Merial SUREHEALTH Certifies, Warrants Feeder Calf Health

Two years after its introduction, the Merial SUREHEALTH cattle preconditioning program remains the only nationwide bovine health assurance program that carries the credibility of veterinarian certification, and backs it up with a written limited warranty.

"There are many other preconditioning programs out there, but none that hold our warranty," says Joe Dedrickson, D.V.M., Veterinary Professional Services, Merial. "Other programs are vaccine-only protocols, where SUREHEALTH addresses a broader-spectrum of health risks. SUREHEALTH also provides the only nation wide veterinary certification program, backed by Merial’s logistics to ensure that independent veterinarians sign and verify that these lots of cattle are prepared to go on feed with optimized health status."

The unique Merial SUREHEALTH warranty covers the crucial 21-day period following arrival of the certified cattle. During that time, Merial will assist the buyer and consulting veterinarian with the diagnosis and appropriate antibiotic therapy for any calves that develop bovine respiratory disease (BRD) associated with antigens in Merial respiratory vaccines.

As part of its protocols, SUREHEALTH requires the use of an endectocide, an aspect missing in many other preconditioning programs. "Freedom from internal and external parasites allows an animal’s immune system to focus on reacting to disease." Dedrickson explains. "SUREHEALTH is a solid set of management practices and it makes sense that treatment with IVOMEC™ (ivermectin) or EPRINEX™ (eprinomectin) endectocides would be a part of improving the quality of beef throughout the entire production chain."

The SUREHEALTH preconditioning program also targets respiratory infections, reproductive diseases and clostridial diseases. "Merial vaccines complete the one-two punch to ensure calf health, while adding value at sale time," Huebner says.

Since the program’s creation, Merial SUREHEALTH Preconditioning Certification calves have been required to meet the following protocols:

- Treatment for internal and eternal parasites with IVOMEC or EPRINEX brand products
- Vaccinated (2 doses) with RESPISHIELDTM 4 at preweaning and RELIANT™ 4 or RELIANT PLUS at weaning
- Vaccinated for P. Haemolytica/multocida – bacterin-leukotoxoid, 7-way clostridial (2 doses) and H. somnus (2 doses) optional
- Weaned for at least 45 days before sale
- Adjusted to feedbunk
- Adjusted to water tank
- Castrated and dehorned
- Veterinarian certified

For more information of the Merial SUREHEALTH program and upcoming SUREHEALTH calf sales, visit