Monitoring to ensure layer vaccine program success

It’s important to have a proactive plan for monitoring the effectiveness of a layer vaccine program for best results.

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C.Lotongkum I Shutterstock.com
C.Lotongkum I Shutterstock.com

It’s important to have a proactive plan for monitoring the effectiveness of a layer vaccine program for best results, Mark Mouw, DVM, Wilson Veterinary Co., said.

“A vaccine program needs to be built with all the components in mind to achieve success,” he explained, noting that even small improvements in egg production, health or welfare add up quickly given the number of birds in each house. “Anything times a million is a large number.”

Mouw spoke during the session, “Vaccination programs for optimized protection, performance and egg quality,” held as part of the Midwest Poultry Federation (MPF) Virtual Convention.

An art and a science

Monitoring is 50% scientific and 50% psychological.

“The scientific part gives us a chance to dig deeper and re-evaluate parts of our vaccine program. It allows us to identify new issues, strains and changes over time and gives us the ability to assess our vaccine applicators and crews,” Mouw said.

“The psychological part is that we can use it as a rule out in relation to other possible production issues, such as nutrition, management, lighting, etc. Sometimes disease is used as a scapegoat.”

Monitoring can be used to verify that reported vaccinations match the number of actual vaccinations, physically spot check the accuracy of vaccine placement by crews and make sure the vaccine procedures in use match the expected standard operating procedure (SOP).

“Vaccine crew checks can help use quickly determine issues with certain crews or staff members and help us fix them for future flocks,” said Mouw. “This can also be done for killed vaccine post injection as well.”

Diagnostic approaches to monitoring

There are several diagnostic approaches that can be used to monitor layer vaccine program effectiveness. 

Conventional approaches include monitoring for expected clinical signs of disease, production and quality impacts, pathology, culture and molecular diagnostics and conventional serology use. Alternative approaches would be routine mortality and wellness bird postings, nighttime respiratory checks, use of sentinel bird trials, bronchitis genotyping panels and intensive serology monitoring.

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