A first of its it kind, USDA-approved, scours preventative is now available for newborn calves. It is effective for all three primary scours-causing pathogens in newborn calves – rotavirus, coronavirus and K99 plus E. coli.
“This is a game changer,” said Bobbi Jo Brockmann, vice president of sales and marketing with ImmuCell. “This new product, First Defense Tri-Shield, breaks the mold when it comes to scours protection, providing an alternative to the traditional calf- or dam-level vaccinations.”
This new product is administered orally in a single-dose gel tube and eliminates the need for calf- or dam-level scours vaccinations. The does is administered shortly after calving, with the goal of giving the single dose gel within 12 hours of birth.
Scours is the primary cause of death in newborn calves, she noted. Calves that survive scours are highly susceptible to respiratory and other secondary diseases along with stunted growth and production losses. Scours is a serious economic drain for both the dairy and beef industry.
“No scours vaccine means the calf can save its energy for what’s important – growth – instead of diverting energy away to count a vaccine immune response. Eliminating dam vaccination(s) means less stress on the cow, increases the response rate to critical vaccines and clears room in the vaccination schedule,” Brockmann said. “First Defense Tri-Shield offers the industry an opportunity to go beyond vaccination, providing a better way to protect calves from scours.”
The direct, two-part mode-of-action of First Defense delivers specific immunoglobulins at the gut level to immediately protect against disease, while also providing additional antibodies that are absorbed into the bloodstream. These circulating antibodies function like a natural timed-release mechanism, as they are re- secreted into the gut later to provide extended protection. A single dose of First Defense provides a guaranteed level of protection proven to reduce mortality and morbidity from two major causes of calf scours.
One dose of this product provides immediate immunity. There’s no need to stimulate an immune response or follow-up with annual boosters. All calves are protected equally with guaranteed antibody levels in every dose. And, the investment is made only in live-born, valued calves, as opposed to dam vaccines where the money needs to be spend before the calf is even born.
Cost of treating a calf will be about $11 per head, she said. This compares to a cost of about $7 per head with a dam-vaccine. However, the producer ends up being money ahead using a preventive product due to three factors.
First, at best, there is only an 80 percent success rate with the dam-vaccination for scours under ideal conditions. Usually that figure is down closer to 60 percent, Brockmann noted. The second benefit of the preventive product is the cost of those calves that die at or shortly after birth don’t have the cost of the First Defense dose, whereas with a vaccination program that cost would be chalked up to a non-living calf. Finally, in the case of dairy operations, a producer can decide to give the dosage to just the heifer calves born and not the bull calves.
First Defense Tri-Shield is available through your local veterinarian or animal health supplier, Brockmann said. No prescription is required since it is an over-the-counter product.