Ask the Vet

Vaccines and Banding

Tetanus vaccine should ideally be given and boosted a few weeks ahead of banding. (DTN/Progressive Farmer photo by Dan Miller)


I use a seven-way vaccine without tetanus (Alpha-7 / MB-1) in the herd; and when banding for castration, I add the Tetanus Toxoid Livestock Vaccine. I'd like to understand the difference between the Tetanus Toxoid Livestock Vaccine and the Tetanus Antitoxin Livestock Vaccine. When castrating bulls, could I use the Alpha-7 / MB-1 in conjunction with Bar Vac CD-T to immunize against Enterotoxaemia and tetanus caused by the toxins of Clostridium perfringens types C and D, and Clostridium tetani? The Bar Vac CD-T is easier to administer and costs less than the Tetanus Toxoid.


This is an issue commonly misunderstood that has led to unnecessary deaths and wasted money. Let's get some terminology out of the way first. A toxoid is an inactivated form of a toxin used to produce an active immunity to the toxin. An antitoxin contains the actual antibodies collected from hyper-immunized animals and then refined to provide quick and passive immunity to the toxin.

There are three components here. The "MB" portion of the Alpha-7 / MB-1 refers to Moraxella bovis, the bacteria most commonly responsible for pink eye. I defer to your veterinarian on whether you should vaccinate for this, and, if so, when and what product is best to use. In our area, we have seen limited benefit from commercial pinkeye vaccines. We try to look at other factors, including management, that can contribute to incidences of this devastating disease.

The rest of this Alpha-7 / MB-1 vaccine focuses on seven different Clostridial diseases for which I'll use the common names: Blackleg, Malignant Edema, Black Disease, Gas Gangrene and Enterotoxaemia (types C and D). Yes, I know that is 6, not 7, but every manufacturer also counts cross-protection from Enterotoxaemia type B to get to the highest number possible. How many of these diseases are a problem in your area I do not know. The biggie is Blackleg, and most experts recommend using a seven- or eight-way vaccine to give the most complete coverage.

Tetanus is also a Clostridial disease caused by Clostridium tetani. Historically, this was uncommon until the advent of banding older calves. Most cattle Clostridials do not include protection for this disease.

With my clients, I recommend Cavalry 9 for calves to be banded. On the rest of the calves, I use a high-quality 2 ml "BQA friendly" seven-way. Cavalry 9 is a 2 ml subcutaneous (SQ) injection that is very smooth with minimal swelling and reactions. It can be used on all calves.

Sitting down with your veterinarian and making the best decision for your operation is key here. But one option you could discuss would be to continue to use Alpha-7 / MB-1, since it is labeled for single dosing in calves over 3 months. Then use a Bar Vac CD-T for tetanus protection. Another option would be to use Cavalry 9 and a pinkeye product. The tetanus vaccine should be given and boosted a few weeks in advance of banding.