Spring is just a few weeks away - this is often the busiest time on a farm, and it can be easy to neglect important preventative steps for your livestock that will save you later.
During spring, losses due to clostridial diseases such as pulpy kidney, blackleg and black disease become a distinct possibility.
Little can be done to treat an animal affected by these clostridial diseases, the first sign is often discovering animals dead in the paddock.
Therefore the emphasis should be on prevention, and the key to prevention is to vaccinate your livestock.
To be effective, vaccines need to be given strategically.
Most vaccines give up to 12 months of protection and should be given at least annually.
As with any vaccination program, adult cows and ewes should be vaccinated approximately one month prior to calving and lambing to give their calves and lambs 'maternal' or 'passive' immunity through the colostrum.
Passive immunity lasts approximately for their first six weeks of life.
After this, calves and lambs must be vaccinated twice to gain 'active' immunity.
This should be carried out by two injections four to six weeks apart.
The first vaccination is often given at marking and the second vaccination is given four to six weeks later.
The enterotoxaemia vaccine is known for having a short duration of immunity, with only three or four months of protection.
Therefore a booster dose should be given strategically before a high-risk period i.e. before the beginning of spring.
Hopefully, all farmers will benefit from the upcoming spring conditions - without being vexed by the problems that spring may bring.
For further advice please contact your local veterinarian or Agriculture Victoria veterinary or animal health officer, or in NSW your Local Land Services.
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