FAQ on IBR Control

Vaccination Starts With The Calf

There are 3 components to controlling this disease
1. Biosecurity
2. Culling
3. Vaccination

Biosecurity:
To keep the disease out of IBR free herds and to limit the spread in herds with IBR positive animals

Culling:
Culling of animals which have tested positive for IBR. In many herds it is not a practical option as there are simply too many animals which are positive (once infected an animal becomes a life-long carrier) and therefore it would not be economically viable.

IBR calf vaccination
Calves from 3 months of age can be vaccinated using Bovilis IBR Marker Live into the muscle

Vaccination
For effective control of IBR, vaccination must:
• Reduce the number of new infections – main cause of virus spreading in a herd
• Reduce severity of clinical signs – Limit cost of disease impact

FAQ on IBR disease and Bovilis IBR Marker Live


Do I need to vaccinate my herd for IBR?

75% of herds have been exposed to IBR, it is an endemic disease in Ireland. Clinical signs are not always present in infected cattle. Subclinical disease (without signs) can result in losses of 2.6kg of milk/cow/day. Speak to your vet regarding screening for the virus through bulk milk tank testing and blood sampling animals in your herd.

Herd level prevalence of IBR by county in Ireland1

I vaccinate my cows and heifers against IBR – should I vaccinate my calves?

The benefit from whole herd IBR vaccination starting with the youngstock is that the calves are protected from the virus and this minimises the number of animals that become carriers. Every animal that is infected with IBR becomes a lifelong (latent) carrier and these animals are the source of infection in the herd.

I vaccinate every 6 months against IBR – can I move to every 12 months now?

12 monthly vaccination (after the initial 2 vaccinations 6 months apart) may be suitable for low prevalence IBR herds. Speak to your vet on how to assess and monitor herd prevalence. Check out the below video showing how to get your herd onto the 12 month vaccination protocol for Bovilis IBR Marker Live. Again, consult with your vet to determine if your herd is suitable to move to the 12 month protocol

I got a high IBR reading in my bulk tank – what should I do?

Talk to your vet about what this high reading may mean in terms of virus in your herd. A high reading indicates that virus is actively circulating in the milking cow herd.

My bulk milk tank test is negative for IBR – does this mean my herd is IBR free?

Not necessarily; bulk tank antibody tests only detect IBR virus when at least 20% of the milking cows are carriers. If you have a suspicion that IBR is in your herd, speak to your vet regarding blood sampling individual animals.

I know IBR is circulating within my cow herd, can they pass the virus to the calves?

In short, yes they can. Cows are most likely to shed virus at times of stress e.g calving time, peak lactation. If calves are in the same air space (remember IBR can travel for 5 metres) as older animals who are shedding virus then they are vulnerable to the disease.

Sub-clinical IBR can have a significant impact on production output

My neighbouring farmer vaccinates for IBR – I’m a beef farmer, how do I check if my herd has IBR?

Blood sampling is the most common method to determine the prevalence of IBR disease within a beef herd. This involves sampling all animals or a representative number of animals in the herd. Talk to your vet for more information.

There is an outbreak of IBR on my farm – is it safe to use Bovilis IBR Marker Live in the face of an outbreak?

Yes, for the fastest onset of activity; 4 days, it can be given intranasally. Onset of immunity after intramuscular administration is 14 days.

I vaccinated my calves up the nose at 1 month of age against IBR – do I give them a booster?

Yes. Calves that received an initial shot of Bovilis IBR Marker Live up the nose will require a booster 2 ml shot, at 3-4 months of age. At this age or older animals, can be vaccinated either intranasally or into the muscle.

What is a marker vaccine?

Marker vaccines do not contain glycoprotein E (gE) and therefore do not cause production of antibodies to gE. Field virus and non-marker vaccines on the other hand do contain gE and therefore lead to production of antibodies to gE. An IBR gE ELISA test in herds that are vaccinating with marker vaccines allows differentiation between vaccine and wild virus antibodies. Non-marker vaccines are still available in Northern Ireland. IBR marker vaccines are the only type of IBR vaccine available in the Republic of Ireland.

Bovilis IBR Marker Live is the number 1 IBR vaccine in Ireland

Which vaccine should I use for IBR protection – live or inactivated?

Less shedding of the virus occurs in animals that have been vaccinated with a live vaccine compared to animals that had received inactivated vaccines. Studies have shown that live IBR marker vaccines provide better protection against clinical signs than inactivated vaccines. There is limited evidence that using inactivated vaccine can result in a better reduction of shedding by reactivated latently infected animals than live vaccine. Bulls intended for use as future AI sires must not be vaccinated with any type of IBR vaccine.

Addition info

Live vaccineInactivated vaccine
Primary courseStandard or low-risk herds
Young calves (2weeks-3months of age)Pedigree herds (except potential AI sires)
All herds including high-risk herds 
High prevalence herds 
In the face of an outbreak 
Comparison of live and inactivated IBR vaccines

Risk factors to a herd:

  • Purchasing stock (especially without a quarantine procedure)
  • Mixing stock from two different farms, including contract rearing operations
  • Poor boundary fences, IBR can spread for up to five metres
  • Bringing cattle to and from the mart
  • Attending agricultural shows
  • Personnel -Farm workers who are in contact with other stock

Talk to your vet today about IBR calf vaccination from 3 months of age, using Bovilis IBR Marker LiveFor more check out our brochure here, our IBR page or Twitter page


References
1. Bosch et al (1996) An attenuated bovine herpesvirus 1 vaccine induces better protection than two inactivated marker vaccines. Veterinary Microbiology 52, 223-234


Do calves need an IBR vaccine?


Turning calves out to grass for the first time is seriously rewarding. Rearing healthy calves in the first place takes great effort and hard work. Minimising the impact of diseases like diarrhoea and pneumonia can be challenging and this year was no exception with the storms of early spring to the warm daily temperatures and cold nights of April. Weaning dairy calves, dealing with coccidiosis threats, pneumonia and clostridial vaccination; the calf ‘to do’ list can be comprehensive. What about IBR calf vaccination?

3 month old calves can receive a 2 ml shot of Bovilis IBR Marker now followed by a 2 ml shot in 6 months time. They can then be vaccinated every 12 months

IBR – Infectious bovine rhinotracheitis

Infection with IBR virus is widespread in the cattle population in Ireland, with evidence of exposure in over 75% of herds (both beef and dairy).  It is capable of causing disease (both clinical and subclinical) resulting in huge economic losses at farm level through lack of production and treatment costs. The majority of infections are seen in cattle greater than 12 months of age. However all ages are at risk of IBR.

IBR Calf Vaccination
Herd level prevalence of IBR by county in Ireland1

Clinical infections usually occur when animals are infected for the first time. Signs such as discharge from the eyes and nose, loud laboured breathing, high temperatures, resulting depression and reduced appetite may be experienced. Milk yield may be affected, and abortion may also occur. Subclinical infections are those without overt clinical signs and for this reason may go unnoticed for some time in a herd. Subclinical IBR can result in losses of 2.6kg of milk/cow/day.

The financial impact of subclinical IBR can be significant

Those infected for the first time shed high levels of the virus for approximately two weeks. At times of stress (e.g. mixing/housing/breeding/calving) the virus can reactivate, and that animal may shed again. Every time an animal sheds the virus it has the potential to infect more herd mates.

Control of IBR

There are three components to controlling this endemic disease;

  1. Biosecurity
  2. Culling
  3. Vaccination

Biosecurity

Biosecurity can be further divided into two parts. Bio exclusion and bio containment.

Bio exclusion (the process of keeping disease out of a herd) is of particular importance in Ireland as many herds purchase cattle (e.g. the stock bull), avail of contract rearing for heifers, attend marts or shows (present Covid-19 times excluded). IBR can cross distances of up to five metres so neighbouring cattle during the grazing season can also be a source of infection or vice versa.

Bio containment (the process of reducing the threat of infection within a herd) relies mainly on herd management – segregating of age groups for example.

Culling

Culling of animals which have tested positive for IBR is a quick method to reduce herd prevalence. However, in many herds it is not a practical option as there are simply too many animals which are positive. Remember, once infected an animal becomes a life-long carrier and therefore it would not be economically viable option.

IBR Calf Vaccination
Bovilis IBR Marker Live is the No.1 IBR vaccine on the market in Ireland!

Vaccination

For effective control of IBR, vaccination must:

  • Reduce the number of new infections – Main cause of virus spreading in a herd
  • Reduce severity of clinical signs – Limit cost of disease impact

The time to start vaccination depends on the particular situation of each farm. In the absence of virus circulation among the young calf group, vaccination is started at the age of 3 months and revaccination 6 months later. All subsequent revaccinations within 12 month periods. This will provide protection against IBR virus and minimise the number of animals that become carriers. Herds that have a moderate to high prevalence of IBR, are high-risk and/or have clinical signs are best to remain on a six monthly vaccination programme until IBR is under better control in the herd. For the spring calving herd this will mean calves will receive their first dose of a live IBR vaccine in June/July 2020.

In high prevalence herds or where there is disease in the calves, vaccination will be needed sooner than 3 months. Intranasal IBR vaccination is the recommended route in order to overcome maternally derived antibodies in this scenario. An intramuscular vaccination programme then commences at three-four months of age as stated above. See video below explaining the vaccination protocol for Bovilis IBR Marker Live

Bovilis IBR Marker Live – 12 month vaccination protocol starts by vaccinating the calf from 3 months of age

Bovilis IBR marker live provides protection by reducing clinical signs and virus excretion. It is the only single dose IBR marker vaccine for use either intranasally or intramuscularly. It is a 2ml dose with the fastest onset of immunity (four days after intranasal administration and 14 days after intramuscular administration).

The majority of herds in Ireland are of medium or high seroprevalence. Vaccination with a live IBR marker vaccine combined with biosecurity and monitoring are the most practical and appropriate control methods. Many herds are missing a trick by only vaccinating the cows. This is controlling clinical signs and the impact of IBR on production but not necessarily reducing the spread (to unvaccinated younger cattle) and therefore the number of new infections each year. The aim of whole herd vaccination is to reduce the level of IBR in the herd over time. In answer to the opening question – yes; to IBR vaccination of calves.

Talk to your vet today about IBR calf vaccination from 3 months of age, using Bovilis IBR Marker Live. For more check out our brochure here, our IBR page or Twitter page

References
1. Bosch et al (1996) An attenuated bovine herpesvirus 1 vaccine induces better protection than two inactivated marker vaccines. Veterinary Microbiology 52, 223-234


2020 Breeding preparation is underway and so too is 2021… How?


Correct management of this year’s spring-born calves will influence the age they reach puberty. Don’t let pneumonia interrupt their growth and potential milk production performance


With the recent dry, sunny weather, farms are bustling with activity. Fields are being closed up for silage, cattle are being turned out to paddocks and the deep green colour is starting to reappear in the grass after a dull, wet start to the year. For the most, dairy farms are 95-100% through calving and now the focus quickly turns to preparing the herd for the breeding season. Those too being prepared for their second breeding season, are the 2018-born replacement heifers.

Of those 2018-born replacements heifers, are any of those not reaching milk production yields you thought they would achieve at the minute? Trying to figure out why? Can you remember if any of these animals were effected by pneumonia or in contact with other calves that got pneumonia during the spring of 2018? This could be one of the reasons why they aren’t hitting their milk production potential.

2019-born replacement heifer at grass prior to the breeding season

How does pneumonia in calves effect their future milk production potential?

In a study, 215 Holstein calves from three different farms were included in a trial. The trial was to determine if the effect of lung consolidation (lung damage) influenced the age of first calving, first lactation milk production and survival to the end of first lactation. Calves were accessed weekly during the first 8 weeks of their lives. An ultrasound scanner was used to score the calves lung health. The results were of great interest. The presence of lung consolidation (lung damage) at least once within the first 8 weeks of life resulted in 525kg decrease in their first lactation milk production1.

Sarah Campbell, vet advisor with MSD Animal Health demonstrating the use of ultrasound to detect lung damage in 6 week old replacement heifers

Refresher on pneumonia

Pneumonia is a multi-factorial disease meaning many factors can influence the onset of the disease. Stress or viral infection can weaken the calf’s immune system. This allows for the bacterial pneumonia agents (which naturally live in the tonsils) to quickly replicate and move to the lungs where they can cause irreversible damage. Examples of stress are, mixing of animals, change in diet (milk weaning), dehorning, change in weather etc. Could anything you plan on doing disturb or cause stress to your calves over the coming weeks?

Calves that got pneumonia are off the replacement list – is that enough?

What you do now can influence calves ability to reach their target weights at key times over the coming two years (weaning, housing, pre and post breeding and pre and post calving). On some farms, calves that got pneumonia this spring are crossed off the replacement list for 2022. However, pneumonia is often not detected in calves as it can be sub-clinical (animal won’t show physical signs). Often times, in contact animals’ immune systems will be challenged by their sick comrades. This can cause them to work at fighting off the pressure of disease instead of using the energy for growth and development. Milk weaning and mixing of calves is right around the corner and this can be a stressful time. It is important to consider how to reduce the impact that stress and also viral infection pressure will have on calves during this time

Some factors that can cause stress on calves

Vaccination solutions to reduce the risk of pneumonia

Vaccination is a simple, effective way to protect your calves against pneumonia causing agents. It will reduce the risk of your calves breaking down with pneumonia which can effect their growth and performance.

Bovilis INtranasal RSP Live is a new intranasal vaccine for cattle. It provides protection against two viruses, RSV and Pi3. Some key facts:

  • Provides the earliest protection that’s available on the market – Given from 7 days of age
  • Provides the fastest protection against RSV (5 days) & PI3 virus (7 days)
  • 2 ml dose given up the nose
  • Provides 3 months protection
Bovilis INtranasal RSP Live – the details

Many Irish farms naturally have Mannheimia haemolytica present. This is a bacterial agent that lives in the tonsils of cattle. Under stressful conditions it can multiply rapidly, move to the lungs and cause pneumonia. Some key facts:

  • Bovipast RSP provides protection against RSV, Pi3 and Mannheimia haemolytica
  • Bovipast RSP provides the broadest protection against Mannheimia haemolytica*
  • Two dose primary course given from 2 weeks of age with a booster dose given 4-6 weeks later
  • 5 ml dose given under the skin
  • A booster dose is given 2 weeks prior to the next risk period
Bovipast RSP – Vaccination protocol

For the best advice speak to your vet. For more information check out links below:

Bovilis INtranasal RSP Live
Bovipast RSP


References
*Mannheimia (Pasteurella) haemolytica A1 and A6
1: Dunn, T.R., et all. (2018), The effect of lung consolidation, as determined by ultrasonography on first-lactation milk production in Holstein dairy calves, J. Dairy Sci., 101: 1-7, 2018.


Teagasc Green Acres Calf to Beef Programme


As part of the Green Acres program, Agriland have constructed a Calf Health and Management series. As part of that series, Suzanne Naughton from MSD Animal Health discussed some of the key challenges when purchasing calves and the role of vaccination throughout the rearing period.

While calf purchase price and the genetics of the calf are foremost in terms of making a profit on calf-to-beef systems, calf health is also a pillar which deserves significant consideration. Focusing on hygiene and vaccination is the best policy to ensuring this happens. Pneumonia and scour are the two major illnesses that compromise calf health and reduce lifetime performance.

Prevention is always better and cheaper than the cure and a health plan should be implemented on-farm. It should be noted that no amount of vaccination can overcome a lack of quality colostrum administered to the calf at birth and the bacterial and viral challenges calves face when the environment they are reared in is not up to scratch.

Check out the full video below for more information. Also, you can find out more about the vaccines mentioned in this video by clicking on them below
Bovilis INtranasal RSP Live
Bovipast RSP
Bovilis IBR Marker Live

Vaccine Management

Remember that correctly administering and storing vaccines is important to improve the success of a vaccination programme.

“Once you get your vaccines, they should be kept in the fridge until you are ready to go with your batch of animals.

“Vaccines should be made up according to the recommendations on the data sheet in the box – all the information on how much to administer and where is on the data sheet provided.

“Start with a clean needle and a clean syringe. If you are using an old dirty needle, you are increasing the likelihood of an abscess or lump developing.”


Vaccination Against Pneumonia a Must for Co. Tyrone Farmer



Co. Tyrone dairy and beef farmer Norman Watt has found a marked improvement in animal health and performance since he started vaccinating against pneumonia three years ago.

Dairy farmer, Norman Watt in a pen amongst his calves

Norman farms with his brother Dennis at a 400 acre farm located between Dungannon and Cookstown, milking 270 dairy cattle twice daily and also finishing 120 young stock to beef. The pair made the decision to include Bovipast® RSP as part of their vaccination regime following problems with pneumonia in the past, particularly in their older stock.

“We lost a few animals a few years ago to pneumonia and had to treat others with antibiotics,” explained Norman. “This was both stressful and costly, so after discussing the issue with our vet, we decided to start a Bovipast vaccination programme in order to reduce the risk of future outbreaks. We’ve had no issues since and I would say that we really couldn’t do without it now.”

The Watts operate a closed herd, minimising the risk of disease being introduced by bought-in animals, and generally calve year-round. Calves are reared in individual pens until they are two to three weeks of age, with good ventilation in place.

Advice from the vet

They have worked closely with Parklands Veterinary Practice in Cookstown for many years, adopting a preventative, progressive approach to animal health. Calves receive a primary shot of Bovipast RSP to protect against pasteurella pneumonia (caused by M. haemolytica) and the two main pneumonia-causing viruses, RSV and PI3.  Bovilis IBR Marker Live, the vaccine that protects against IBR, is given at the same time as the primary shot of Bovipast RSP at 3 weeks of age.  A booster shot of Bovipast RSP is given four weeks later.   All cows are vaccinated against IBR twice a year, and they also include Bovivac® S against Salmonellosis and Leptavoid® H against leptospirosis as part of their vaccination regime.

Thriving Animals

“We’ve had great results with Bovipast since we started using it,” continued Norman. “Dealing with sick animals in the past has been very demoralising and we are keen to do anything we can to avoid it. There is also a clear financial benefit, as the cost of treating disease is much more than the cost of vaccination. It’s much better to take control of the situation rather than leaving it to chance – it’s simply not worth the risk.  In our view, a solid vaccination programme is a must if you want thriving, healthy animals.”

Thriving Animals: A pen of healthy calves that are all on the same vaccination protocol

Boosting Calf Immunity

Most recently, the Watts have added the new Bovilis® INtranasal RSP Live vaccine to their vaccination regime, to provide an early boost to new-born calf immunity.

 “We were previously having some issues with calves starting to cough and then having to treat them with antibiotics before we were able to give them the Bovipast shot at three weeks.  Whenever our vet told us about the new intranasal vaccine which reduces clinical signs of Bovine Respiratory Disease (BRD) from one week of age, we were very keen to try it.  The fact that it’s intranasal is a bonus as it is very easy to administer and highly effective.  Helping to avoid illness at this early stage of the calf’s life is really important to us, as we know how much an early encounter with respiratory illness can affect their ability to thrive,” said Norman.

Communication and Continuous Improvement

Koen Debel of Parklands Veterinary Practice commented: “The Watts are a very progressive team dedicated to making continual improvements across the farm. From nutrition, to vaccination to hygiene – they really are on top of everything.  Excellent communication between the two brothers, combined with using expert advice where appropriate, means they are a very robust team. In terms of vaccinations, they make sure they are well-informed and are fully comfortable with the choices they are making.  Animal health is at the heart of what they are doing and a strong focus on that has impacted positively on productivity, profitability and overall job satisfaction.

(l-r): Koen Debel, Parkleands Vet, TJ Duffy, MSD Animal Health and Normal Watt, Dungannon Dairy farmer

“They are very strong advocates for a comprehensive vaccination programme, recognising the benefits of a preventative approach. Minimising antibiotic use is important for many reasons and they should only ever be used as a last resort. Some farmers may be reluctant to invest time and money into establishing a vaccination protocol, but in reality the cost of losing one calf can far outweigh the investment in preventative options. A robust vaccination programme enables farmers to reduce treatment costs and gives them peace of mind that they are doing everything possible to maximise animal health and performance.”  

For more information on either vaccine, click below or talk to your vet:

Bovilis INtranasal RSP Live
– Bovipast RSP


It’s back – Pr€vention for Profit competition

Now we’re looking for the best dairy calf rearer in the country #MyCalfOurFuture


Register here

This year, the Pr€vention for Profit competition is focused on calves. The #MyCalfOurFuture concept highlights the importance of the newborn calf to the sustainability of the farm, the farmer, their family and the rural economy.

The competition is aimed at dairy farmers who are maximising their on-farm profitability by focusing on the four key pillars of production – Nutrition, Genetics, Management and Animal Health. We aim to showcase the management of Irish dairy calves by identifying farmers who implement best practice when it comes to calf rearing.

There will be one dairy farmer selected from each of the four provinces. The four finalists will be assessed based on the four pillars of production. A panel of judges will conduct a single half day farm visit to assess their calves’ level of productivity and profitability.


Win an all-expenses paid European dairy farm study tour. To enter, CLICK HERE