Cow/calf Veterinary Newsletter
· Alpha 7 vaccine at birth.
· Ranch calving supply list.
· Calving intervention rules of management.
· Abortion management
Why give Alpha 7 vaccine at birth?
Many of you have adopted the management technique of giving the calf it’s 7-way vaccine at or near birth. For those who do not, here are some thoughts:
*If you tag your calves at birth you can do this.
*You give this vaccine at birth and not at branding… you are just moving the vaccination time.
*The oil adjuvant (carrier) will last until preconditioning (no other 7-way vaccine has this technology).
*All Clostridial (7-way) vaccines should be given subcutaneously in the dewlap of the neck.
(Dewlap = where you would place a brisket tag)
*You should purchase small vials (10 ds), shake well & use clean needles to avoid vaccine lumps.
*The cost is similar to other blackleg vaccines and with the owner administration BQA is better.
This vaccine has virtually eliminated Over-eating Disease in the herds that have moved to this program.
Bear Paw Veterinary Service Calving Supply List
This List is to help prepare the ranch for calving…not all these are absolutely necessary but it does help to have a reminder. If you have questions on these products, please don’t hesitate to call, that is why we are here!
Liquid soap (to scrub cow and person)
Tamed iodine solution (e.g. Povidine or Betadine solution)
Uterine Boluses or Enema bag to flush after calving
Fishing string or suture to tie off umbilicus if needed
2 or 3 OB chains
2 or 3 OB handles
6 cc syringes
60 cc syringes
16 x 5/8 needles
Esophageal feeder or enema bag to tube feed the calf
Biomycin 200 or LA200
Sedative (for calming a heifer or cow if needed)
Procaine Penicillin G
Anti – inflammatory
Meloxican tablets (1 per 30lb body weight)
C & D Antitoxin
Alpha 7 (7 – way oil clostridial vaccine)
Epic calf electrolyte
Frozen or Fresh
Powder colostrum replacer (quality, 100gm products)
Calving Stages and Management
Allocation of time to monitor heifers and cows during this season is vital. Four hours from the cow starting to push, to the calf hitting the ground is an average time frame. Three to four hour interval observation checks are important but tiring; therefore, adequate staff is important.
Timely intervention is crucial. Early assistance, especially for heifers, is linked to decreased time in labor, which improves calf vigor and future reproductive performance of the dam. Knowledge of the stages of labor and normal time frames are essential.
Stage 1: Cervical Dilation Stage; cow looks for isolation, vaginal mucus increases, cervical plug is passed, signs of restlessness and colic (2-6hrs).
Stage 2: Fetal Expulsion Stage; active pushing, water breaks, calf (foot) sac appears at vulva, calf passes via the birth canal (2-4hrs).
Stage 3: Fetal Membrane (Placenta) Passage; fetal membranes should slough within eight hours. Don’t manually remove them.
The rules of intervention are based on these time frames and will help decide when the cow/heifer
should be examined.
Rules of Intervention:
1. Cow in stage 1 labor > 6hrs without starting to push = examine.
2. Cow in stage 2 labor for 2hrs and progress is slow/absent = examine.
3. Foot sac hanging from vulva and delivery not complete in 2hrs = examine.
4. Feet visible with no progress within 30 minutes = examine.
5. Interruption of normal progress of labor at any time = examine.
When it is time to examine the cow/heifer, it’s important to observe cleanliness and lubrication. It’s best not to use soaps for lubrication as they will dry out the birth canal. Water based lubes are best, ie. J-Lube.
If upon exam you discover the heifer needs assistance, and you are unable to deliver the calf within 30 minutes, reassess and consider calling the vet!
Cow/calf Abortion Management
Postmortems & Sample Collection:
What if it is an infectious abortion? What if other cows will ensue? This is always a concern… is this a single event or a mess to follow?
This is my veterinary suggestion: expect the best prepare for the worst.
Every abortion or unexplainable loss of animal justifies a postmortem (autopsy). Samples should be collected if the cause is unknown and preserved. If the problem continues these frozen and formalin fixed samples can be very useful in determining the cause.
If at the end of the calving season it was an isolated event… the samples can be discarded. You can always throw samples away but you can’t go back and collect them. If the problem continues, multiple samples increase accuracy of diagnosing the cause.
Many abortions are caused from the placenta becoming inflamed or infected. Placentitis can only be diagnosed at the lab from placental tissue. The buttons of the cow and the attachment of the calf membranes. Many producers submit an aborted or still-borne calf but do not collect the placenta which can miss the reason of the abortion (always submit placenta if possible).
Paul McCann, DVM
Bear Paw Veterinary Service