Vaccination: When prevention is better cure.

Livestock Management Brief by James Maisiri

It is paramount that as a livestock farmer one should always approach disease control with preventative measures rather than waiting for the onset of a disease, then treat. The use of vaccination as a preventative measure is a small investment with guaranteed returns, with all other factors being constant.

It works like an insurance policy against possible outbreaks of disease. For instance, poultry farmers are familiar with Newcastle Disease, an acute infection capable of wiping out a whole flock in the case of an outbreak! If one vaccinates his/her birds against the disease, this won’t occur. If it does occur, the losses will be minimum.

Another issue is some diseases, especially those of a viral nature are untreatable and they are normally acute (thus not giving you an opportunity to act!). The cost of vaccination is always low compared to the cost of losing an animal as a result of disease. The cost of treatment is always high compared to the cost of vaccination in the long term. Remember most animal production projects are long term investments.

Vaccines must however be used correctly to give optimal assurance of protection. We will look at that in the next article. Happy farming! Give us some feedback if our information is helping you.

About the author: James Maisiri BSc (Hon) Agric is a lecturer at Mazowe Veterinary College, Zimbabwe.

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