When it comes to scour prevention, most producers still rely on dam-level vaccines. While that 1970s technology has done little to reduce the overall impact of scours, it’s been the only tool available for decades.
Today, those scour vaccines are being displaced by a new, more effective technology: guaranteed levels of scour-targeting antibodies delivered directly to the newborn calf with First Defense® products.
This new approach eliminates a major problem with all vaccines: the variable response rate. Even under ideal conditions, getting a 100% response rate to vaccines is biologically impossible. In a typical farm environment, immunologists predict a response rate closer to 60-70% because of environmental stresses, protocol drift and interference from other vaccinations. That means 30-40% of calves are left unprotected by dam-level scour vaccines.
A study illustrates the problem: In samples taken from across the U.S., dam antibody levels varied tremendously, even in well-vaccinated herds. Half of the calves in the study would be receiving colostrum from their dams that was low in both general antibodies and antibodies specific to scour-causing pathogens. To successfully defeat scours, calves need both. But only 1%, 3% and 7% of sampled cows provided colostrum that was both high in general antibodies and antibodies against coronavirus, rotavirus and E. coli pathogens, respectively. Clearly dam-level scour vaccines are not providing protection to every calf.
Trust your herd health to a more reliable technology: The FIRST DEFENSE line of USDA-approved veterinary products give verified antibodies directly to the calf, providing immediate, guaranteed protection in one oral dose. There’s no variable response rate to worry about. Every calf receives the coronavirus, rotavirus and E. coli antibodies they need, so all are ready to fight scour-causing pathogens from the first encounter.
Is it time to leave outdated vaccines behind? Get started here.