Montana State Veterinarian Calls For Brucellosis Vaccinations

US - Montana’s state veterinarian Dr Marty Zaluski in the US is pushing for brucellosis vaccinations for all sexually intact female calves.
calendar icon 1 March 2010
clock icon 2 minute read

A series of meetings have taken place across Montana to discuss the preliminary proposal on statewide Official Calfhood Vaccination (OCV) for brucellosis.

"There are advantages to becoming an OCV state, and it's a good time to have that discussion," said Dr Zaluski, who, as chair of the US Animal Health Association's subcommitttee on brucellosis in the Greater Yellowstone Area, has helped the department play a leadership role in the development of brucellosis policy. "It's a hot topic, though, and there will be concerns."

With 70 per cent of the state's cattle voluntarily vaccinated by livestock producers,  Dr Zaluski doesn't believe the proposal would require a significant increase in the number of animals needing to be vaccinated.

"The only animals that will require vaccination are sexually intact females retained for the state's breeding herd rather than those raised for beef," he said.

The proposal comes as USDA considers changes to its federal brucellosis programme.

Members of two of Montana’s largest livestock groups, the Montana Stockgrowers Association and Montana Farm Bureau Federation, have formalised policies officially opposing the vaccination of all sexually intact female calves because they think it’s unnecessary. The Farm Bureau supports vaccinating only breeding heifers and heifers imported to Montana for that reason.

Ranchers have also suggested waiting until the heifers are older and then vaccinating only those selected for breeding who could pass the disease onto their young. "This gives us more flexibility be extending the age, but you have longer periods without vaccination, too.”

If mandatory vaccinations took effect, there would have to be penalties for not complying, Dr Zaluski said. Given the size of the state’s cattle herd, it would be impossible to move forward with the vaccinations without the support of cattle ranchers and those raising bison, which would also be subject to the law.

Further Reading

- You can view the preliminary proposal for the OCV rule by clicking here.

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