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Thanks to

Holly Jentsch

C & H Livestock
Proper Handling of Livestock Vaccines

     V E T E R I N A R Y   S C I E N C E   I N F O R M A T I O N
     Dr. Dale A. Moore, Extension Veterinarian
     Penn State College of Agricultural Sciences
     115 W. L. Henning Building
     University Park, PA
     (814) 865-7696

     July 22, 1997
     Document Number: 2980198

     To provide immunity to your herd for protection against many infectious
diseases, it is important to vaccinate at the right time and with the right
product. Another factor often overlooked is the handling of the vaccine
before injection which can also affect herd immunity. Proper handling of the
vaccine from purchase to injection will maximize your vaccine purchase and
your time.

     Types of Vaccine
     ----------------
     Vaccines come in two basic types: modified live and killed. Modified
live vaccines may contain one or more agents of disease viruses, that have
been treated so that they do not cause disease but still reproduce in the
animal. The animal's immune system responds by producing antibodies. These
vaccines closely mimic an infection and should not be used in pregnant
animals.

     Killed vaccines are made from viruses or bacteria that have been
rendered inactive. The agents are not alive and they do not reproduce in the
animal's body. It is the components of the disease agents which stimulate
the animal's body to produce antibodies which aid in preventing disease if
the animal is exposed. Killed vaccines are generally safe to give to
pregnant animals.

     Purchase and Storage of Vaccines
     --------------------------------
     Vaccines should be kept cool at all times. Heating will render the
vaccines  ineffective. If purchased vaccines arrive warm, not refrigerated,
they should be returned. Store all vaccines in the refrigerator. Do not
freeze. Freezing will alter the vaccine's effectiveness. When transporting
vaccine, keep cool with an ice pack until injection into the animal.

     Injections
     ----------
     When mixing the vaccine, use only the diluent (rehydrating solution)
provided.  Count the number of animals which need to be vaccinated and only
mix as much  as you need. Once mixed, the vaccine needs to be used
immediately. Any  leftover vaccine must be discarded because it will lose
effectiveness if      stored after mixing.

     Disposable needles and syringes are not designed to be reused. Reusable
syringes need to be in good working condition and needles sharp. Syringes
should be free of any contaminants, including disinfection solution which
may decrease the effectiveness of the vaccine. Never leave a needle and/or
syringe in the top of any medication or vaccine bottle. This can lead to
contamination of the bottle contents, needle, or syringe.

     Follow label directions for the proper injection site. Some vaccines
are designed to be given under the skin (SQ or subcutaneously) and some are
given  in the muscle (IM or intramuscularly). IF both routes are listed,
give under the skin because this will minimize muscle tissue damage which
can affect meat quality. Inject into a clean, dry area, preferably in a
triangular area in the  neck in front of the shoulder and below the spinal
column.

     Timing of Vaccinations
     ----------------------
     Follow the label directions for timing of vaccinations. Usually,
initial vaccination of young (4 to 8 months old) heifers requires 2 doses of
vaccine 2 to 4 weeks apart. Annual boosters with a single dose are then
recommended.

     Withdrawal Times
     ----------------
     Withdrawal times for slaughter are listed on the vaccine package
insert. Most are 21 to 28 days after injection.

     Contact your veterinarian for the best vaccines for your herd. Maximize
your vaccine purchase and your valuable time by following proper vaccination
procedures.

     Glossary of Terms
     -----------------
        bacterin      -- vaccine made from killed bacterial products
        diluent       -- liquid used to rehydrate a vaccine; always comes
with the vaccine
        intramuscular -- in the muscle
        subcutaneous  -- under the skin
        toxoid        -- product containing a treated toxin (e.g. tetanus
toxoid)
        vaccine       -- any microbial preparation used for disease
prevention
        withdrawal    -- amount of time before legal slaughter/use for food


     Author: Dale A. Moore, Extension Veterinarian
    College of Agricultural Sciences, Penn State University


 

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