Why Respiratory Protection Is for Your Prefresh Cows, Too

Matt Boyle, DVM, Dairy Technical Services, Zoetis

If you hear “respiratory protection,” your mind may go straight to your calves, but do you also think about your prefresh pen?

Just like the first few days of life or at the time of weaning, prefreshening is a stressful time for cows.
That stress leads to a depressed immune system and increased susceptibility to harmful respiratory
pathogens that can put prefresh health and overall lactation performance at risk. In cattle this can open
the door to three major causes of respiratory disease: bovine respiratory syncytial virus (BRSV),
infectious bovine rhinotracheitis (IBR) virus and parainfluenza 3 (PI3) virus.

Not only do these diseases have immediate effects on your cows, but they also can have lifelong effects
on health and productivity. If you’re still wondering why you should prioritize helping adult cattle defend
against respiratory disease, consider these two major reasons that impact animal well-being and your
bottom line.

It’s vital to maintaining health and wellness — for the cow and her calf. BRSV continues to circulate in adult cattle, many times undetected, resulting in the transfer of BRSV‑specific maternal antibodies in unvaccinated herds.1 While those antibodies offer some defense against BRSV during a calf’s first weeks of life, that protection is only temporary. Alternatively, vaccinating a prefresh cow against respiratory disease gives her an antibody defense, enabling her to pass maternal BRSV antibodies along to her calf  without previously contracting the disease herself and protecting the health of both mother and baby.

It encourages positive production. One study found a significant reduction in milk yield for herds with
BRSV-related outbreaks compared with infection‑free herds.2  Diving into more specifics, BRSV
outbreaks have been found to increase somatic cell count (SCC) by more than 10,000 cells/mL per cow.2
Applying this to your herd’s production, for every 100,000 cells/mL increase in bulk tank SCC, milk yield
has been shown to decrease by 5.5 pounds per cow.*,3 

So, when you’re focused on keeping your cows healthy, that provides for increased milk production.
Higher milk production can correlate with more profit about $192 per cow per year, a study by Zoetis
and Compeer Financial found.*,3

Ready to protect your herd and your peace of mind? Discover how you can provide your prefresh cows
with respiratory protection, here.

About Zoetis

Zoetis is the leading animal health company, dedicated to supporting its customers and their businesses.
Building on more than 65 years of experience in animal health, Zoetis discovers, develops, manufactures
and commercializes medicines, vaccines and diagnostic products, which are complemented by
biodevices, genetic tests and precision livestock farming. Zoetis serves veterinarians, livestock producers
and people who raise and care for farm and companion animals with sales of its products in more than
100 countries. In 2019, the company generated annual revenue of $6.3 billion with approximately
10,600 employees. For more information, visit www.zoetisus.com.

* Results based on average herd size of 1,087 from Zoetis/Compeer Financial study.

1 Cortese VS, Seeger JT, Trejo C, Short TH, Ellis JA. The Impact of Neonatal Intranasal Vaccination for Bovine Respiratory
Syncytial Virus on Subsequent Vaccination and Responses to Natural Exposure. JSM Allergy Asthma. 2018;3(1):1021.

2 Beaudeau F, Ohlson A, Emanuelson U. Associations between bovine coronavirus and bovine respiratory syncytial virus
infections and animal performance in Swedish dairy herds. J Dairy Sci. 2010;93(4):1523‑1533.

3 Lormore M. What Drives Financial Success on a Dairy? Parsippany, NJ: Zoetis; 2018.

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© 2020 Zoetis Services LLC. All rights reserved. INF-00145

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