Lost 3 to blackleg

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Bigfoot

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Cruising for an internet beatdown here, but places like this are for people to learn.

I always vaccinate. Here's my normal protocol......When I get 2/3rd done calving, I give the first round. When I get done calving, I give those their second, and the late borns their first. Then, I catch em all again, worm again, and give the late borns their last dose.

Couple Saturdays ago, I worked the calves. Wasn't a blackleg shot in this town, and the vet closed at noon. (I know failure to plan ahead does not constitute an emergency) . I ordered some, and went ahead with everything else. Went with individual tetanus shots (I also know I should wait a couple weeks).

With the blackleg vaccine in my fridge, they start dropping. I've never lost one to blackleg, but I have my suspicions (take one to the lab). While waiting for results, I vaccinate. Personally never heard of 2 month old calves getting it, but that don't mean it won't happen.

Could I have managed the situation better? Was it avoidable? Takes a bunch of "ifs" to answer those questions. I know "if" frogs had pockets, they'd carry guns and shoot snakes. I do find great solice in that.
 

Ky hills

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Sorry to hear about the loss of those calves. I usually blackleg the calves with a similar time frame to what you do too. Right or wrong seems like most around here including myself suspect blackleg first if a calf with some size on it dies and some kind of respiratory problem isn’t suspected.
 

simme

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From an Alabama Extension website:
"What we commonly call blackleg is a highly fatal infection caused by Clostridium chauvoei, resulting in a gas gangrene in the muscle of young cattle, usually occurring between 4 months and 2 years of age. Blackleg seldom affects cattle older than 2 years of age, most likely due to immunity induced by vaccines or natural exposure. However, sporadic cases do occur in cattle older than 2 years and are often associated with the reuse of needles for multiple injections. Blackleg can also be a problem in cattle less than 4 months old that do not receive adequate passive immunity through colostrum. Some of the other clostridial diseases are not as restricted to younger animals as is seen with blackleg."

"Certain environmental conditions can aid transmission of clostridial bacteria. Animals that die from blackleg or other clostridial diseases can seed the environment with clostridial spores; therefore, these animal carcasses should be burned or buried in deep pits. Blackleg and clostridial disease outbreaks are often associated with land excavation or flooding that causes large amounts of spores to resurface."

"Because all blackleg vaccines are killed, or inactivated, it is critical that animals receive the initial primary and booster vaccination according to label directions. A single blackleg vaccination will not provide adequate protection. If blackleg has been a problem on a farm, a veterinarian may recommend vaccinations of newborn calves, but this is typically not necessary on most farms."

"Up until 3 to 4 months of age, calves are protected if they absorbed adequate colostrum from their dams within a few hours after birth. However, when they are 3 to 4 months old, they become susceptible to the disease, so all calves should be vaccinated for blackleg by 4 months of age. A revaccination 3 to 6 weeks later according to product label directions is necessary to provide the best protection. Delaying vaccination until a calf is older can be inviting disaster, and even if a newborn calf was vaccinated for blackleg, it will need to be revaccinated at 3 to 4 months of age."
 

farmerjan

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I am sorry you lost the calves. We lost 3 many years ago but they were a little older, and we did not vaccinate them back then. Found out what it was, and that particular pasture seemed to be in an area that blackleg was very prominent. We always hit them with blackleg as calves now; usually 6-10 weeks as they get worked through the chute to go to pasture. No, we don't often give the second dose since they have a good immune response with the cows having a strong response...
We give black leg to the cows when they come through the chute for preg check now because there seems to be more problem with it around... especially with wet conditions. We also hit them with Lepto because it is very common in this area for dairy cattle to have lepto problems if they do not vaccinate for it regularly. Both blackleg and lepto are cheap so why not give them the shot.
Our vet said it was basically counter-productive to vaccinate baby calves as it works against the cows passive immunity passed on to the calves. BUT again, we started giving the cows the shot when they go through the chute.
 

Buck Randall

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If I understand you right, you're vaccinating the cows in the spring, around calving time? You'd get better colostrum response by vaccinating at least a couple months before calving.
 

TCRanch

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So sorry for your loss! And I also don't initially vaccinate my calves until appx. 3 months old. I lost a 2 month old heifer calf a few years ago to enterotoxemia (Type D/overeating disease) but my vet still didn't think it was prudent to vaccinate all my calves at birth or earlier than 3 months.
 

ccr

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Bigfoot sorry you lost those calves.

Have you had a problem with blackleg on your place before?
 

CSM

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Thanks for sharing but I hate that this has happened. Cattle can certainly be a frustrating busines.
 

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