Livestock producers are encouraged to vaccinate and deworm this spring

Spring is in the air, which brings concerns for parasite control and vaccinations in cattle, including spring-born calves.

What are the deworming options?

Producers have options for options for dewormers; injectables, orals and pour on, the latter being the easiest to apply.

But since its application is completely external and is susceptible to outside elements, is it a good investment? According to Dr. Heidi Ward at the University of Arkansas the answer is yes.

More importantly is knowing that each herd will be unique, depending on genetics and actual exposure. But according to Dr. Buss Horn from Verden Animal Clinic in Verden, Okla., pour on dewormers simply do not work.

He claims that either an injectable or oral will yield a result of 99 percent, a kill rate that the pour on can never hope to reach. It will obviously come down to time and money.

One problem that Horn pointed out was the fact that he had witnessed the cattle cleaning each other after the pour on treatment had been administered. That would seem like something that should be watched out for.

Pour on dewormer does have some advantages over injectables though, as they will neutralize both body and sucking lice where the injectable will not affect the lice on the body.

When should you worm?

According to Ward, it’s best to administer the dewormer once in the early spring to prepare the cattle for the summer and then once in the early fall to prepare them for the winter. The effectiveness of whatever dewormer you chose should be tested by conducting fecal egg counts on select members of the herd over time as it is the only way to predict the level of dewormer resistance in the herd.


With the wide range of infectious diseases to which cattle are susceptible, Ward said it is important to keep on top of vaccinations.

Respiratory diseases, such as IBR, BRSV, P13 and BVD, can be avoided with a simple vaccination, as well the many other diseases that can affect reproduction.

Vaccinations are done once annually and for young cattle a booster shot is recommended. The goal, of course, is to have a healthy herd. Many of these infectious diseases can storm through an entire herd, affecting both adults as well as calves, lowering the birth rate percentages.

Many of these diseases can affect the goat and sheep population as well, one such disease, commonly referred to as Blackleg, is caused by a bacteria which goes by the name of clostridium, and can lay dormant for years in a pastures soil and become infectious only to be spread by the grazing livestock. Early signs include the swelling of the thigh and elevated leg. A seven-way clostridial vaccination is the best way for prevention.

Horn recommends staying on a schedule and monitoring your livestocks condition throughout the year in order to maintain a healthy herd. No one needs the added expense of unhealthy animals to go along with everything else that is in need of constant upkeep.

These diseases and parasites are preventable if done correctly and will help you reap in the rewards of your very healthy herd.


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