Protecting Your Newly Weaned Suckled Calves Against Pneumonia This Winter

A nationwide shortage of forage leading to increased feed costs for weaned calves this winter, means farmers need to focus on converting feed into growth as efficiently as possible.

Pneumonia can have a significant impact on production, with weight loss both during and after the disease outbreak, and a subsequent reduction in daily liveweight gain.

It has been estimated that pneumonia costs around £82 per calf1. However this estimation is based only on losses during and immediately after the disease outbreak, and does not include any longer-term impact on production. Nor does it account for the losses in sub-clinically affected calves; those calves which appear normal, but whose growth is impacted by unseen lung damage.

So, with housing just around the corner, our thoughts turn to how we can reduce the stress in spring-born suckled calves at housing to ensure they continue growing as efficiently as possible, and net you the best return.

Weaning, coupled with a change in diet, establishing new social groups, housing and transport are all major stressors for the calf.

When animals are stressed their ability to fight off infection is reduced making them more susceptible to infection. This is why weaning is considered to be a predisposing factor to pneumonia2.

Reducing the effects of the multiple stressors around the time of weaning in combination with a suitable vaccination programme can help reduce mortality and morbidity in calves3.

Vaccine Options

Deciding which vaccine programme to introduce will depend on which pathogens you need to protect your calves against, length of protection required and how quickly you need the protection to take effect.

Zoetis have a comprehensive range of respiratory vaccines allowing the flexibility to select an appropriate vaccination programme based on the needs of each individual farm.

Here’s a look at some options:

Option 1 – Broad Protection Against the Pneumonia Viruses

Product: Rispoval® 4
Protects against: BRSv, PI3v, IBR and BVDv
Length of protection: 6 months
Best for: Farmers wanting broad protection against the key viral causes of pneumonia which lasts through the winter housing period.

Two doses of Rispoval® 4 given intramuscularly 3-4 weeks apart provides cover against all four key viral causes of pneumonia (BRSv, PI3v, IBR and BVDv) for up to 6 months, ensuring broad protection throughout the winter housing period.

Option 2: Where IBR Protection is Not Required or Where an IBR Marker Vaccine is Needed

Products: Rispoval® 3 +/- Rispoval® IBR Marker Live
Protects against: BRSv, PI3v & BVDv +/- IBR
Length of protection: 6 months
Best for: Farmers wanting protection against the key viral causes of pneumonia but not against IBR, or who would prefer to use a Marker IBR vaccine (blood tests can differentiate between vaccine immunity and immunity from exposure to the virus). This is most likely for pedigree calves, or breeding replacements.

A 2-dose course of Rispoval® 3 will provide cover against three key viral causes of pneumonia (BRSv, PI3v, and BVDv) for up to 6 months, ensuring protection throughout the winter housing period. Where IBR cover is required from a marker vaccine, a single dose of Rispoval® IBR-Marker Live will provide 6 months of protection.

Option 3: Rapid Onset Protection

Products: Rispoval® IntraNasal+Tracherine
Protects against: BRSv, PI3v + IBR
Length of protection: up to 6 months
Best for: Bought-in calves where rapid protection is required, or home-bred calves where BVDv protection is not required and rapid onset cover is.

Rispoval® IntraNasal will protect against BRSv and PI3v in just 5-10 days (with cover provided for 12 weeks) and Tracherine against IBR in just 4 days (with cover provided for 6 months). Six months protection against BRSv and Pi3v can be achieved by administering a further dose of Rispoval® IntraNasal 12 weeks after the initial dose.

Investing in minimising the inevitable stressors around weaning and housing, and implementing an appropriate vaccination programme, as advised by your vet, will help keep calves healthy and growing as efficiently as possible, ensuring we make best use of our forage this winter.


1. ANDREWS A.H., (2000) Cattle Practice Vol 8 Part 2, 109-114
2. Snowder G: Genetics, environment and bovine respiratory disease. Anim Health Res Rev. 2009, 10: 117-119.
3. Cole NA. Preconditioning calves for the feedlot. Vet Clin North Am Food Anim Pract. 1985;1:401–411. [PubMed]

*No information is available on the safety and efficacy of concurrent use of Rispoval® IntraNasal with Tracherine™ or Rispoval® 3 with Rispoval® IBR-Marker Live. The decision regarding timing of administration of either vaccine in relation to the other should be made by the prescribing veterinary surgeon on a case by case basis.

Rispoval® 4 contains attenuated BRSV strain 375 and PI3V ts strain with inactivated, adjuvanted IBR strain Cooper and BVDv Type 1 viruses cytopathic strain 5960 and non-cytopathic strain 6309 minimum. (POM-V)

Rispoval 3 contains modified live PI3 virus, strain RLB103 and BRSV strain 375 with inactivated adjuvanted BVDV type 1, strains 5960 (cytopathic) and 6309 (non-cytopathic) (POM-V) Rispoval® RS+PI3 IntraNasal contains modified live Bovine PI3 virus, ts strain RLB103 and modified live BRSV, strain 375 (POM-V) Rispoval® IBR-Marker Live contains attenuated gE negative BHV-1 strain Difivac (POM-V)

Further information is available from the Summary of Product Characteristics or please contact your veterinary surgeon or Zoetis UK Ltd, Walton Oaks, Tadworth, Surrey KT20 7NS. Customer Support: 0845 300 8034. Use medicines responsibly ( Date of Preparation: Aug18 MM-03796