Volume 1, 2013


Vaccination and Successful Immunization of Poultry Over time, increased Goals of Vaccination attention The goal of vaccination of poultry centers not solely on preventing production-robbing clinical disease but also subclinical illnesses that, as in the case of Infecto the tious Bursal Disease and chicken Infectious Anemia, can harm the immune system and render the bird invaccination capable of mounting an adequate response to disease challenges or subsequent vaccination efforts. Vaccinahandling tion for other diseases such as Infectious Bronchitis protects egg-laying flocks from production drops and diminished shell quality. Vaccination for the purpose of breeder of hyperimmunizing flocks provides for the aforemenIntroduction tioned transfer of passive immunity to protect progeny pullets and early in life before they attain the ability to mount an For nearly one and a half centuries, mankind has utiactive immune response. Efforts to control food safety lized the principles derived from the seminal works in commercial early immunology of Edward Jenner and Louis Pasteur pathogens such as Salmonella have increasingly included vaccination of breeder flocks to reduce carriage to protect the lives, well-being and productivity of and transmission of relevant organisms to progeny. humans and animals alike. Pasteur’s discoveries durlayers has Prevention of disease through vaccination is generally ing his research with fowl cholera led to advances in less expensive than treating an afflicted flock. the attenuation, or weakening, of disease-causing improved organisms so that they might be used to safely protect Optimal vaccination stimulates a controlled, predictor immunize humans and animals from a variety of able, safe and effective immune response at an age of the overall illnesses. least risk to a bird’s well-being or productivity. Timing broilers the process and These findings furthered man’s understanding ofabil- of vaccination is critical in, for example, young impede as passively-derived maternal antibody may immune system and laid the foundation for our ability to “break through” and adequately an active flocks immunization ity to stimulateattenuated, immunity in poultry proto- a vaccine’sactive immune response. Vaccinating in adinduce an through use of live bacterial, viral or vance of an expected disease challenge allows for imzoal pathogens. Inactivated forms of many of these ormunity to develop prior to an infection. Realizing that of poultry ganisms are administered to illicit a long-lasting level vaccination may incur a temporary cost in terms of loss of protection through the immune system’s production of production due to vaccine reactions while mounting of large amounts of antibody. This “hyperimmunized’ flocks. a response, it is important to weigh these costs against state allows for a transfer of passive immunity in the
Andy McRee, DVM, ACPV, Technical Services Manager

form of antibody from dam to offspring by way of colostrum in mammals and egg yolk in birds.

future benefits. In other words, is the suspected risk of disease considerable enough to warrant vaccination?


Vaccination and Successful Immunization of Poultry, p.1

Notes from the VP, p.4

Whatever vaccines are used should reasonably match the diseases of local challenge. Attenuated, or modified live vaccines, such as that for Newcastle Disease Virus (NDV), Infectious Bronchitis (IB), Infectious Bursal Disease (IBD), or Reovirus are generally massapplied to flocks using spray techniques or through the drinking water. Young breeders are typically “primed” with these live vaccines several times prior to being handled individually and injected with inactivated or killed versions of these disease organisms, stimulating a long-lived immunity. Mass-applied vaccines are generally easier and less expensive to administer than those that are individually administered. Close attention to variables that may inhibit uniform distribution of mass-applied products is essential to ensure even coverage of flocks and the accompanying uniformity of immune response. Spray and drinking water techniques require clean water of a volume suitable to fully cover the flock. While vaccination handling of individual birds within a flock is more labor-intensive and costly, this method affords a greater likelihood of uniformly vaccinating each bird. Individual bird vaccination methods include injection, wing web stick and eye drop. Over the last decade, poultry producers and vaccine suppliers have increasingly emphasized the proper administration of vaccines and handling of individual birds during the vaccination process. After all, each has a vested interest in the efficacy of these vaccines. Vaccines and their administration are not of negligible expense and the health and performance of the targeted flocks are critical to realizing a profit. Likewise, the vaccine supplier’s reputation for delivering efficacious products depends on whether or not a flock is appropriately vaccinated. Ultimately, a vaccine is only as good as it is administered. Ensuring Proper Vaccine Administration Ensuring proper administration of vaccines is best achieved by observing and critiquing the process as performed by those charged with the task. Frequent and unannounced vaccination auditing is an effective means by which to evaluate the process, realize

consistent results and minimize surprises often yielded by inattention. Vaccination auditing consists first of observing the overall process. A smooth running flock vaccination handling should exhibit a semblance of organization whereby each crew member has an assigned duty to drive and pen birds, catch and present, or administer vaccine. A crew member or supervisor dedicated to preparing vaccine and equipment for the vaccinators is desirable. This person may also periodically examine birds for accuracy of vaccine placement. Driving and penning of birds is to be performed in a manner that incites minimal excitement of the flock. Piling and layers of birds running over one another is to be prohibited. Industry practices vary regarding how best to catch and present individual birds for vaccination. Some crews catch and handle one bird per hand by the wings while others handle multiple birds per hand by one or both legs. Foremost is the welfare of each bird. Catching by both wings or both legs and minimal birds (one is best) carried per hand is most desirable to prevent unnecessary injury to limbs and to maximize access to vaccination targets. Of equal importance is the method by which birds are released onto the house floor following vaccination. The standard of care in this regard is provision for a landing that prevents undue leg joint stress and possible injury. This can be achieved using a smooth sloping slide. Care should be taken to minimize contamination during the handling, reconstitution and preparation of vaccines prior to administration. Injection guns should be serviced, cleaned and sanitized between each flock vaccination. Needles and wing web stick applicators should be replaced after every 500-1000 doses of vaccine to maintain sharpness and reduce injection tissue trauma. Wing web-applied vaccine reservoirs are best replaced after every vial of vaccine (generally 1000 doses) to avoid build-up of environmental contaminants in the reservoirs during vaccination. Regular evaluation of vaccination accuracy and reactions, especially that of wing webapplied and injectable vaccines is necessary to monitor whether these products have been

properly applied to optimize an efficacious and immunizing response. Among the best ways to evaluate accuracy of application and subsequent tissue response is through use of basic senses of sight and touch. Wing webapplied vaccines such as live fowl pox and fowl cholera products illicit an inflammatory reaction, or “take”, consisting of a variably prominent swelling at the site that can be seen and touched 7-10 days post-vaccination. Serologic techniques such as the enzymelinked immunosorbent assay (ELISA), hemagglutination inhibition (HI) and agar gel precipitant (AGP) tests are available to measure the flock’s antibody immune response to vaccination. ELISA testing systems are especially common as they are convenient and relatively quick tests with results easily entered into databases for flock serologic profiling over time. Flock antibody levels can be represented in terms of geometric mean titer (GMT) and % Coefficient of Variation (%CV), a measure of uniformity where a lower value is desired and indicative of a more even antibody response among flock vaccinates. Vaccination Only a Part of Disease Control While immunization of flocks is an effective tool to protect poultry flocks, optimal disease control requires an integrated approach employing best management practices in husbandry and biosecurity. Basic husbandry supports the bird’s innate immunity, which serves as a natural barrier to infection. Good ventilation helps to sustain intact mucosal membranes of the respiratory tract, maintaining a robust natural barrier to diseasecausing organisms. Proper bird densities and an environment free of conditions for hysteria prevent scratches and breaches of the skin barrier. Attention to basic hygiene and cleanliness is essential to maintain an environment inhospitable to pathogens. Control of pest vectors such as rodents, insects and other potential disease reservoirs helps to minimize entrance of pathogens onto farm premises and into poultry housing. Control of traffic by people, along with their tools and clothing, while often overlooked, is a major consideration in establishing a high level of biosecurity. As the old adage says, “you can’t vaccinate your way out of poor management”.

Summary Effective immunization requires proper vaccine administration. Vaccinating thousands of birds individually is largely a tedious task that commands a well-trained and focused crew. Successful crews are comprised of hard-working individuals adept at efficiently administering properly prepared vaccines in a manner respectful of flock well-being. Continual oversight, monitoring and training of crews are essential components to ensuring poultry flocks are consistently and effectively vaccinated and immunized against disease. As an integral part of a complete disease control program, vaccination also warrants a level of respect befitting of the costs which it incurs and the important role it plays in promoting flock health and welfare. Over time, increased attention to the vaccination handling of breeder pullets and commercial layers has improved the overall process and immunization of poultry flocks. Increased focus on more sanitary administration of vaccines has reduced the incidence of secondary bacterial infections following vaccination. Improvements in catching and presenting birds for vaccination, largely through reduction of birds carried per hand, has enhanced accuracy of administration while minimizing leg problems following these procedures. Implementation of slides for bird release has also helped in this regard. Future advances in vaccine product development should prove to minimize untoward reactions without compromising the necessary immunity afforded by vaccination.

Notes from the VP
Here at Lohmann Animal Health International we understand your need for getting things done right the first time. This statement could not be more true than when it comes to proper vaccination application technique. The careful, highly regulated process of producing these products and the millions invested in R&D would all be for naught if we did not take the Shannon Kellner necessary steps for ensuring Vice President, these products made it into the Lohmann Animal Health intended targets appropriately International, Inc. and accurately. That is why when you buy from us, we make a concerted effort to ensure these principles are followed. We recognize that you cannot be everywhere all the time and we wish to partner with you in this effort. Our area managers and technical staff are highly trained and understand the paramount importance of proper vaccination application. They take great pride in being able to offer this service and are ever vigilant in their task. Today, there are many types of hatchery and field vaccination equipment that are highly advanced, but without the proper settings, maintenance and operation, they can sometimes do more harm than good. We feel that through proper training and a good auditing program, all these issues become manageable and in the end will improve your bottom line. As a company, we strive to take these practical approaches, and believe that in doing so we will forge lasting partnerships with our customers. The word partner is not just a cliché tagline for us but rather a company philosophy we choose to believe and follow. Our willingness to listen and our ability to act quickly and effectively provides yet another resource that our customers can access. For a more in depth look at what products and services we are able to offer, please visit us at booth 505 during the 2013 IPPE in Atlanta, GA. We will be ready and waiting to help.

You are invited To visit us at the 2013 International Poultry Expo. When: Tuesday, January 29th through Thursday, January 31st Where: Booth 505
Lohmann Animal Health International 375 China Road Winslow, Maine 04901, USA Phone: (+1) 207-873 3989


for more information:

(+1) 207-873 3989

(+1) 800-655 1342


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