Lost 3 to blackleg

Help Support CattleToday:

OP
Bigfoot

Bigfoot

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 16, 2012
Messages
13,105
Reaction score
392
Location
Kentucky
I vaccinate at around 3 months of age and would be shocked if we lost a calf to blackleg in those first few months of life. And yes, we have blackleg in our soil. We were late vaccinating some years ago and lost 6 or 7 calves.
I’m not even sure I’ll change my protocol after this. It obviously didn’t show up just this year, at my place.
 

Stocker Steve

Well-known member
Joined
May 2, 2005
Messages
10,904
Reaction score
372
Location
Central Minnesota
If you have a dead calf the automatic response is to vaccinate for black leg. Not a bad plan, but obviously there are other causes of death. Kudos for getting it posted.
I found a young calf floating in a pond today. Could be suicide, could be blackleg, could be... We are in a drought so close grazing and dirt consumption are more common.
I think we are often in herd immunity situation. Some but not all are protected. Like corona.
 

wbvs58

Well-known member
Joined
Mar 20, 2011
Messages
5,624
Reaction score
631
Location
S.E. Queensland, Australia
Vaccination is your only defence with it. The indication to vaccinate earlier would be some deaths so a bit of a catch 22 situation. I hope there are no further deaths BF.

Ken
 

gizmom

Well-known member
Joined
Oct 12, 2009
Messages
3,471
Reaction score
311
Location
Molino Florida
Bigfoot
We lost several calves to Blackleg about 20 years ago. These were 2 month old calves, we were on property that we had just leased. At that time we were giving all of our cows vaccinations in the spring when we were working the calves. Worked with our vet and changed our vaccination plan on the cows to the fall. We made the switch and so far have not had anymore issues with Blackleg. Hopefully you won’t have anymore losses, I hate It for you.
 

cowgirl8

Well-known member
Joined
Mar 12, 2014
Messages
5,177
Reaction score
78
Location
NE Texas
Is it dry where you are? My vet told me its all over the ground and that when its dry and grass is grazed down, they can pick it up. We had one get it in a drought year right outside our windows. We were sitting eating lunch and saw a calf, too young really for the vaccine, fall down. We took it to the vet because it seemed really weird and came on fast. Vet did some major antibiotic infusions, shots, IV, oral..... he saved the calf and told us its very rare to save one but since we saw the calf as it was getting sick, that helped.....
 

Lucky_P

Well-known member
Joined
May 21, 2009
Messages
3,358
Reaction score
377
Location
Western KY
It's everywhere. If you've never had a case... your time is coming, eventually.
Typically, we see it worst here (I live in the same county as Bigfoot) when it gets hot and dry, but heavy rains and temporary inundations may also increase exposure due to coating forages with silt/soil.
I generally don't vaccinate until calves are 2 months old... before that, it's likely that colostral antibodies will interfere with response to bacterin.

FYI, anything you're giving to cows hoping to pass antibodies along in colostrum needs to be given not less than 8 weeks or so prior to calving... maximum colostral antibodies are 'set' by 5 weeks pre-calving... anything given after that point won't be in the mix, for all intents & purposes.
 
OP
Bigfoot

Bigfoot

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 16, 2012
Messages
13,105
Reaction score
392
Location
Kentucky
Is it dry where you are? My vet told me its all over the ground and that when its dry and grass is grazed down, they can pick it up. We had one get it in a drought year right outside our windows. We were sitting eating lunch and saw a calf, too young really for the vaccine, fall down. We took it to the vet because it seemed really weird and came on fast. Vet did some major antibiotic infusions, shots, IV, oral..... he saved the calf and told us its very rare to save one but since we saw the calf as it was getting sick, that helped.....
opposite, it's wet. I hear either climate can cause it.
 

farmerjan

Well-known member
Joined
Sep 1, 2016
Messages
3,573
Reaction score
590
Location
Shenandoah ValleyVirginia
How long do the antibodies stay in the system of the cows? Yearly vaccinations or every other year if they have had consistent success with raising healthy calves?
We miss a few cows now and then, try to vaccinate them when preg checking, so anywhere from 3-7 months pregnant... depends on where the cows are and when we get to the preg checking.... sometimes there is a group of 5-10 that get done when it is convenient and not given a vacc...
We also are VERY careful on where the animals are going, some places are more likely to have a problem... but one time years ago we had an outbreak at the "home farm" after a particularly wet spell... luckily caught both calves before we lost them.. but it was touch and go, iv's and all that on 2 calves....
I like to give the vaccs when they are in the "holding stage" .... not right after calving and not too close to calving... less stress on the cows... and ALL new cows are given BL, LEPTO, when they go through the chute to check mouths etc... use Triangle 10 on anything that is going to get mixed in with the "home herd".....due to possibilities of aborting etc., we use only killed virus vaccines. I know that many use MLV... but it is individual choice and we found this works for us.
I am not a big one on vaccines in general.... BUT... we buy and sell some so have to protect against introducing problems into the herd and this seems to work.
Yes, we lose a few now and then just like every other person... and not having a "closed herd" makes us more susceptible to resp problems especially in feeders.... so we have started a little more aggressive approach to vaccination.
We also are culling more and more for things like worminess and lack of pinkeye resistance.
 

OleScout

Well-known member
Joined
Jun 27, 2011
Messages
144
Reaction score
21
Location
North Mississippi
I’ve had cows on my home place for over thirty years so I wasn’t vaccinating. No problems, no need to right, until year before last. Lost 6 calves in two weeks. 1/3 of my little spring calf crop. Vet said blackleg.
Last year and this year when I get 10-12 on the ground they got vaccinated. Then catch the stragglers in ones or twos as I can but all done before 2 months old.
After reading a lot on the interwebs I went from Covixin 8 last year to Alpha 7 this year. Hoping the one shot will get them until time for the trailer ride.
 

GMN

Well-known member
Joined
Sep 7, 2005
Messages
3,320
Reaction score
5
Location
southwest, MO
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.
One way to tell is the animal will have bubbles under the skin-best to give everyone in that pen a shot of penicillin. I had one die from it when I first started farming and that is what our vet did.
 

Lucky_P

Well-known member
Joined
May 21, 2009
Messages
3,358
Reaction score
377
Location
Western KY
I used to think that cows that had been properly vaccinated as calves were good for life. But... I've seen cows with good calfhood vaccination histories die with classic blackleg lesions ... and almost all were in an estrus synch program. Seen enough of them, that we started boostering adult cows in our herd every 3 years or so... it's cheap insurance.

Not all cases will have crepitance (bubbles) that you can feel under skin or in deep muscle tissues. I've posted a bunch that had lesions only in the heart or diaphragm. Even if you cut into big muscle masses in the limbs, you could miss the diagnosis... most will have lesions in big muscle masses - with the characteristic dry, red-black appearance and separation of muscle fibers by gas bubbles, with a characteristic 'rancid butter' smell... but not all... if you don't look at heart, diaphragm, tongue, on those, you may miss it.
 

Jafruech

Well-known member
Joined
Jun 10, 2015
Messages
106
Reaction score
113
I used to think that cows that had been properly vaccinated as calves were good for life. But... I've seen cows with good calfhood vaccination histories die with classic blackleg lesions ... and almost all were in an estrus synch program. Seen enough of them, that we started boostering adult cows in our herd every 3 years or so... it's cheap insurance.

Not all cases will have crepitance (bubbles) that you can feel under skin or in deep muscle tissues. I've posted a bunch that had lesions only in the heart or diaphragm. Even if you cut into big muscle masses in the limbs, you could miss the diagnosis... most will have lesions in big muscle masses - with the characteristic dry, red-black appearance and separation of muscle fibers by gas bubbles, with a characteristic 'rancid butter' smell... but not all... if you don't look at heart, diaphragm, tongue, on those, you may miss it.
Pretty much every vaccine I've seen from 8 way to BVD says to give a booster annually, and you need to time it to where the calves are bred at the time to give passive immunity.
 

Banjo

Well-known member
Joined
Sep 26, 2011
Messages
1,454
Reaction score
185
Location
Ky
Does it have any relation to blank shank in tobacco?....its in the soil and shows up in wet fields
 

cowgirl8

Well-known member
Joined
Mar 12, 2014
Messages
5,177
Reaction score
78
Location
NE Texas
Back when i was 15, i saw my first dead calf. I had just started dating my now husband. When i got to his house, they had just found a big dead steer.. My husband worked for a vet and said it was blackleg. He showed me how to feel bubbles under the skin. I still remember that like it was yesterday.
 

Stocker Steve

Well-known member
Joined
May 2, 2005
Messages
10,904
Reaction score
372
Location
Central Minnesota
It's everywhere. If you've never had a case... your time is coming, eventually.
Typically, we see it worst here (I live in the same county as Bigfoot) when it gets hot and dry, but heavy rains and temporary inundations may also increase exposure due to coating forages with silt/soil.
Why do you think we see black leg in some, but not all, animals in the same program and the same environment ?

Since it is in the dirt - - can they ingest the BL bacteria in both water and forage ?
 

Stocker Steve

Well-known member
Joined
May 2, 2005
Messages
10,904
Reaction score
372
Location
Central Minnesota
Back when i was 15, i saw my first dead calf. I had just started dating my now husband. When i got to his house, they had just found a big dead steer.. My husband worked for a vet and said it was blackleg. He showed me how to feel bubbles under the skin. I still remember that like it was yesterday.
Was it a test?
 

Latest posts

Top