What Vaccines do livestock need and why

Vaccination protects the welfare of farm animals by preventing or reducing disease, which in turn reduces the pain and suffering often associated with illness. Farm animals, just like people, are susceptible to different diseases caused by bacteria, viruses, fungi, and parasites that can lead to a reduction in production, fertility crisis such as abortion or stillbirths, death in cattle and economic losses to Nigerian Livestock Producers.

It, therefore, makes sense to want to protect these livestock and other farm animals however possible. The reduction of these diseases will help livestock to enjoy better health and welfare allowing the animal to be optimal in production. It also means that vaccination has an important role to play in the provision of healthy livestock and also in the use of antibiotics on the farm.

Veterinary doctors are in charge of providing farmers with a range of vaccines needed to protect the welfare and health of their animals. These vaccines are licensed and produced under strict regulatory conditions ensuring their safety and quality before being administered.

In many cases, we know the major outbreak of diseases on farms is based on history, localization and veterinary exposure of the animal. This means a strategic approach can be put in place to address these diseases by tailoring the needs of the animals to a vaccination program

On the farm, vaccines must be stored at the correct temperature and used according to directions provided to ensure they perform optimally. Vaccines work by stimulating the animal’s own immune system to respond and ‘remember’ should a real disease threat occur in the future. The vaccination of animals, therefore, does not present a risk to the food we eat from those animals.

Dairy, Beef Cattle and Sheep Vaccination
Animals that produce our beef, lamb and dairy products can be protected from a range of common endemic and sometimes exotic disease threats found in the country.

Reassuringly, vaccines are readily available to address a range of these bacterial diseases that are a constant threat to our livestock.

In Nigeria, the major vaccines used in livestock treatment are two, one in large ruminant and the other in small ruminants. For large ruminants (cattle), Contagious Bovine Pleuropneumonia (CBPP) and for small ruminants (sheep and goats), Peste des Petit ruminants (PPR) vaccine these vaccines are commonly used by farmers to protect their livestock from fatal diseases.

On-farm, animals may also succumb to respiratory diseases like pneumonia. These are painful conditions that make breathing difficult, damage lungs and even if successfully treated can mean animals do not grow as well as expected. Preventing outbreaks of respiratory disease through vaccination has major welfare benefits for animals and also helps farmers to produce affordable and safe food.

The animal health community in Nigeria is actively working together to control some of the endemic diseases on a national level. Diseases such as foot rot which causes significant reproduction and production losses.

Conclusions

  • Vaccination is important for the prevention of bacterial, viral, fungal and parasitic diseases to help in safeguarding the health and welfare of the livestock.
  • Vaccines sold in the Nigerian market meet rigorous safety, efficacy and quality standards.
  • Innovations in vaccinology continue to benefit farmed animals and fish and contribute to the production of safe and affordable food.
  • Always follow the instructions on the vaccine label in administering to animals to prevent residues of the vaccines in slaughtered animals.
  • Discussing your vaccination programs with your vet doctor will help to assist you with which vaccinations that will be most valuable in maintaining your herd’s health and making it profitable.