Animal health is important for any type of production.

Without good health our animals will not return any profits. They will cost us in medicine and death loss. The first thing to address for animal health here in the Ozarks is parasites, (worms and ectoparasites).

Cattle need to be dewormed at least twice a year. I recommend not just staying with the pour on’s, since it has been proven that they will not always get all of the internal worms. They may do a great job on the external parasites for about two to three weeks, but they can and will leave some worms inside. These pour ons, are all in the avermectrin family and avermectrins will not get tapeworms. They are also very sensitive to light. This means that if they sit out in the light for more than about two to three hours they can and will be destroyed. Now you are putting on just the carrier and not the active drug. Take care of the product you purchase to use.

And if it seems like your dewormer is not working I go back to one of the older white drench dewormers.

More labor but if it puts pounds on the hoof, great and it is worth it. These can be found anywhere. You just might have to ask, though.

The next thing is vaccinations.

I recommend a 7-way blackleg, IBR, BVD, PI3, BRSV and Lepto 5 with Hardjo. These vaccines must be given the first time and then boostered two to four weeks later. If they are not boostered within six weeks then you must start all over. At most, the immunity from one dose of these vaccines will only last about 6 weeks. Please, read the label on the vaccine you purchase.

After the first round two to four weeks apart, I recommend either twice yearly or at least once a year boostering all of these vaccines.

The reason I still give blackleg to my cows is that we need to protect that baby in her belly until we can get the vaccine in them. This way the immunity is passed on to the babies via colostrum. Now this passive immunity will not last forever, so somewhere between 1 and 4 months old we need to get a dose of blackleg into these calves.

Now, herds that I have worked with that have followed these recommendations, all I would generally see them for would be routine work, such as vaccinations like brucellosis and breeding soundness exams on their bulls and cows, i.e., semen testing and preg checking.


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