Vaccine Promises Improved Cattle Management

NEW ZEALAND - An innovative vaccine that promises improved cattle behaviour management has been launched in New Zealand.
calendar icon 4 March 2010
clock icon 2 minute read
Pfizer Animal Health

Bopriva®, from Pfizer Animal Health, provides cattle producers with a highly effective management tool for the control of sexual and/or aggressive behaviour in cattle.

While it will be used for temporary behaviour control within the New Zealand bull beef market during winter grazing periods, Pfizer is currently conducting trials in preparation for delivering the new technology into other markets around the world.

“The vaccine could have uses in both castrating and non-castrating markets, across both bull and heifer beef production systems,” says Dr Sue Amatayakul-Chantler, Global R & D team leader at Pfizer Animal Health.

“It provides a highly efficacious alternative to physical castration, and in non-castrating markets would deliver increased bull/heifer behaviour control meaning improved herd performance – and decreased labour costs.”

Bopriva decreases sexual and aggressive behaviour – such as fighting, riding, pawing and head butting – without the set back from surgery or the use of hormones.

The two-dose vaccine stimulates the cattle’s own immune system to produce antibodies to GnRF (Gonadotropin Releasing Factor) – the trigger responsible for a chain of reactions that results in the production of testosterone (in bulls) and progesterone and oestrogen (in heifers).

By stopping GnRF and its chain reaction, testosterone, progesterone and oestrogen production is also halted, resulting in decreased sexual and aggressive behaviour.

“By using the animal’s own immune system, Bopriva allows producers to improve production without the use of physical castration or use of hormones,” Dr Amatayakul - Chantler says.

Bopriva product manager, Wayne Clough says Pfizer NZ is proud that New Zealand Beef farmers will be the first in the world to experience the benefits of this innovative vaccine, which will fill a strong need within the New Zealand bull beef systems.

The product underwent successful trials in New Zealand across 50 farms involving over 7000 bulls, in 2009.

“The trials showed the vaccinated bulls behaved exactly as we had expected: calmer, more easily managed, while at the same time maintaining good growth rates.”

“Bopriva provides around three to four months of modified behaviour in treated bulls, with two shots administered by a specially developed vaccination gun.”

Dr Amatayakul - Chantler says the New Zealand launch is only the beginning for the cutting edge vaccine.

“Bopriva has the potential to provide solutions in varying production systems,” Dr Amatayakul - Chantler says.

“While New Zealand is the first launch market – where the vaccine is targeted at bull beef systems – trials in other markets with different cattle production systems are also showing promise.”

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