Protecting Your Flock from Disease

Eastern Alliance for Production Katahdins (EAPK) Communications Committee – Roxanne Newton
(Previously published online with EAPK: September 11, 2022)

Disease Triangle

Disease is present in every flock and can reside in the animals, soil, air, and water. Producers don’t often talk about illnesses affecting their sheep because they don’t want the stigma of disease to reflect negatively on their flock. But producers shouldn’t have to deal with the problem alone. Let’s accept the fact that disease is inevitable, remove the stigma, and learn how we can prevent or mitigate disease transmission in our flocks.

Disease is defined as “a condition of the living animal that impairs normal functioning and is typically manifested by distinguishing signs and symptoms.” Unfortunately, sheep can’t tell us how they feel or what symptoms they’re experiencing so it often becomes a guessing game for both producers and their veterinarians. Since healthy sheep are resistant to many of the pathogens already present on their own farm, they often don’t get clinically ill unless they are under stress. Previous exposure to these pathogens prepares Continue reading

Changes to Livestock Antibiotics Coming in 2023

Dr. Tim McDermott, OSU Extension Educator ANR, Franklin County

(Image Source: Drovers)

There are some changes coming to the availability of over the counter antibiotics that the livestock producer will want to familiarize themselves with soon in order to make sure they are properly prepared before the changes are implemented in 2023.

What is being implemented is the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) guidance for industry (GFI) #263 entitled “’Recommendations for Sponsors of Medically Important Antimicrobial Drugs Approved for Use in Animals to Voluntarily Bring Under Veterinary Oversight All Products That Continue to Be Available as Over-the-Counter.”

The reason for this change to make sure that Continue reading

The Heat is On and the Algae Loves It!

Richard Purdin, OSU Extension Educator ANR, Adams County

(Image Source: Ohio’s Country Journal)

July got off to a hot and dry start for much of Ohio and for livestock managers this brings on added chores on the to do list to keep livestock healthy and productive. Water is the source of life and I often preach on the importance and the critical role it plays in animal health. When livestock have clean fresh water to always drink, they will better consume feed and forage and absorb it nutrients more efficiently. More adequate water consumptions can equate to better rate of gain, increased fertility and reproductive performance, increased milk production and weaning weights, and much more benefits. When water is not available or the tainted in anyway livestock will avoid drinking or try to find water in other areas, this can have a detrimental effect on animal health and should be priority for managers to prevent. There can be multiple factors that lead to water be tainted or unpleasant for livestock consumption but one of the most common factors during the summer is the build up of algae growth in water tanks, troughs, or reservoirs.

Keeping algae out of the livestock drinking facilities can be Continue reading

Iodine Deficiency in Small Ruminants

Lucienne Downs, New South Wales Government District Veterinarian, Central Tablelands Local Land Services
(Previously published online with New South Wales Government Local Land Services)

A severe deficiency of iodine causes a lack of essential thyroid hormone production and the thyroid gland enlarges. The enlarged thyroid gland is called goiter. The swelling occurs in the throat area and can be as large as an orange. Goiter is mainly a disease of lambs and kids, it rarely occurs in calves. Goats have a higher requirement for iodine than other livestock.

Causes of Iodine Deficiency

  • It mostly occurs due to insufficient intake of iodine from the pasture.
  • Iodine deficiency may also be caused by goitrogens – substances within the feed which inhibit the utilization of dietary iodine. Goitrogens have been detected in some legumes and forage crops, but are considered unlikely to be a significant cause of goiter.

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Keeping your Vaccines Viable

Tracey Erickson, former South Dakota State University Extension Dairy Field Specialist
(Previously published online with South Dakota State University Extension: November 18, 2021)

Vaccines are a vital part of keeping all livestock healthy. Vaccines help in the prevention of disease, which results in less utilization of antibiotics due to fewer sick animals. Vaccines provide protective immunity approximately 21 days following the initial vaccination in the majority of livestock. Some vaccines may require a booster vaccination(s) to ensure immunity for the period designated by the manufacturer. There are multiple factors influencing immunity, including but not limited to, medical history, vaccine type, method of administration, age, and species being vaccinated. A valid Vet-Client-Patient relationship will help you as you select the vaccine of choice for your livestock health program.

Vaccine Types
You are probably utilizing one of two types of vaccines: inactivated (“killed”) vaccines, which contain bacteria or viruses that have been inactivated by heat or chemicals, or modified-live virus (MLV) vaccines, which contain whole viruses that have been altered in such a way that, while they are able to multiply within the body, their ability to cause disease has been taken away.

So how do vaccines become worthless? Continue reading

How Do Sulfates in Water Affect Livestock Health?

Robin Salverson, South Dakota State University Extension Cow/Calf Field Specialist
(Previously published with South Dakota State University Extension: November 18, 2021)

Water sources that are often assumed to be safe, such as spring fed reservoirs and clear appearing water, can still be high in salts/sulfates. The visual appearance of water should not be used to determine if the water is good or bad. The only way to know if water is suitable for livestock is through testing.

Health Considerations
Poor-quality water will cause an animal to drink less. As a result, they also consume less forage and feed, which leads to weight loss, decreased milk production, and lower fertility.

Sporadic cases of polio can be Continue reading

Respiratory Disease in Sheep

Dr. G.F. Kennedy, Pipestone Veterinary Services
(Previously published online with Ask a Vet – Sheep: January 13, 2018)

I posted a short article about Raspy Lambs and added a tag, pneumonia, and that tag has been constantly viewed so we decided we should broaden the scope. Respiratory disease is probably the most important disease in sheep and it can range from the insignificant such as OPP or the widely used term “barn cough”. It affects all ages and breeds and all differently. The OPP zealots would say its all OPP and guys like me would say its all Pasteurella. The Pasteurella, that doesn’t exist anymore, its now Mannheimia. Basically with respiratory disease in sheep we are working with gram negative bacteria that respond to drugs like Nuflor, Oxytetracycline, Draxxin and others. Penicillin doesn’t help. My method of administration is Continue reading

Heat Stress in Small Ruminants

Kelly Froehlich, Assistant Professor and South Dakota State University Extension Sheep Specialist
(Previously published with South Dakota State University Extension: November 18, 2021)

The Upper Midwest provides periods of extreme heat during summer and shorter periods of heat stress potential during spring and fall. Are your sheep and goats cool enough in their environment? Heat stress affects sheep and goat performance by decreasing dry matter intake, while increasing the need for water. This, in return, has a direct impact on weight gain and milk production. Although sheep and goats are more heat-tolerant than other ruminants (e.g. cows), it is important to understand and identify when they may be experiencing stress.

Understanding Heat Stress
Several factors contribute to whether a sheep or goat will experience heat stress, including breed, relative humidity, temperature, wind speed, and solar radiation. The comfort zone of a fully fleeced sheep is about 10 to 90°F; this is where heat produced is the same as heat lost. Temperature comfort zone is less defined in goats, but it is generally accepted that they are better adapted to hot conditions. However, temperature is only part of the equation, with humidity having a huge impact on whether an animal will feel cool or heat stressed. Therefore, temperature humidity index (THI) is the best measure of livestock environmental stress (Table 1). Specifically for sheep and goats, heat stress is experienced when Continue reading

Over-the-Counter Antibiotics will Require Veterinary Oversight (Rx) Beginning in June of 2023

Dr. Gustavo M. Schuenemann, DVM, Department of Veterinary Preventive Medicine, The Oho State University

In June of 2021, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced that all medically important antimicrobials will move from over-the-counter (OTC) to prescription (Rx) within a 2-year implementation period. The Center for Veterinary Medicine guidance for industry #263 (GFI 263) outlines the process for animal drug suppliers to change the approved marketing status of certain antimicrobial drugs for use in non-food (companion), food-producing animals, or both, that are currently approved with over-the-counter marketing status. In 2003, FDA ranked antimicrobials according to their relative importance to human medicine: “critically important,” “highly important,” or “important.” The FDA considers all antimicrobial drugs listed in Appendix A to GFI #152 to be “medically important”.

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Ohio Ticks Present a Major Challenge for Livestock Producers

Dr. Tim McDermott, OSU Extension Educator ANR, Franklin County

Ohio is on the forefront for expansion of ticks and tick-vectored disease going from one tick that is medically important to humans, companion animals, and livestock twenty years ago to five ticks now.  I encountered the American Dog Tick way back when I was in clinical veterinary practice, then added the Blacklegged, or Deer Tick in 2010.  I talked about the Lone Star tick back in Farm and Dairy on June 27th, 2019 in the article “ Don’t Let a Lone Star Tick Bite Make You Allergic to Your Dinner” and still get nervous about potentially getting the mammalian muscle allergy (alpha-gal) that could make me allergic to my favorite food, bacon cheeseburgers. We finally added two more ticks to get to our total of five in 2020 with expansion to new host ranges of those ticks continuing to this day.  The Gulf Coast tick, not a true invasive, has been present in the United States since the 1800’s and was a serious pest for cattle producers at the time assisting with the economic and medical damage caused by the severe and reportable screwworm pest.  This tick has established colonies in counties in Southwestern Ohio.

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