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Reducing the Effects of Stress in Livestock Farming for an Optimal Vaccination

The first purpose of vaccination in farms is to contain the spread of diseases. Yet, this objective remains difficult to achieve on stressed animals. Providing animals with appropriate nutritional products is a preventive way to sustain their health during this crucial stage. However, prior knowledge of the different forms and factors of stress specific to rearing contexts remains important.


The act of vaccinating is obviously useful: it consists of limiting the consequences of infection by reducing the risks of disease outbreaks on the farm; it ensures the well-being of animals, and therefore increases the profitability of the farm. However, this process usually takes place during tense periods during which animals are under high pressure. This negative context can strongly alter the effectiveness of vaccine. To avoid this situation, one must be able to detect and identify the various forms of stress which could hinder the vaccine effects.

 

Factors and stress memory in livestock

Current farming systems are exposed to high productive pressures. Sanitary problems can have a serious impact on livestock animals’ well-being and their production level. Thus, the functioning of animals' immune system is able to be modified because of stressful peaks resulting in an increased susceptibility to pathogens.

Stressful factors are everywhere in farms. There are multiple reasons to the emergence of stress on farms: farming conditions, allotment, nutritional deficiency, sanitary disorders (increase in blood cortisol), and behavioral (isolation, aggressiveness). These un predictable events can end up triggering a genuine conditioned reflex in animal; the memory of it can haunt them throughout the rest of their lives. For instance, it is advised to avoid yelling or whistling when forcing cattle to move, because a noisy and stressful action could be stamped in their memory. Animals can then become more sensitive them when a similar experience occurs again, especially during vaccination protocols.

 

A stressed animal is a weak animal

The immune system aims to protect animals’ organism against microorganism invasions such as bacteria, virus, mushrooms and parasites. The immune cells ensure this defensive function of the organism. For instance the leucocytes usually control inflammations and the level of pathogens. They are also able to keep a memory of the microorganisms they have already come across.

The experience of stressful events affects the animal's "immune response". The immune response starts when the inflammatory response is triggered and finishes with the development of acquired immunity. If the organism is infected at the same time, the establishment of a suited immune response can be disrupted by stress. Stress affects the non-specific response and the response specific to pathogen. The reaction triggered decreases the resistance to infections by inhibiting leucocytes' immigration towards the infection site.


The consequences of environmental stress on livestock animals' immune system have often been defined on blood leucocytes. Yet, most of the time, it is through cell walls that pathogens manage to penetrate within the organism. The effects of stress on the lung's immune cells and on the intestinal mucosa can lead to serious issues. Therefore, these first signs must be contained as soon as they are manifested by applying an efficient vaccination protocol.


A few tips for an appropriate vaccine protocol.

Livestock vaccinations are often performed during busy periods. The vaccine shot often results in weakening the animal due to the ensuing adaptation of its immune system. Therefore, a few precautions must be observed before vaccination takes place. The best way to compensate for the imbalance caused by the vaccine is to nourish the immune system's cells to allow them to resist the change.
 
It is therefore necessary to take the following steps:

  • Closely monitor the animal’s behavior before vaccination day;
  • Limit factors of environmental stress and assist animals in the event that they are prey to disproportionate reactions due to vaccination ;
  • Strengthen the animal’s vitality by supplying it with tailored nutritional products to consolidate its immune system.
     

A stressful event occurring around the vaccination time is likely to reduce the beneficial impact of this operation. The animal must be well prepared before this act is performed; it must find itself in the best possible conditions so it is able to confront this critical period. The TECHNA Group animal specialities are specifically designed to sustain the animals' defenses to make them more resistant to stressful factors in their environment. Should you want more information on this issue please consult our experts!

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