Parasite Risk in #Sheep, #Cattle with Warm Weather


Dairy and beef cattle are at risk of husk, caused by infection with the cattle lungworm from June onwards. Unvaccinated calves, naïve adult cattle and those without an effective anthelmintic programme face the greatest threat.

Early signs of lungworm include coughing after periods of exertion and progress to more severe compromise, with coughing at rest, increased respiratory rate, and difficulty breathing. Prompt recognition and treatment is critical.

“Early intervention significantly reduces costs and the impact on productivity. A diagnosis should be sought from the farm’s vet at the first sign of symptoms, “ advises Sioned. “Treatment with a fast acting zero milk withhold wormer with up to 28 days of persistent activity, such as Eprinex® (eprinomectin) provides effective control without the loss of milk sales.”

Incidents of parasitic disease caused by gutworms, including Ostertagia ostertagi, peak in August and September, though even low levels of worm challenge can reduce growth rates by up to 30% in beef calves and dairy replacement heifers.

Strategic control with a broad-spectrum wormer such as IVOMEC® Classic (ivermectin) can reduce the impact of parasites in autumn/winter born calves in their first grazing season, and spring-born suckler claves in their second grazing season. Those animals receiving strategic treatments must remain set stocked for the entire grazing period or moved to aftermaths when they become available. read more…

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Cow Udder Care


If you like the idea of your dairy products coming from happy cows, you might have entertained the idea of bringing one or two bovines home, feeding them well and piping Mozart over speakers wired into the barn. While that would make for a couple of contented cows, their care extends beyond that. Specifically, cow udder care is a real concern, whether you have 2 or 200 dairy cows. Know the basics to avoid problems.

Before and After Milking

Your cow’s udder should be cleaned, teats and all, before you begin milking her and then again when milking is through. Running water is a simple, efficient way of accomplishing this. Iodine or other disinfectant can be added to increase the effectiveness of the wash. Dry the teats and udder with a paper towel. Disposable towels are preferred for this job, as reusing towels after milking or to dry the udders of other cows could spread contamination. If you’re using a milking machine to milk your cow, you can dip her teats in a disinfectant before attaching the machine and then again when the milking machine is removed. Take care to wipe the teats completely dry with paper towels before the milking machine is attached. If you are hand milking, just be sure to thoroughly wash and disinfect your hands before starting.

Caring for Scratches and Scrapes

Because they’re large, awkward and located where they are, your cows’ udders run the risk of minor injury all the time. Milking machines, insufficient bedding — even your cow’s feet can bruise or scrape her own udders. Treating your cow’s udder with disinfectant before and after milking will help heal scrapes and scratches that might be present on the teats or anywhere else on the udder. Dip each teat individually in disinfectant and treat even the smallest wound by blotting (not rubbing) with a cotton pad. Painful, open wounds can be treated with a pain-relieving ointment and covered with medical tape. In such instances, contact your veterinarian to treat your cow and determine whether the wound requires more than simple bandaging.

General Hygiene

Proper udder care and controlling the problems that plague cows and their udders extends to managing the surroundings and keeping your cows well groomed and clean. Keeping your cows’ hooves and dewclaws trimmed will cut down on self-inflicted injuries. The girls will get an udder bath before and after milking, but a thorough, full-body hose-down once a week or less, depending on how dirty they get, will help keep your cows and their loafing spaces clean which, in turn, will help keep udders clean and disease-free. Proper bedding for the space should be a material that is flexible, soft and should not promote bacterial growth. Examples of natural materials that are appropriate for your cows’ bedding include sand, shavings dried in a kiln or even dried manure. Soiled or wet bedding should be removed daily and replaced with fresh. read more…

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Product of bioethanol production can be used as a suitable #cattle #feed supplement


Feeding cattle can be a surprisingly complex task, the animals requiring specific diets for nutrition and weight gain. The new research found that as the seasons progress, cattle find it increasingly difficult to digest a type of Bermuda grass – Tifton 85. However, the scientists also found that by supplementing the grass with dried distillers grains – the remains of ground corn fermented during ethanol production – the seasonal digestion issues can be minimised.

“Due to the ramp-up in ethanol production over the past few decades, there has been an abundance of this by-product in the beef industry,” explains Monte Rouquette, a professor with Texas A&M AgriLife Research. “Originally viewed as a waste product of the industry, research began looking into other uses of the by-product.”

It is now common for dried grains to be used as a relatively cheap source of feed. In some circumstances it can replace primary feed ingredients like corn or soybeans.  Some supplements provide additional energy, some more protein, and others minerals. The distillers’ grain is used for both protein and energy.

The results of the new study which was led by W. Brandon Smith as part of his PhD research, allow scientists to determine the most effective and efficient way to use distiller’s grains as a supplement. “These data can then be used in an economic assessment to provide a baseline of potential responses from the use of a supplement,” says Rouquette. “This work is of interest to us me because it sheds light on changes that occur chemically within the plant across the year that affect its digestibility.”

Funded by Texas A&M AgriLife Research at Overton, Beef Competitiveness Research Initiative grant, the study has been published in the journal Crop Science. read more…

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Antibiotic abuse in livestock



Antibiotics are increasingly used in farming systems in Kenya as famers give them to animals and chicken to prevent them from getting sick.

The law requires that the drugs are only given to the farmer after prescription from a registered veterinary surgeon but they end up in famers hands from shops that sell them to farmers illegally.

Dr Tuimur blamed this on the veterinarians.

“The fate of microbial resistance is as much in your hands as animal owners, as it is in the hands of the professionals who serve you, and the people who supply antibiotics to you illegally,” said the Livestock PS in his speech.

Prof Kariuki said veterinarians also fall prey to the pressure from farmers who demand that they are given antibiotics.

He said: “The farmer tells the vet that the last time the animals showed those signs they were given a certain drug and they got well and so they demand for that particular drug.”

Dr Indraph Ragwa, from KVB said prescriptions for anti-biotics are usually accompanied with directions on how to use them.

“Using antibiotics on animals comes with instructions such as not to take milk or meat from that animal for a certain period of time, and only a qualified person would know that,” he said.

However, Dr Ragwa said, science has not directly linked cancer to the consumption of meat and milk from animals that have been exposed to antibiotics.

Dr Ragwa added that farmers lose their animals in the hands of quacks, especially when performing complex procedures such as Caesarian section on cows.

“They want money, and when the animal dies, the famer loses a livelihood as well as the money,” he said.

Livestock play a huge role in food security and thus more exposure to people.

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#Livestock Horn Fly Management


With summer grazing season almost here, now is the time to prepare a horn fly management plan. Developing an effective plan requires some knowledge about the fly’s habits, life cycle, economic impact, and available control strategies.

United States livestock producers lose over $1 billion annually to the horn fly, making it one of the most damaging ectoparasites of pastured cattle. Horn fly feeding cause’s dermal irritation, anemia, decreased feed intake leading to reduced weight gains, and diminished milk production. Horn flies have also been implicated in the spread of summer mastitis. Furthermore, an estimated $60 million is spent annually on insecticidal control. Studies conducted in Nebraska have established calf weaning weights were 10-20 pounds higher when horn flies were controlled on mother cows. The horn fly also affects yearling cattle reducing yearling weights by much as 18 percent. The economic injury level (EIL) for horn flies is 200 flies per animal. An economic injury level is when the economic impact of the pest equals treatment costs. During the summer horn fly numbers on untreated Nebraska cattle can exceed several thousand.

Horn flies are small in size, approximately 3/16” in length and are usually found on backs, sides, and poll area of cattle. During a warm summer afternoon they can be found on the belly region of cattle. Horn flies, both male and female, acquire more than 30 blood meals per day. After mating the female fly will leave the animal to deposit eggs in fresh cattle manure. Eggs hatch within one week, and larvae feed and mature in the manure, pupating in the soil beneath the manure pat. Newly emerged horn flies can travel several miles searching for a host. The entire life cycle can be completed in 10 to 20 days depending upon the weather. read more…


When given a choice, cattle will drink from a trough


If you lead or direct a cow to clean water, it will usually drink faster and grow better.

The best way to make that happen is with an off-site system like a water trough, say experts.

Water facts

Livestock behaviour research in the Kamloops, B.C., area studied how water influences cattle behaviour.

  • Proximity to water is the most important factor determining where livestock are distributed. This means water is the most effective tool at manipulating livestock behaviour. Although cattle will travel three to four kilometres for water, it is recommended that they have water within 1.5 km in gentle terrain and less in steeper terrain. In general, studies have shown that cattle tend to spend most of their time within about 300 metres of water. (DelCurto et al. 1999)
  • The amount of time cattle spend drinking depends on water source, water quality, taste and weather. Time spent drinking can vary from three to six minutes per day
    to 26 minutes per day. (Veira, D. and Liggins, L. 2002)
  • The water requirements of cattle vary with weather conditions and the physiological state of the animal.

Source: Kelsey Spicer-Rawe, riparian specialist with Cows and Fish

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Controlling lice in cattle

If producers notice their cattle rubbing, biting or scratching with irritation at their neck, shoulders and rump — including the loss of hair in those areas — they could be experiencing a lice problem. Lice are a common annoyance to cattle, especially in the winter months. The energy sucking lice rob from the animal can result in anemia, slowed recovery from diseases and decreased gain during infestation.

“Cattle producers and their herds experience more lice problems during the wintertime, by far,” said Jon Seeger, DVM, managing veterinarian with Zoetis. “Now is the time to treat cattle for lice.”

Two different types of lice commonly affect cattle throughout the winter:

Sucking lice: With relatively small, narrow heads designed to pierce the skin and suck blood, sucking lice can cause anemia, with production loss in heavy infestations. Sucking lice can do serious damage in large numbers and even kill young calves.

Biting or chewing lice: With larger, rounder heads, biting lice feed on skin debris, scabs and blood. Chewing lice do not cause a direct production loss. This biting insect causes severe irritation and discomfort to cattle. Cattle may experience such irritation that they could damage working facilities, fences, trees and feed bunks, using them as rubbing posts for some relief. Their coats may appear rough, with patches of hair loss.

The eggs of both lice types cling to the hair and hatch within 14 days. Adults live up to 28 days, with females laying an average of one egg per day.

Tips for controlling lice in cattle:

• Treat cattle for lice during the fall months, beginning in October, as populations are growing.

• Administer DECTOMAX Pour On to aid in controlling both biting and sucking lice.

• Consider a follow-up treatment two to three weeks later to allow time for any eggs to hatch but not mature into adults.

• Assume lice are present upon receiving a load of cattle. Treat and quarantine the group.

• Move cattle to a different pasture to avoid any commingling over the fence with untreated cattle, as lice are easily spread.

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