Timing is everything when it comes to successful reproductive programs, and that includes timing of vaccinations to help prevent reproductive diseases. Following the timing guidelines on product labels is critically important to helping guarantee safety and efficacy.

“Vaccinating against reproductive diseases helps keep cows pregnant, helping protect reproductive programs and the bottom line,” says Victor Cortese, DVM, PhD, Dipl. ABVP, Zoetis. Cortese encourages veterinarians to work with producers to set up vaccination programs and help them follow labeled directions which are key to vaccine efficacy and safety, especially when using modified-live virus (MLV) vaccines.

Vaccines stimulate the immune system in different ways. MLV vaccines contain live organisms that undergo limited replication within the body, while killed vaccines use dead organisms. “MLV vaccines closely mimic a natural infection, since the animal is actually seeing the modified pathogen in a more natural form,” Cortese says. “As a result, MLV vaccines can help create an effective, balanced and what should be an entire immune response.”

MLV vaccines are safe to use, but there are risks involved when using them in pregnant cattle,” adds Cortese. “Using these vaccines against their label indications and without supervision from a veterinarian are the biggest risks of all.”

Cortese also recommends having written programs for producers, including timing guidelines for vaccinations, which will provide the guidelines for anyone administering vaccines on an operation. Veterinarians should review them regularly with their producers and their employees to help keep them up to date.

Veterinarians should also encourage producers to keep accurate vaccination and reproductive records. Record the date the first vaccination is given, and review the records to determine when a booster shot is needed.