as winter housing draws nearer
Published 04/10/2011 | 05:00
It's hard to imagine, with the recent good weather, that the grazing season is rapidly coming to an end. In the field, all the beef cattle are as healthy as bees.
But, as sure as eggs are eggs, in they must come and what a pity if we see all those winter bugs wreak the same havoc as in years gone by. Small changes now may help defer the date of disease outbreaks, so we'll go through a few of the prevention measures.
In the older batch of cattle, we may know of one or two animals that have had disease problems during the summer. By this I mean the odd bullock that got pneumonia in the field.
Although it's unusual to get virus outbreaks when cattle are outdoors, it is becoming more common nowadays than before. IBR is one of the viruses responsible for this type of pneumonia.
This virus is of the herpes family and is not unlike the herpes cold sores we humans can suffer from. Like the cold sore scenario, any period of stress can trigger a repeat bout of the disease. The virus can remain in the animal's system and flare up again at stressful times. Entering the slatted unit or winter sheds can be the most stressful time of all.
Many of our farms are quite limited in their ability to change stock around, and so the only option for a bullock that falls ill and lags behind his comrades is to fall into the batch younger than himself, or stay with his own batch and fight his corner.
One way or the other, he could potentially be the source of the first outbreak of winter pneumonia. So what's the solution?