On-Arrival Vaccination Research Shows Benefit to Bottom Line

By Douglas Hilbig, DVM, Beef Zoetis Technical Services

   Giving an antibiotic to high-risk cattle on-arrival helps control  bovine    respiratory disease (BRD) in stocker and feedlot operations. While this    offers an effective approach, recently we asked the question, would    vaccination on-arrival reduce illness and death due to BRD?

   In most stocker and feedlot operations there is a 30- to 60-day starter    phase, where cattle are acclimated to their new surroundings and the    health is monitored closely. Standard practice is to vaccinate shortly    after arrival and boost two weeks later. In many cases, the arrival    antibiotic can mask the lack of effect the arrival vaccination program    has, so health problems are assumed to be due to resistance of the    on arrival antibiotic, not the lack of effectiveness of the vaccination    program.

Oklahoma State University recently published the results from a 60-day trial where more than 1,400 high-risk calves were assigned to one of three vaccine protocols on-arrival at the feedlot.1 The calves in this study were not given an antibiotic on-arrival. Health and performance outcomes were measured to show the differences between the groups.

The three vaccine groups were:
• INFORCE™ 3 and ONE SHOT® BVD on-arrival; booster 14 days later with BOVI-SHIELD GOLD® 5
• Pyramid® 5 + Presponse® SQ on-arrival; booster 14 days later with Pyramid® 5
• Vista® Once SQ on-arrival; booster 14 days later Vista® 5

The INFORCE 3 and ONE SHOT BVD group was given an intranasal modified-live viral (MLV) vaccine for bovine herpesvirus 1 (the virus that causes infectious bovine rhinotracheitis—IBR), bovine respiratory syncytial virus (BRSV) and parainfluenza 3 (PI3) virus, in addition to an injectable MLV vaccine for bovine viral diarrhea (BVD) virus types 1 and 2, and M. haemolytica. The other two groups were given an injectable combination MLV respiratory and M. haemolytica vaccine.

It was expected several calves would need a first BRD treatment in the first 10 days of the study, since vaccines require time for the calves’ immune systems to mount a response. There was no statistical difference at the first treatment between the groups. The real difference between the groups occurs when looking at the percentage of calves needing a second and third BRD treatment.

The INFORCE 3 and ONE SHOT BVD group showed significantly less (p-value = 0.01) second and third treatments when compared to Vista Once SQ. INFORCE 3 and ONE SHOT BVD had measurably less mortality when compared to Pyramid 5 + Presponse SQ and Vista Once SQ.

Although the regimen using INFORCE 3 and ONE SHOT BVD required the greatest initial cost, the reduction in mortality losses experienced by the calves vaccinated with INFORCE 3 and ONE SHOT BVD resulted in an overall per-head benefit of $16.87 and $32.49 compared to calves vaccinated with Pyramid 5 + Presponse SQ and Vista Once SQ, respectively.

The study confirms that on arrival vaccination “protocol” of high risk calves impacts re-treatment and mortality rates. The other take-home from the study is that a protocol with an intranasal viral vaccination can result in improved well-being and better cattle performance. If you want to look closer at the data behind the results, you may view the complete study online.

As margins continue to tighten, the importance increases for stocker and feedlot managers to evaluate every program. If you have additional questions, I encourage you to visit with your Zoetis representative or veterinarian.  

About the author: Douglas Hilbig is a veterinarian with Zoetis Technical Services. Prior to joining Zoetis, Dr. Hilbig spent 22 years as a Veterinary Consultant for feedyard and stocker clients in Kansas and Oklahoma.  He started and owned a mixed practice and consulting service in Lakin, KS.

About Zoetis
Zoetis (zô-EH-tis) is the leading animal health company, dedicated to supporting its customers and their businesses. Building on more than 60 years of experience in animal health, Zoetis discovers, develops, manufactures and markets veterinary vaccines and medicines, complemented by diagnostic products and genetic tests and supported by a range of services. Zoetis serves veterinarians, livestock producers and people who raise and care for farm and companion animals with sales of its products in more than 100 countries. In 2015, the company generated annual revenue of $4.8 billion with approximately 9,000 employees. For more information, visit www.zoetisUS.com.

For more information, contact:
Leona Ling Ferguson


Lori Maude
Bader Rutter

Reference :
1 Step DL, Krehbiel CR, Hixon C, et al. Evaluation of Commercially Available Multivalent Modified-Live Viral Vaccines on Health and Performance in Feedlot Cattle. Jacobs J Vaccine Vaccination. 2015, 1(2): 1-8.



Mon–Fri, 8:30am–8:00pm ET

This site is intended for U.S. Animal Healthcare Professionals. The product information provided in this site is intended only for residents of the United States. The products discussed herein may not have marketing authorization or may have different product labeling in different countries. The animal health information contained herein is provided for educational purposes only and is not intended to replace discussions with an animal healthcare professional. All decisions regarding the care of a veterinary patient must be made with an animal healthcare professional, considering the unique characteristics of the patient.

All trademarks are the property of Zoetis Services LLC or a related company or a licensor unless otherwise noted. ©2022 Zoetis Services LLC. All rights reserved.