Unusual Parasites Cause Death In Replacement Heifers
Most of these calves were home-raised replacement heifers and cut-back steer calves that were being backgrounded at home.
While respiratory disease was implicated in all of the cases (based on autopsies and lab samples), we found some surprising results in the fecal samples. Parasites were at the root of all of the disease and death that we were seeing in these cases.
It wasn’t just any parasite though. Two very unique parasites were affecting these herds: Nematodirus and Tape worms.
Neither of these parasites tend to cause problems in cattle over 2 years old. But they can wreak absolute havoc on young stock.
Also, they are not killed by traditional dewormers like Ivermectin or Dectomaxx. Both worms can be killed by the oral white wormers (like Valbezan). And certain pour ons such as Cydectin and Eprinex can kill the Nematodirus (but not tapeworms).
Within 24 hours of treating their 700 weight calves for these parasites, these producers reported that their calves were entirely different animals (bucking, playing, eating).
Most surprising of all, was that most of these calves were fat and healthy with beautiful hair coats. They showed none of the symptoms of parasitism.
What does this mean for your herd?
Run fecals! We have a special fecal centrifuge at our clinic designed specifically to isolate parasites. Our veterinarians and licensed technicians can tell you if your poop looks clean in a matter of a few hours.
How To: Collect fresh feces in a ziplock bag. Label with the ear tag number. Drop off at our clinic within 24 hours (keep in fridge if posssible). Take 5 samples from your replacement heifers. Take 1-3 samples from your bulls. Take 1-3 samples from your coming 3 year olds.
If a critter dies, have her autopsied within 24 hours!! Don’t wait for a second animal to die before you decide to pursue diagnostics.
Autopsies almost always give you answers. More often than not, its not the answer that you expected.
Vaccine protocols and deworming protocols can then be adjusted accordingly.
Nematodirus worms produce a distinctive, large, football-shaped egg. You can see how much larger the nematodirus eggs are in this slide vs. the other “normal” sized stomach worms.
Call The Sugar Factory Vet Clinic if you have any questions regarding your herd!
Lice Update: My Cows Are NIT Going Bald This Year!
Imagine this. Its the first of March and your cows are starting to go bald. I’m not talking about the small bald patches around the face caused by ringworm that you see in younger animals. I’m talking about massive losses of hair on the bodies of most of your cows. They are obviously uncomfortable and rubbing on everything in site.
This is chewing lice. Lots of chewing lice… each cows probably has 10 or more lice per square inch of their body. This level of chewing lice can certainly cause reduced weight gains. Lower levels can cause economic losses that are perhaps not as quantifiable (damage to fencing and equipment from rubbing).
“That expensive pour-on I bought isn’t working! All my cows have lice!” This is the complaint that I hear frequently.
But this is not an issue of resistance. The main problem is that the pour-ons that we use for internal parasites aren’t designed to kill chewing lice. Even if a product labeled for chewing lice was used, producers are generally pouring their cattle in the fall. This is way beyond the duration of efficacy.
“But doc, the label says that this pour-on kills four species of lice!”
The lice that our most popular pour-ons kill are primarily SUCKING lice. The species of lice that causes the most problems in our cattle herds are CHEWING lice. The label should state that the product controls chewing lice or Bovicola bovis specifically.
NITS are the source of our problems
Here is the real kicker. Most lice products require TWO treatments. This is because most lice products only kill ADULT lice. The cows are still full of sticky eggs (nits) that will hatch again in 14 days.
For this reason, I recommend using a lice product (Clean up 2) that contains an IGR. This type of lice product only requires one application because it kills adults and the nits. Also, the product should generally be applied in January or February. This time frame may change depending on when you are seeing lice in your herd.
You certainly don’t want to wait until cattle are actually showing hair loss to treat. At this level, the economic losses are already occurring and treatment become less effective.
The time you want to initiate lice treatment is when there are 1-2 lice per square inch on your cow. I don’t actually expect that I’ll see many producers counting lice, but that is ideal. Next time your cow is in the chute, try it.
If you have any questions, stop by our livestock supply store. Let us help you select a product that will be effective in your operation.
“Winter” Pink Eye in Calves and Yearlings
We have seen a recent run of “winter” pink eye in calves this year. Pinkeye is also know as Infectious Bovine Keratoconjunctivitis, or IBK.
These calves are showing up with the classic symptoms of a discreet round ulcer in the middle of the eye, accompanied by tears, squinting, and a bluish haze to the eye (which is edema). A few herds have experienced concurrent respiratory symptoms and fever, as well as decreases in weight gain.
The majority of these calves have been pre-conditioned and well vaccinated as a lot of them are destined to be replacement heifers. Affected calves are born out of cows of all ages -so they are not necessarily out of the young cows with less immunity than their solid mouth counterparts.
Not Just A Poke In The Eye
Many producers have expressed concern that theses calves are simply getting poked in the eye by stemmy feed stuffs. They have pointed out the lesions in the eye to me as evidence that it looks exactly like they were poked in the eye. Many of the organisms that cause pinkeye contain an actual toxin that damages the cornea and gives the appearance of a puncture wound. So while a piece of hay or other foreign material could poke a calf in the eye and initiate a bout of pinkeye, it is not strictly necessary. Read More >
Puppy Tooth That Didn’t Fall Out
Just like in humans, a dog’s puppy teeth should fall out when their adult teeth erupt. Sometimes, the puppy teeth do not fall out, and we refer to them as “retained deciduous teeth”.
Puppy Teeth Can Stop Jaw Growth
“Penny” is a 2 month old Shih Tzu cross that was having problems eating hard food. When she came in for her puppy shots, one of her bottom canine teeth was in the wrong position and was poking a hole in her palate! The baby tooth is not only very sharp and causing Penny a lot of discomfort, but it is essentially locking her bottom jaw into place. Jaws have growth plates just like any other bone. When the jaw is locked into position every time Penny closes her mouth, the growth plate is also locked into position, and the jaw is unable to grow to its proper length.
Ibuprofen is particularly toxic to dogs and cats. Do not give ibuprofen to your dog or cat under any circumstances. If your dog or cat accidentally ingests ibuprofen, contact us immediately. Read More >
Impacted Anal Glands and Flatulence
Is your dog scooting, licking her bum, or have you noticed a “fishy smell”? If you dog has exhibited any of these symptoms, your dog may be experiencing problems with her anal glands. Anal glands are two small glands located just inside your pet’s anus. The material secreted into these glands is thick, oily, and stinky. Normal defecation often serves to empty these glands. However, if an animal is unable to empty the gland, the gland becomes impacted and uncomfortable. Both dogs and cats can suffer from impacted anal glands. Read More >
The Benefits of Pre-Conditioning Calves
“Pre-conditioning” your calves means preparing their immune system for exposure to new diseases that they will encounter upon entering their new environment at the feedlot. While pre-conditioning can include deworming, weaning, and transitioning to the feed bunk, for the purposes of this article, I’m going to address vaccination specifically. The term “pre-conditioning” itself does not designate any particular vaccine protocol. Read More >