Best practices for cattle vaccination from Boehringer Ingelheim

While it may not be top of mind, proper cattle vaccination can be key in gaining consumer confidence in beef products, according to experts in a recent Boehringer Ingelheim article in Drovers.

“The end goal of cattle production is for consumers to have a pleasant eating experience when they choose beef as their protein,” said John Currin, extension veterinarian and beef quality assurance coordinator at Virginia Tech. “Improper administration of animal health products not only devalues the animal, but it can cause consumers to have an undesirable eating experience down the line.”

Currin and Boehringer Ingelheim veterinarian Jody Wade provided best practices on vaccine administration:


  1. Store, mix and handle vaccines according to label directions. “Improper storage and handling of vaccines will result in less efficacious products,” Currin said.
  2. Choose an appropriately sized needle. “The needle needs to be long enough to push the vaccine through the skin without a struggle, but short enough so we don’t reach muscle tissue underneath the skin when giving a subcutaneous injection,” Wade said.
  3. Administer products subcutaneously. According to Currin, this is the best practice to prevent damage to the retail product for consumers.
  4. Choose a Beef Quality Assurance-certified vaccine to minimize the risk of long-term tissue damage.
  5. Evaluate animals prior to vaccine administration. If it recently rained and hides are wet, the needle could carry bacteria from the surface of the skin into the injection site.
  6. Be aware of and adhere to product withdrawal times. This is important to ensure the end product is safe to eat.

More details from Currin and Wade are available in the article in Drovers.