Maternal Matters: Vaccinations for a suckler herd

Vaccines are incredibly important to help prevent disease within a suckler herd. This page looks at how to use vaccinations in the suckler herd responsibly to gain better returns.

Why vaccinate?

Vaccines stimulate the immune system without actually infecting animals with disease. If the vaccinated animal then comes into contact with the disease itself, its immune system will recognise it and immediately produce the antibodies it needs to fight it.   

There is a wide range of vaccines licensed for use on farm animals in the UK. Increased use of vaccines should reduce the level of disease and, therefore, the need for antibiotics.

How to use vaccines and other medicines responsibly

Vaccinations in suckler herds

It is important to work with your vet to produce an active health plan specific to your herd, covering recommended vaccinations and internal and external parasite treatments.

Currently, there are vaccinations available for the following diseases in the UK:

  • Clostridial diseases
  • Respiratory diseases
  • Enteritis
  • Pasteurellosis
  • Leptospirosis
  • Lungworm
  • Mastitis
  • Ringworm
  • Bovine viral diarrhoea (BVD)
  • Salmonella

Buying in stock is the most common way for new diseases to arrive on a farm. Before agreeing to purchase, ask the vendor if they are in a CHeCs accredited scheme, what diseases they test for and, most importantly, the results.

More information on buying cattle in the buyers' checklist

BVD Free England

BVD is one of the biggest disease issues facing the UK cattle industry. It has been estimated to cost between £13 and £31 per cow in Britain. The national cost could be as high as £61m per year.

BVD Free England is a voluntary industry-led scheme working to eliminate BVD from all cattle in England. The key to success is to identify and remove all animals persistently infected with the BVD virus from the English cattle herd.

Learn more about BVD Free England

Using medicines responsibly

The ‘Using medicines responsibly’ manual looks at the increasing concern over the threat of antimicrobial resistance to human and animal health. We all have a part to play in ensuring all animal medicines are used responsibly.

Find out more about using medicines in a responsible way

Useful links