Lice in beef cattle is worse during the winter and spring months.
According to the University of Missouri Extension, there are two types lice found on cattle in Ozarks: chewing lice and sucking lice
Chewing lice feed off the exterior of the livestock, such as hair, skin and scabs.
This type of lice also weakens the animal’s immune system and disturb typical feeding habits per MU Extension.
Sucking lice pierce the livestock’s skin and draw blood.
Loss of blood due to sucking lice can stunt growth and reduce weight gain according to MU Extension.
Lice are more prone during winter and spring months, but some animals can carry the invasion year-round.
According to MU Extension, “carrier” livestock should be planned to be sold to improve the livelihood of the herd.
However, just because cattle are scratching or rubbing against solid objects during the winter and early spring doesn’t mean they are lice-infested, MU Extension warns.
Watch and examine the animals closely, and make an educated decision before proceeding with treatment.
Benton County, Ark., University of Arkansas Extension Agent Johnny Gunsaulis said he has seen a lot of [lice] lately.
Gunsaulis said there are many measures than can control lice.
“Lice can be controlled now with the permethrin pour on products or those products used in back rubs,” Gunsaulis said.
When treating with sprays, they need to be reapplied every couple of weeks to provide the best control.
“Consult your veterinarian before treating with Warbex or other products that will also kill grubs.” Gunsaulis said.
“These can cause unwanted side effects if the cattle have been infected with grubs.”
Carroll County, Ark., U of A Extension Agent Olivia Curry said an effective form of lice control during winter months is dust bags.
“A producer can put these bags on gates, doorways, etc.; when deciding where to place the dust bag, locate an area of high foot traffic,” Curry said.
The University of Arkansas’ publication MP 144 references dust bag control options. Contact your local county extension agent to receive an updated copy.
Lice control can be worked into a part of a producer’s regular livestock health routine.
Some of the more popular de-wormers are also effective on lice.
Producers may want to simply delay treatment until they are ready to use these products Gunsaulis said.


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