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Factors influencing veterinary surgeons’ decision-making about dairy cattle vaccination
  1. I. F. Richens, BVetMed PhD MRCVS1,
  2. P. Hobson-West, MA (Hons) PhD PGCHE1,
  4. Z. Hood, BVMedSci1,
  5. J. Kaler, BVSc & AH MSc (Vet Epi) PhD1,
  6. M. Green, BVSc PhD DCHP DipECBHM MRCVS1,
  7. N. Wright, MSc PhD2 and
  8. W. Wapenaar, DVM Dip ABVP-Dairy PhD MRCVS1
  1. 1School of Veterinary Medicine and Science, The University of Nottingham, Sutton Bonington Campus, Sutton Bonington, College Road, Leicestershire, LE12 5RD, UK
  2. 2Independent Scholar, Nottingham, UK
  1. E-mail for correspondence: imogen.richens{at}


The use of vaccines in the cattle industry is widespread; however, there is limited published guidance for use by decision-makers such as farmers and vets. To best support vets in advising dairy farmers on the optimisation of vaccination strategies, it is important to understand how and why vets make decisions about recommending the vaccination of cattle. The objective of this study was to explore in-depth farm animal vets’ motivators and barriers to the implementation of vaccination strategies on British dairy farms. Semistructured interviews were conducted with 15 vets. Results indicated that vets have a positive attitude towards the use of vaccination and have few barriers to advising its implementation. Vets appear to group farmers into three ‘character types’. This characterisation influences the vet–farmer relationship and how the vet communicates with the farmer. Vets required evidence of disease or a risk of disease as a motivator to advise vaccination. However, this seemed to be sometimes overruled by a risk-averse attitude; resulting in vaccination being advised ‘just in case’. Crucially, the need for resources to support and build on the vet–farmer relationship is highlighted as an area requiring further exploration in order to optimise vaccination strategies on farm.

  • Dairy cattle
  • Vaccines
  • Veterinary profession
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  • Provenance: Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

  • Funding This work was funded by AHDB Dairy (, a levy-funded, not-for-profit organisation working on behalf of British dairy farmers and a division of the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board, the Centre of Evidence-based Veterinary Medicine and the University of Nottingham. The research is part of IFR doctoral research.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient consent Obtained.

  • Ethics approval The School of Veterinary Medicine and Science Ethics Committee, the University of Nottingham.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

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