Over the last number of months farmers will be aware of shortages of lepto vaccines in the Irish market. Leptospirosis is endemic in many herds, which means the bacteria is present. It is my long-held view that the disease can affect both you and your cows. This vaccination is a must for Irish farmers and their herds.
The disease can cause high temperatures, milk drops and abortions at cow and herd level. The risk period was thought to be at grazing time, but potentially is an all-year-round issue/risk. It can also be shed in urine, affecting humans making it a zoonotic disease.
For farms who haven’t vaccinated yet this year, they can now use this vaccine as part of their herd control plan
With the current two vaccines on the market out of stock, farmers now have an option to purchase BioBos L, a lepto vaccine brought into Ireland by co-operative animal health and Glanbia.
Glanbia vet Shane McElroy has verified that the Biobos L product meets the required quality, efficacy and safety standards to protect animals from the bacterial disease
For farms who haven’t vaccinated yet this year, they can now use this vaccine as part of their herd control plan. Heifers require two doses to begin with while cows and animals previously vaccinated will only require one shot.
Should I wait for my own product to come back into stock?
Each farmer can find out when the two existing products will be back in stock. Every month that passes increases the risk and realistically if the gap between doses is greater than 16-18 months then you need to consider starting primary dose of two shots again.
So if you can't get other alternatives in the next six weeks, a discussion must be had around the alternative product on the market.
Should I vaccinate while breeding?
The advice from Glanbia is to vaccinate now during breeding, their question is: why wait and increase the risk? I think this risk is farm specific and, where possible, farms can vaccinate or some could wait until main bulk of breeding is done for another month.
As time goes on the risk does increase, but the risk is lower in closed herds that have the previous vaccine administered. Heifers are of course priority right now and can be vaccinated straight away.
Each farm needs to talk about the timing of vaccines with their own vet who can decide the risk and best options for your herd.
Long-term farms need to decide what brand they move forward with, it seems with lepto vaccines you can move between brands in situations where supply issues arise.
However, this is a complication most farmers would be happy to do without.