Deworming necessary for maintaining efficient cattle | TSLN.com

Deworming necessary for maintaining efficient cattle

Gayle Smith

It is never easy to maintain an efficient herd of cattle. With grain and hay prices on the rise, and grass becoming more expensive, a producer needs to do all they can to maintain a profitable bottom line. Something that can be done to help feed be utilized as efficiently as possible is develop a deworming program.

According to Dr. Donald Bliss, a veterinary pathologist who owns his own company, MidAmerica Agricultural Research, “Gastro-intestinal parasites are hidden deep inside animals destroying the health and well-being of infected animals. The damage caused by parasites includes adversely affecting all levels of production for domestic livestock by reducing immune function, reducing weight gain, lowering feed efficiency, reducing reproductive performance and decreasing milk production.”

Iowa State University evaluated the added value of a deworming program for cattle and found that from birth to slaughter that value to be $180 a head. “The cost of deworming cattle at the right time is probably less than $10 a head,” he said. “That is a lot of value compared to the cost,” he added.

Bliss said he recommends producers develop a deworming program to prevent parasites from shedding on pastures in the spring and summer, and during the winter when feed costs are at their highest. “Producers can check their cattle at any time of year and have some value,” he explained. “But the most important times are in the winter and the spring. In the spring, we don’t want them to shed eggs in the pasture, and in the summer and fall, the value comes in knowing if they are becoming reinfected.”

During the winter months, Bliss cautioned producers to be sure their deworming programs are working. “If they are carrying parasites they will need more feed, and it will be harder for them to maintain their body condition score,” he explained.

“When an animal is infected with parasites, the parasite will suppress the animal’s immune system, suppress its appetite, slow down its feed intake, and shut down the acid production in the four stomachs. The parasites invade the glands and molt, and become an adult worm on the surface of the gut,” Bliss explained. The parasites will suppress the immune system to the gut, affecting any vaccinations the animals are given. “The vaccines may not work as well if the animal is carrying a heavy parasite load,” he cautioned. “The animals also won’t be able to fight off diseases, like pneumonia, as well.”

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It is never easy to maintain an efficient herd of cattle. With grain and hay prices on the rise, and grass becoming more expensive, a producer needs to do all they can to maintain a profitable bottom line. Something that can be done to help feed be utilized as efficiently as possible is develop a deworming program.

According to Dr. Donald Bliss, a veterinary pathologist who owns his own company, MidAmerica Agricultural Research, “Gastro-intestinal parasites are hidden deep inside animals destroying the health and well-being of infected animals. The damage caused by parasites includes adversely affecting all levels of production for domestic livestock by reducing immune function, reducing weight gain, lowering feed efficiency, reducing reproductive performance and decreasing milk production.”

Iowa State University evaluated the added value of a deworming program for cattle and found that from birth to slaughter that value to be $180 a head. “The cost of deworming cattle at the right time is probably less than $10 a head,” he said. “That is a lot of value compared to the cost,” he added.

Bliss said he recommends producers develop a deworming program to prevent parasites from shedding on pastures in the spring and summer, and during the winter when feed costs are at their highest. “Producers can check their cattle at any time of year and have some value,” he explained. “But the most important times are in the winter and the spring. In the spring, we don’t want them to shed eggs in the pasture, and in the summer and fall, the value comes in knowing if they are becoming reinfected.”

During the winter months, Bliss cautioned producers to be sure their deworming programs are working. “If they are carrying parasites they will need more feed, and it will be harder for them to maintain their body condition score,” he explained.

“When an animal is infected with parasites, the parasite will suppress the animal’s immune system, suppress its appetite, slow down its feed intake, and shut down the acid production in the four stomachs. The parasites invade the glands and molt, and become an adult worm on the surface of the gut,” Bliss explained. The parasites will suppress the immune system to the gut, affecting any vaccinations the animals are given. “The vaccines may not work as well if the animal is carrying a heavy parasite load,” he cautioned. “The animals also won’t be able to fight off diseases, like pneumonia, as well.”

editor’s note: for more information about midamerica agricultural research or to contact bliss, please see their web site: midamericaagresearch.net.

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