Johne’s Disease and Detection in Beef Cattle – Part II, Recommended Herd Testing for Johne’s Disease

– Michelle Arnold, DVM, MPH UK Ruminant Extension Veterinarian

Johne’s (pronounced Yo-knees) Disease is a chronic, fatal disease characterized by profuse, watery diarrhea and weight loss or “wasting” in adult cattle (see Figure 1). Although it is a disease of mature animals, the infection most often begins when newborn calves nurse manure-covered teats contaminated with the bacterium Mycobacterium avium subsp. paratuberculosis, commonly referred to as “MAP”. The major problem with MAP infection in cattle is that the disease remains hidden because diarrhea and weight loss do not develop until 2-7 years after infection. However, the infected animal will release or “shed” the bacteria during this “silent phase”, contaminating the environment and allowing more calves to become infected. (For more information about Johne’s Disease, see last week’s article: Johne’s Disease and Detection in Beef Cattle – Part I, Frequently Asked Questions). Control of the disease is based on three basic steps: 1) identify and cull MAP-infected cattle; 2) prevent exposure of young, susceptible calves to the bacteria; and 3) prevent Continue reading

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Johne’s Disease and Detection in Beef Cattle – Part I, Frequently Asked Questions

– Michelle Arnold, DVM, MPH UK Ruminant Extension Veterinarian

What is Johne’s Disease? Johne’s (pronounced Yo-knees) Disease is a chronic disease of profuse, watery diarrhea and weight loss or “wasting” in adult cattle (Figure 1) caused by the bacterium Mycobacterium avium subsp. paratuberculosis, commonly referred to as “MAP”. This is a slow, progressive disease that begins when calves (not adult cattle) are infected with the MAP bacteria, most often around the time of birth but infection can occur up to 6 months of age and very rarely after. Once MAP gains entry into a calf, the organism lives permanently within the cells of the large intestine where it multiplies and causes the intestinal lining to slowly thicken. With time, the thickened intestine loses the ability to absorb nutrients, resulting in watery diarrhea. There is no blood or mucus in the feces and no straining. The clinical signs of diarrhea and extreme weight loss in spite of having a good appetite, do not show up until 2-5 years of age or even older. There is no treatment available and the animal eventually Continue reading

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Weaner Cattle Need Their Own Trainer

– Kirsten Nickles MSc and Anthony Parker PhD, The Ohio State University Department of Animal Sciences

The addition of a social facilitator cow seems to reduce the negative walking behaviors associated with weaning.

The most common weaning method in the United States beef industry is the abrupt removal of calves from cows at 5-8 months of age (Enríquez et al., 2011). Natural weaning in beef cattle however, occurs later in life for a calf at 7-14 months of age (Reinhardt and Reinhardt, 1981). The immediate cessation of milk supply and complete maternal separation causes calves to exhibit stereotypical behaviors such as walking and vocalizing at weaning. Calves will engage in these stereotypical behaviors for three to four days and the excessive activity and lack of feed intake result in body weight loss and fatigue (Weary et al., 2008). The anxiety and frustration experienced at weaning by the calf are critical factors that negatively affect the growth rate of the calf and can contribute to the onset of disease such as bovine respiratory disease. This is why we should aim to manage calves in a way that reduces these negative stereotypical weaning behaviors.

The use of a “trainer cow” or “social facilitator” has been proposed as a method to Continue reading

Do Not Let a Tick Bite Make You Allergic to Dinner

Tim McDermott DVM, OSU Extension Educator, Franklin County (originally published in Farm and Dairy)

The Lone Star Tick, a tick species that entered Ohio over the last decade, has become known for causing an allergic syndrome in people called Mammalian Muscle Allergy.

Livestock producers have had a lot on their plates lately. The weather including constant rain has damaged pasture as well as made timely hay making difficult. While I do not want to add to this list of worries, I want to make sure to educate producers that there is a new-ish tick concern that can dramatically affect the lifestyle of a producer of swine, cattle and small ruminants. Over the last decade we have seen an increase both in the spread of new tick species into our region as well as new diseases and allergic syndromes that can be vectored to producers from these invasive species. Lyme disease was seldomly diagnosed over ten years ago and has now become commonplace with the spread of the Black Legged (Deer) Tick. Viral diseases vectored to humans that had not been found before outside of Asia are now being diagnosed with increasing regularity in the United States. Today we are going to discuss an allergic syndrome that a producer can develop after getting bitten by a fairly new to the Midwest tick invader.

The Lone Star Tick (Amblyomma americanum) is a tick species that Continue reading

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Wet Pastures and Foot Rot

– Glenn Selk, Oklahoma State University Emeritus Extension Animal Scientist

Spring rains have filled the ponds and saturated the ground in many pastures. As the temperatures heat up, cattle will start to congregate around or in the ponds or other standing water. One of the challenges that cattle producers may face this summer is the occasional lame cow or yearling. “Foot rot” is a common cause of lameness in beef cattle on pastures. Foot rot is an infection that starts between the toes of the infected animal and usually is a result of the introduction of a bacteria through broken skin. The infection causes pain and the resulting lameness. The lameness can cause decreases in weight gain of young cattle, milk production decline of adult cows and lame bulls will be reluctant to breed.

Treatment of foot rot can be successful when the treatment is started early in the disease process. Most cases require the use of Continue reading

Udder Quality in Beef Cows – Does it Matter?

– Dr. Michelle Arnold, DVM, Ruminant Extension Veterinarian, University of Kentucky Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory and Dr. Darrh Bullock, Extension Professor, Breeding and Genetics, University of Kentucky

Picture 1: The two front quarters are blind (dry).

Udder and teat quality are two of the most important functional traits for a beef cow. Although much of the focus in selection of female replacements is on milk production, the milk delivery system (udder and teats) is equally important. It is easy to see that newborn calves have a difficult time nursing oversized teats, especially if hanging very close to the ground, which often results in inadequate colostrum intake. However, there is limited research regarding the occurrence of mastitis in beef cattle and its associated effects. “Mastitis” is infection (usually bacterial) of the milk-producing tissue or “mammary gland”. A cow with a case of mastitis will typically have one or more affected quarters that are swollen and produce abnormal milk. The milk may be thick with clots, thin and watery, or may not look unusual depending on the infecting bacteria. Some cows exhibit signs of illness such as Continue reading

I Normally Like Ribs . . .

– Dr. Les Anderson, Beef Extension Specialist, University of Kentucky

Jeff, Darrh, and I were chatting the other day and, amazingly, we all agreed on something! Over our many miles of travel this winter/spring, we have seen more ribs on cows that any of us can remember. The wet, cold winter and poor hay quality has really stressed cows and if we don’t watch out, it will impact rebreeding.

A successful breeding season begins with nutritional management decisions made prior to calving but most spring-calving herds are past that now. “Ribs” are best maintained over the winter during the two trimesters of pregnancy. Visible ribs are one component of body condition score. Body condition score (BCS) is a numerical estimation of the amount of fat on the cow’s body. It ranges from 1-9; with 1 being emaciated and 9 extremely obese. A change in a single BCS (i.e. a 4 to a 5) is usually associated with about a 75 pound change in body weight. Evaluation of BCS prior to calving and from calving to breeding is important to ensure Continue reading

Calving: How and when to intervene

Stan Smith, Fairfield County PA, OSU Extension

With calving season progressing across Ohio, one question that is often asked is when, if and how should one intervene to help with the birthing process?

During a portion of his presentation during the 2019 Ohio Beef School, Dr. Justin Kieffer discussed intervention in the birthing process, and how to properly pull a calf. Find that portion of Dr. Kieffer’s presentation below.

Colostrum; Do I need a Replacer or Supplement?

Stan Smith, Fairfield County PA, OSU Extension

Most know that calves are not born with any immunoglobulins, which help provide protection from disease. Immunoglobulins are supplied by the cow via colostrum, or first milk, and calves only have a 24 hour window to ingest these molecules through the lining of their gut before that window closes.

Occasionally due to the death of the cow at birth, or perhaps other calamity, new born calves aren’t able to receive adequate colostrum from the cow. In this event, colostrum can be provided to the calf in a few different ways including through purchased colostrum replacers, or supplements. The question is often asked, “which is best, or even Continue reading

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