May 27, 2021

As summer approaches we are finally seeing a light at the end of the long pandemic tunnel. More than half of Canadians have had their first vaccination; the world-wide roll out continues; and the milestone of ‘herd immunity’ is on the horizon.

This term makes me ponder… how do our true herds cope with immunity and the threat of disease?

Dairy animals generally all live in herds. Health management practices therefore address the “all”, as it is not one animal, but many, that could potentially be exposed and infected with a particular pathogen.

Diseases primarily occur in a farm setting relative to three key elements. Their relationship is sometimes called the “infection triangle”. Each corner represents a factor: (1) environment (including farm management practices, incoming animals, etc.), (2) host (cow, goat or sheep’s immune system, affected by stress, malnutrition, etc.), and (3) pathogen (relative to species and based on region, etc.). All three need to be considered in maintaining the health of the herd.

Drawing up a vaccine program takes all the above into account. Some common diseases will likely be included in a baseline preventative plan, while those unlikely to be encountered may be on an as-needed basis.

Funny… but there is an echo in all these findings to we humans. Even the veterinary post-vaccine advice states…”side effects may include soreness at the injection site, fever, reduced appetite”. I bet the animals would say they felt lousy  too. And not sure if you know… Pfizer has been the world’s largest producer of veterinary medicine inclusive of vaccines! (Zoertis, a prior subsidiary of Pfizer, spun off  to independent in 2012,  and now holds the entire vet portfolio).

We cheer and applaud the end to this trying time and are happy to see our customers uplifted by their first covid shot. So far we hear about a 50 / 30 / 20 split in the big name providers. But for all intense purposes for this blog, and the herds we represent… we say yay for “Team Pfizer” !!