Return to       About vaccination against foot and mouth

From Dr Ruth Watkins re vaccinating young animals May 2008

Dear Mary

My sister's vet and discussions which they have had with Intervet have resulted in them not vaccinating the calves under one month of age in my sister's Longhorn herd. Legally the Intervet company is adamant about this because they have not tested the vaccine on animals less than one month of age. Intervet is obviously telling vets that they cannot vaccinate animals below one month of age. I find this surprising and out of proportion to their recommendation to get on and see how ruminant species such as goats, camelids etc, on whom the vaccine has not been tested at all, be vaccinated in batches under the supervision of the vet.

I believe the concern may be about the two adjuvants used, the saponin in particular and the potential for sterile abscesses and possible reactions to saponin. I believe the concern in vaccination is about the prevention of abscesses - the gun used would not prevent the transfer of microlitres of blood within the lumen of the needle but the sterile pad cleans the outside of the needle of skin bacteria etc between shots. My brother in law spoke to the manufacturers in NZ because he was concerned about the waste of the last ml of vaccine.

There is no doubt that animals under one month of age can respond well to a killed vaccine (an injection of protein, antigen). That is not contested.

The result for my sister's herd is that they must gather them 6 times this Summer at 3 week intervals to vaccinate the calves as they come of age. They have Spring and Summer calves. (The last batch of calves may just get some colostral antibody). They had to organise several helpers to round up the cattle and get them back to the yard etc. In fact not all farmers have ordered the BTV vaccine, especially those with large herds and conservation grazing and without access to mobile crushes. You can see if they do get round to vaccinating the adults they may not get round to vaccinating the calves at a later date, or wait to vaccinate the whole herd at a later date.

Most kids and lambs are born in Spring so they will be of age now to vaccinate. Cattle not only calve in the Spring, but also during the Summer and autumn. In fact even in my sister's herd 20% of animals will remain non-immune this Summer because of the delay in vaccination of calves.

In addition to the non-vaccinated calves and herds and flocks are the wild ruminants, (the deer, of which there are countless in much of rural England) They graze in my sister's garden and in the fields. You can see that vaccination levels of 80% are most unlikely to be reached this year.

Butox swish has been put on all the Longhorn adults and calves in my sister's herd. Butox swish (deltamethrin) is also sold by Intervet and endorsed by Intervet as a tested midge killer. The experience in Europe last Summer was that deltamethrin or ivermectins did not in fact prevent animals from becoming infected, whatever repellent or lethal effect they may have on the midge.

I gave the reasons why vaccination of animals less than one month is not recommended, indeed it would seem it is forbidden.

Yours sincerely


Email received May 8 2008 from Dr Ruth Watkins

May 4th and

May 7th


























ARCHIVE 2001 -2007

Fields of Fire witness accounts of 2001

Foot and Mouth policy 2001 - opinions


Warmwell menu

FMD Front Page Current

General Archive Page (new window)

Archive August 2007 Surrey outbreak - stage 1

Archive July 2007

Archive June 2007

Archive May 2007

Archive April 2007

Archive March 2007

Archive February 2007

Archive January 2007

Archive December 2006

Archive November 2006

Archive October 2006

Archive September 2006

Archive August 2006

Archive July 2006

Archive June 2006

Archive May 2006

Archive April 2006

Archive March 2006

Archive February 2006

Archive January 2006

FMD Front Page September 2005 - Dec 2005

FMD Front Page Oct 2004 - August 2005

General Front Page (includes other and related items)

Front Page Autumn 2004

Front Page Summer - October 2004

Warmwell front pages Spring 2004

Warmwell front pages Oct 03 - Jan 04

Warmwell front pages Sept 2002

Warmwell front pages August 2002

Warmwell front pages June / July 2002

Warmwell front pages - May / June 2002

Warmwell front pages - April / May 2002

Warmwell front pages - March / April 2002

Warmwell front pages - the earliest pages in 2001 - March 2002