There are many different combinations and brands of Blackleg vaccines available on the market today. It can be difficult to decide which one is best for your herd. The following information should be used only as a guide. Consult a veterinarian for the best options for your specific herd.
Blackleg is a term that encompasses a family of bacteria that can affect the muscles, liver, gut, and kidneys. All of these are spore forming, and are found in the soil. They enter cattle either by ingestion of the spore or through an open wound.
Blackleg vaccines can be classified into two groups: New Adjuvants and Traditional Adjuvants. An adjuvant is the carrier for the antigen and is necessary for a proper immune response. In general, New Adjuvants require a 2mL dose while the Traditional Adjuvants require a 5mL dose. Some manufacturers include the adjuvant name, such as “Spur”, in their product names, for example Vision 7 w/Spur.
The Blackleg Vaccine can safely be given any time from birth to turn out in the pasture, but will be more effective if given after calves reach 4-6 weeks of age. Each cow/calf operation is different, so determining the best time to vaccinate should fit your individual situation. Booster shots are required for 7 Way Blackleg by the manufacturer anywhere from 2 – 6 weeks after the initial shot and then annually. Currently, the only exception is Alpha 7 by Boehringer. One dose of Alpha 7 will protect until weaning.
In some herds, Overeating disease caused by Cl. perfringens Type C can affect young nursing calves. If this is a concern, immunize for Overeating disease shortly after birth with Alpha CD. For severe challenges, a C&D Antitoxin product can be used to provide immediate, but temporary, protection. In any case, administer the 7 Way Blackleg before they go to pasture.
The most common side effect of Blackleg vaccines are swelling at the injection site. Keep this in mind if you are vaccinating show cattle or are concerned about this side effect. The valleyvet.com website indicates the potential of tissue reactions in the description of the various Blackleg vaccines.
8-Way Blackleg vaccines include the traditional 7-Way but also have protection for Red Water Disease. Red Water is found primarily in the western part of the United States, but has a 95% mortality rate. Blackleg & Pastuerella Vaccines
Somnus is combined with Blackleg in many products. H. somnus is a bacterium that can be present in respiratory disease, and can cause joint and central nervous system infections. This can be a problem in more confined areas such as feedlots. Blackleg & Somnus Vaccines
Pinkeye is also available in combination with 7 Way Blackleg. There are other options to vaccinate against Pinkeye apart from a 7 Way Blackleg that should also be considered. Blackleg & Pinkeye Vaccines
Deciding on the correct Blackleg vaccination for your herd will depend on your overall vaccination program. A well planned program will help protect your herd and also help maximize the herd productivity.
If you have questions about the different products available, our experienced staff Veterinarians will help you find answers that make sense. 1-800-468-0059.