From Dr Ruth Watkins re vaccinating young animals May 2008Dear Mary
My sister's vet and discussions which they have had with Intervet have resulted in them not vaccinating the calves under one month of age in my sister's Longhorn herd. Legally the Intervet company is adamant about this because they have not tested the vaccine on animals less than one month of age. Intervet is obviously telling vets that they cannot vaccinate animals below one month of age. I find this surprising and out of proportion to their recommendation to get on and see how ruminant species such as goats, camelids etc, on whom the vaccine has not been tested at all, be vaccinated in batches under the supervision of the vet.
I believe the concern may be about the two adjuvants used, the saponin in particular and the potential for sterile abscesses and possible reactions to saponin. I believe the concern in vaccination is about the prevention of abscesses - the gun used would not prevent the transfer of microlitres of blood within the lumen of the needle but the sterile pad cleans the outside of the needle of skin bacteria etc between shots. My brother in law spoke to the manufacturers in NZ because he was concerned about the waste of the last ml of vaccine.
There is no doubt that animals under one month of age can respond well to a killed vaccine (an injection of protein, antigen). That is not contested.
The result for my sister's herd is that they must gather them 6 times this Summer at 3 week intervals to vaccinate the calves as they come of age. They have Spring and Summer calves. (The last batch of calves may just get some colostral antibody). They had to organise several helpers to round up the cattle and get them back to the yard etc. In fact not all farmers have ordered the BTV vaccine, especially those with large herds and conservation grazing and without access to mobile crushes. You can see if they do get round to vaccinating the adults they may not get round to vaccinating the calves at a later date, or wait to vaccinate the whole herd at a later date.
Most kids and lambs are born in Spring so they will be of age now to vaccinate. Cattle not only calve in the Spring, but also during the Summer and autumn. In fact even in my sister's herd 20% of animals will remain non-immune this Summer because of the delay in vaccination of calves.
In addition to the non-vaccinated calves and herds and flocks are the wild ruminants, (the deer, of which there are countless in much of rural England) They graze in my sister's garden and in the fields. You can see that vaccination levels of 80% are most unlikely to be reached this year.
Butox swish has been put on all the Longhorn adults and calves in my sister's herd. Butox swish (deltamethrin) is also sold by Intervet and endorsed by Intervet as a tested midge killer. The experience in Europe last Summer was that deltamethrin or ivermectins did not in fact prevent animals from becoming infected, whatever repellent or lethal effect they may have on the midge.
I gave the reasons why vaccination of animals less than one month is not recommended, indeed it would seem it is forbidden.
Email received May 8 2008 from Dr Ruth Watkins
May 4th and
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