University of Arkansas, Fayetteville Division of Agriculture


Calfhood vaccination for bovine viral diarrhea virus (BVDV) is a relatively new concept, and protocols are evolving. Our objective was to determine effects of BVDV type I vaccination protocol, calf behavior (chute score, and chute exit velocity), and gender on calf gain and immunoglobulin (Ig) response. Crossbred calves (n = 64) were randomly allotted to one of two vaccination protocols. In protocol 1, calves were vaccinated at 60 d of age (d 0) and at weaning (d 147). Calves assigned to protocol 2 were vaccinated against BVDV type I at 21 d prior to (d 126) and at weaning (d 147). Blood samples were collected from half of the calves in each protocol group on d 0 (60 days of age), d 21, d 126 (21 days prior to weaning), and d 147 (at weaning); serum was harvested and Ig titers were determined. Titers for BVDV type I were transformed (log base 2) and analyzed using a mixed model procedure. Calves vaccinated at d 0 and weaning had larger (P < 0.0001) titers than calves vaccinated at d 126 and weaning (7.5 ± 0.36 and 5.1 ± 0.36, respectively). Mean BVDV titers were larger (P < 0.0001) on d 147 when compared with d 126, d 21, and d 0 (8.3 ± 0.39, 5.1 ± 0.40, 5.9 ± 0.39 and 5.7 ± 0.39, respectively). A treatment × day interaction (P < 0.0001) also affected BVDV titers. However, BVDV titers were not affected (P > 0.05) by calf gender, chute score, or chute exit velocity. Weaning weight and pre-weaning average daily gain (ADG) were not related to BVDV type I titers. This study indicated that vaccinating beef calves against BVDV was effective in triggering an Ig response. Furthermore, our results suggest that calves should be vaccinated against BVDV type I at 60 d of age for greater disease resistance.