Vaccines – Top Tips for Effective Use

Here are some top tips to help maximise the effectiveness of any vaccines you may get prescribed this autumn. Something we come across when prescribing these vaccines is our assumption that everyone already knows the best practice for using these valuable products. So this is a quick, concise guide that is great to refer back to

  • Storing correctly is vital

Vaccines are incredibly temperature sensitive, invest in an accurate thermometer for your fridge and ensure the temperature stays between 2 and 8 degrees. Extreme cold can be more damaging to the vaccine so do not leave in an exposed place during the winter.

  • Correct dosage

Weigh your animals in groups before heading to collect your prescription. Buy just enough to treat the amount of animals you can physically manage in 8 hours. Once the vaccine has been open 8 hours or more, there can be questions about how effective the vaccine will be, as the air and pathogens that are naturally around us can affect the vaccines. Most vaccines come in a range of quantities and so the best advice is to dose in batches, maximising the effectiveness of the vaccine.

  • Method of giving the vaccine

Ensuring you are giving the vaccine to a healthy animal is very important as they need their full immune system to respond to maximise the effectiveness of the vaccine. Injecting the correct part of the animal, through clean skin/ fleece with a sterile sharp needle will increase the chances of the vaccine entering the blood stream and not resulting in an abscess. Always ensure you read the instructions that come with the product

  • Timing is everything

If your vaccine is aimed at young stock via the colostrum then it is imperative that you time the dose according to the guidelines for that product. If it is dosed too far away from birth or too close to birth then there will not be sufficient antibodies in the colostrum and they will not get into the blood stream of the animal in that short window where absorption is at its best, meaning your vaccine many not be effective.

  • Colostrum

Leading on from the timing, if your young stock does not get 5% of its body weight of colostrum in the first 6 hours of birth and then a further 5% within 24 hours then the antibodies from the vaccine will not be at the optimum levels in the blood stream. With a calf this can equate to 20 minutes of suckling. Monitoring is key to ensure the calf takes the full amount if with the mother.


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