Preparing for Pinkeye 2018

– Michelle Arnold, DVM (Ruminant Extension Veterinarian, UKVDL), University of Kentucky

Figure 1: Corneal ulceration in the early stages of pinkeye. Photo from Veterinary Clinics of North America, Food Animal Practice 26 (2010), page 489.

Infectious Bovine Keratoconjunctivitis (IBK) or “Pinkeye” is a costly and exasperating disease for the beef producer and industry. A field trial published in 2009 found an average weaning weight difference of 18 pounds less (range 9-27 lbs) in calves that experienced pinkeye versus those that did not. Calves with corneal scars are often discounted at sale, further increasing the economic cost of IBK to producers. A recent study found continued impact in the beef industry from pinkeye on production traits. Yearlings that had pinkeye as young calves pre-weaning had less 12th rib fat depth, ribeye area, and body weight than did yearlings without evidence of pinkeye. Despite the well-known economic impact of disease, adequate and timely treatment of cases is challenging because cattle are grazed far away from facilities during peak occurrence in summer months. Preventing the disease has proven difficult because Continue reading

Posted in Health

Calf Castration Considerations

– Lew Strickland, Extension Veterinarian, University Of Tennessee

One of the questions that I hear the most concerning castration is; when should I castrate my calves Doc? Many producers will castrate their calves when they are two or three days old, which is my preferred period. Castration should occur when the calf is rather young. The older the calf, the more likely that calf will suffer a setback (which cost the producer money). In addition, larger calves are more difficult to handle and restrain for the procedure. The latest castration should be done is one month prior to weaning to avoid any extra stress from the weaning process. Bull calves castrated at or following weaning can retain a stag like appearance and attitude that the feedlot operator discounts. Purebred operators can still castrate bull calves that are culls and still realize some profit.

The choice of castration method is the preference of the operator, age and weight of the calf, and the time of year performing the procedure. In all techniques, sanitize the hands and castration instruments between each calf to prevent the spread and/or introduction of disease.

There are three methods of castration, which range from Continue reading

Start Now to Prevent Anaplasmosis This Fall

– Michelle Arnold, DVM (Ruminant Extension Veterinarian, UKVDL), University of Kentucky

Anaplasma marginale is an organism that lives in red blood cells and causes the only major “tick-borne” disease in the US affecting cattle production. Although ticks are important for this organism to survive year after year, transmission is by any transfer of infected red blood cells from infected to susceptible cattle. This includes biting insects (mosquitoes, horse flies, stable flies) and/or using blood contaminated instruments such as dehorners, ear taggers, castration tools, and implant guns. Probably the most common way it is transmitted is using the same needle on multiple animals when administering vaccines to the herd.

The disease usually affects adult cattle in the fall of the year with the majority of cases submitted to the UK Veterinary Diagnostic Lab (UKVDL) starting in late September and continuing through the first 1-2 weeks of November. This organism causes anemia in adult cattle which means there is a very low number of red blood cells in the bloodstream. Lack of red blood cells results in a lack of oxygen to the vital organs in the body. Infected cattle will show signs of Continue reading

Posted in Health

A survey of recommended practices made by veterinary practitioners to cow-calf operations in the U.S. & Canada

– G. Fike, J. Simroth, D. Thompson, E. Schwandt, R. Spare, A. Tarpoff; Contributed by S. Boyles, OSU Beef Extension Specialist.

Veterinary practitioners provide constant advice and recommendations to beef cow-calf operations across the United States and Canada regarding health, well-being, and production practices to gain satisfactory health status and optimum herd performance. Practicing veterinarians (n = 148) who service commercial beef cow-calf herds responded to a survey describing general recommendations made to their clients in terms of vaccine protocol, health, and production practices. Responding veterinarians represented 35 states in the United States and 3 provinces in Canada. More than 50% of responding veterinarians devote over 50% of their practice to Continue reading

Posted in Health

Monitor for Ticks When Working Pasture

Timothy McDermott DVM, OSU Extension Educator, Franklin County

Despite an increase in tick-vectored diseases throughout Ohio, it’s common to believe that ticks such as this deer tick are only present during spring or summer.

There has been an increase in tick-vectored diseases in Ohio to livestock, companion animals and humans over the last several years. This has occurred as the different tick species that inhabit Ohio have increased their habitat range and gradual spread from the south and east towards the north. The increase in awareness of tick-vectored diseases is now only starting to catch up as a public and livestock health awareness priority. Ticks have been found to vector not only bacterial diseases, but new-vectored viral diseases as well as allergic reactions have increased in frequency and severity. As the producer gets ready for spring production work, they have multiple potential chances to interact with ticks. This might include inspecting fence for post-winter repair, checking on spring calving, walking pasture to evaluate forage stands or moving cattle to different paddocks to take advantage of lush spring growth. Understanding tick habitat preferences, knowing what life cycle stages are present and making a personal protective biosecurity plan will allow the producer to Continue reading

Good Management Helps Reduce Grass Tetany

Mark Landefeld, OSU Extension Educator, AgNR, Monroe County (published originally in Farm and Dairy on-line)

Spring is here according to the calendar, but cold temperatures and many water-saturated soils have not made rotational grazing very favorable yet. However, the ground has firmed considerably the last few days in our area and predicted warmer temperatures should promote grass growth so that pasture rotations may be starting soon. As the number of daylight hours increase, temperatures warm, and pastures grow, farm managers should take steps to prevent hypomagnesemia or “grass tetany.”

Grass tetany is associated with cool weather in spring and fall because the metabolism of the plant is slower and its mineral uptake from the soil is reduced. This leads to lower amounts of magnesium (Mg) in the forages livestock graze. Grass tetany is more common on cool-season grass pastures than legume pastures because legumes such as clover and alfalfa tend to have higher magnesium levels in their leaves.

Turning cows out into new lush grass pastures can cause Continue reading

Dewormers – Are They An Extremely Valuable Non-Renewable Resources?

– Michelle Arnold, DVM (Ruminant Extension Veterinarian, UKVDL), University of Kentucky

A “non-renewable” resource is a resource with economic value that cannot be readily replaced on a level equal to its consumption. Petroleum and coal are two familiar examples of valuable non-renewable products used daily but known to exist in limited supply, and formation of new product takes billions of years. Dewormers, on the other hand, are products that can be purchased from almost any farm or veterinary supply store and online. There are many different kinds, fairly inexpensive, and seemingly effective at killing parasites in the digestive tract of cattle and certain types also control flies, ticks and lice. They come in many forms and can be delivered to cattle by mouth as a liquid, paste or in block form, by injection, or simply by pouring it down the topline. Given this situation, how could dewormers ever be classified as “extremely valuable non-renewable resources”? In a recent veterinary continuing education meeting at the UKVDL, Dr. Ray Kaplan, an internationally-known veterinary parasitologist from the University of Georgia, used that Continue reading

A Long, Difficult Delivery of a Calf Will Affect Rebreeding of the Cow

– Glenn Selk, Oklahoma State University

In addition to being the greatest cause of baby calf mortality, calving difficulty markedly reduces reproductive performance during the next breeding season. Cattle suffering from calving difficulty have been reported (Brinks, et al. 1973) to have pregnancy rates decreased by 14% and those that did become pregnant to calve 13 days later at the next calving. Results from a Montana study (Doornbos, et al., 1984) showed that heifers receiving assistance in early stage 2 of parturition returned to heat earlier in the post-calving period and had higher pregnancy rates than heifers receiving traditionally accepted obstetric assistance. In this study, heifers were either Continue reading

Early Path to Quality Beef

– Justin Sexten, Ph.D., Director, CAB Supply Development

You know the role health and nutrition play in feedlot performance, carcass quality grade and profitability. Yet many readers challenge the idea that these benefits can be realized at the ranch, unless they retain ownership beyond the farm or ranch gate.

The increasingly transparent market with buyers tracking results by source underscores that producing high-quality beef takes a systematic approach no one segment can afford to ignore. Ever. The time required to influence your herd’s genetic potential is measured in years, so managing for quality is always important.

It takes four years, really: Select a superior sire, gestate for nine months and nurse the cow for another seven months. Develop heifers prior to breeding for seven months, breed those superior replacements, repeat the nine months of gestation and add Continue reading

Colostrum and the Newborn Calf

– Carla L. Huston, DVM, PhD, ACVPM, Dept. of Pathobiology and Population Medicine, Mississippi State University College of Veterinary Medicine

The best defense against failure of passive transfer (FPT) is good colostrum management, ensuring that each calf receives an adequate amount of good quality colostrum shortly after birth.

With spring fast approaching, many of us are well into calving season. An awareness of potential post-calving complications and disorders can be helpful when preparing to deal with problems we may encounter in our beef herds. One frequent problem encountered during calving season is failure of passive transfer (FPT), which occurs when a newborn calf does not receive adequate colostrum.

The importance of colostrum: Colostrum is the first milk produced by the dam following calving. It is a rich source of immunoglobulins, fat (energy), vitamins and minerals. The major role of colostrum is to passively transfer immunity from the dam to her calf. Calves are born agammaglobulinemic, or without Continue reading