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Help reduce stress of disease at weaning

July 28, 2014
POSTED BY: Greg Edwards | DVM | Managing Veterinarian | Dairy Technical Services | Zoetis

Weaning brings enough stress. Don’t let disease add another. The stresses at weaning can leave a calf susceptible to disease.

Calves need to be transitioned gradually to the new feeding program and group housing so they maintain enough intake to keep growing and ward off disease challenges. A well-planned management program can make the transition easier and minimize the number of stressors placed on your calves. Help manage transition challenges through weaning by:

  • Keeping a consistent diet
  • Providing adequate feeding and resting space
  • Offering clean, free-choice water that is neither frozen nor too hot
  • Avoiding overcrowded pens
  • Grouping calves by similar age and size
  • Incorporating a pneumonia prevention and control program

Post-weaning housing and socialization challenges can open the door to respiratory problems. In addition to health management protocols, develop vaccination programs with your herd veterinarian based on the age of the animal, environment and best management practices.

Work to stay ahead to help prevent the added stress of disease at weaning:

  • Boost the immunity of INFORCE 3 respiratory vaccine that was given at birth. Calves vaccinated before the age of 6 months should be revaccinated after 6 months of age to avoid possible antibody interference with the initial immunization.
  • ONE SHOT® BVD can help expand respiratory vaccination programs when used concurrently with INFORCE 3 to help better protect young calves and build immunity they need prior to commingling.

With the right management plan and solutions in place, weaning doesn't have to be stressful for dairy calves or you.

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