Minimize Reproductive Diseases
Management decisions can minimize reproductive diseases.
by Kasey Miller, associate editor
SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (Dec. 4, 2012) — Reproductive diseases affect cattle at all stages of reproduction, from preconception to postcalving, and can cause significant losses, Russ Daly, Extension veterinarian at South Dakota State University told attendees of the Applied Reproductive Strategies in Beef Cattle (ARSBC) symposium Dec. 3-4, 2012, in Sioux Falls, S.D.
Due to the severity of these diseases, it is imperative to keep the problems out of the herd with a biosecurity plan. The factors of disease — host, environment, agent and management — all interact with each other, so producers should know that solutions should consider all factors (see Fig. 1 below).
The biggest risk factor to an operation’s biosecurity is incoming animals. Daly said that visitors, equipment, etc., are also considerations, but they pale in comparison to the risk associated with incoming animals.
In developing a biosecurity plan, Daly recommended four steps:
- Do your homework on the source of animals. Find out what testing and vaccination programs are used at the source and the herd’s performance. Daly suggested veterinarian-to-veterinarian consultation.
- Isolate or quarantine new animals. Daly recommended isolating new animals for 30-60 days to allow for organism shedding, which increases with stress; or at least for as long as practically possible. New animals should have no nose-to-nose contact with existing animals in the herd until after isolation. This time period also allows for diagnostic testing or vaccination/ acclimation. However, he warned, no amount of time will protect against cattle persistently infected with bovine viral diarrhea (PI-BVD), so testing is great insurance against contamination.
- Vaccination. Daly reminds that vaccination does not necessarily equate to immunity as individual response to vaccine vary. The goal, he says, of vaccination is not to render an individual immune to disease, but to stimulate sufficient immunity within a herd to prevent an epidemic, or widespread outbreak.
- Environmental control. The environment affects the ease with which a disease can be transmitted as well as the resistance animals have to the disease agent.
Other management considerations he mentioned included the group composition (number of new animals and number of new sources), segregation from higher-risk groups (keeping new animals away from breeding females) and group size.
The most prevalent reproductive diseases, such as BVD, trichomoniasis (trich), infectious bovine rhinotracheitis (IBR), leptospirosis, vibriosis and neospora, are some of the most devastating reproductive diseases, so it is integral to develop a biosecurity program and working relationship with your veterinarian to combat these diseases. Work with your veterinarian to develop a testing, preventative treatment and vaccination protocol that works for your operation, he urged.
Click hereto view larger image of Fig. 1: The epidemiologic triad.
Daly spoke during Tuesday's ARSBC session focused on vaccination and pregnancy determination. Visit the Newsroom at www.appliedreprostrategies.com to listen to this presentation and to view the PowerPoint slides and proceedings paper submitted by Daly to accompany it.
Comprehensive coverage of the symposium is available online at www.appliedreprostrategies.com. Compiled by the Angus Journal editorial team, the site is made possible through sponsorship by the Beef Reproductive Task Force and LiveAuctions.tv.
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.