Cattle Preconditioning Program

Cattle prices are higher than ever before and Pineview Veterinary Hospital wants to help you get the most return on every dollar you spend on your cattle. That’s why we use and recommend the beef industry’s #1 branded preconditioning program – SelectVac from Zoetis.

As we all know, weaning is one of the most stressful events in a calf’s life. The traditional way of weaning unvaccinated calves as they are loaded onto a trailer for shipping to a feedyard creates the perfect chance for animals to get very sick. Ideally, calves would be vaccinated and boostered, then weaned, then shipped with weeks in between each event. This allows the vaccines to have time to work and boost the immune system before these animals are stressed and then exposed to new diseases. This is preconditioning – getting these animals ready for what we know to be unavoidable, high-stress situations.

And the numbers speak for themselves – Preconditioned calves can bring up to $67.24 more profit per head than non-preconditioned calves. But what vaccines should be used? There are basic vaccines that all cattle should receive during calfhood:

1. CDT – also called the “7-way” or “8-way” shot or the “blackleg shot”, this vaccine protects against Clostridial diseases: C. chauvoei, C. septicum, C. haemolyticum, C. novyi, C. sordellii, and C. perfringens types C and D. These bacteria live in the soil and are especially important in very young animals.

2. Respiratory – there are 4 common respiratory diseases that cause significant disease in our cattle population.

  • a. IBR – infectious bovine rhinotracheitis. This is a virus that causes abortions in heifers and mature cows, as well as respiratory disease in cattle of all ages. There is no specific treatment for IBR and it can allow secondary bacterial infections to make the disease even worse.
  • b. BVD – bovine viral diarrhea. Also a virus, it causes problems for calves during gestation and can cause respiratory and GI disease once they are born. There are two types – I and II. It is important to choose a vaccine that includes both types.
  • c. PI3
  • d. BRSV – bovine respiratory syncitial virus.

There are other respiratory vaccines that may be recommended by us depending on your herd’s history and a number of risk factors. These additional vaccines include:

1. Mannheimia (pasturella) haemolytica – this is the most common bacteria associated with bovine pneumonia. Though a normal inhabitant of the nasopharynx in healthy cattle, stress or a viral respiratory infection can quickly cause this bacteria to overgrow and cause significant disease.

2. Pasteurella multocida – Also a normal inhabitant of healthy cattle, this bacteria seems to affect chronically sick animals, though this association is poorly understood.

3. Histophilus somni – Another normal inhabitant, this bacteria can quickly spread from the lungs to the brain, myocardium, synovium, and the surface of the lungs and heart.

SelectVac offers several different options depending in your goals for your cattle and your set-up.

PreVac – this is for calves processed once at the herd of origin two-six week prior to shipment.

PreVac+ – this is for calves processed twice at the herd of origin with the last processing including all products two-six weeks prior to shipment.

WeanVac – this is for calves processed twice at the herd of origin with the last processing including all products at or near weaning. Calves must be held at the herd of origin for at least 45 days post-weaning.

StockerVac – this is for purchased calves processed twice with the last processing at least 14 days prior to shipment. Calves must be held for at least 60 days total.

So let us help you to get your calves off to the best possible start! Even if you are retaining heifers to increase your breeding herd, consistent vaccinations as calves give them the best possible start!

For more information about each specific program and enrollment forms, please visit:

Providing High Quality, Progressive Veterinary Medicine to the Large Animals in Our Community.