Vaccination protocols for dairy calves
There are many vaccines to select from when vaccinating dairy calves. No single vaccine protocol is appropriate for all operations; thus, vaccine protocol development requires understanding of the management of the dairy in order to assess the likelihood of various infections. Vaccines to limit the effects of clostridial infections, and respiratory viral infections, are most likely to be used in young calves. Vaccines to limit calf diarrhea are often used in cows to ensure high concentrations of passively acquired antibodies are present in the first 2 weeks of calf life. In older heifers, vaccines to prime resistance to agents that impact fertility or contribute to mastitis may be used. Other vaccines may be appropriate on a case-by-case basis. Producers need to keep records of which vaccines were given and when, and of which diseases occur in vaccinated calves, and when, to help the veterinarian confirm efficacy of vaccine protocols as used on each dairy. Veterinarians need to stay informed regarding which vaccines to recommend by periodically checking for new information from systematic reviews, meta-analyses, or randomized controlled field trials testing vaccine efficacy against naturally occurring disease.