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Grazing Factsheets - Animal Health

Grazing Factsheets

Animal Heath

Control of Parasites in Grazing Beef Cattle
Control of Internal Parasites in Sheep
Control of Parasites in Dairy Cattle
Control of Parasites in Equine
Bloat and Pasture
Ergot and Cattle Health
Pink Eye in Cattle
Anti-Quality Factors in Rangeland and Pastureland Forages
Neosporosis-Abortion in Cattle
Diseases (Being Developed)
Toxicities/Poisoning (Being Developed)

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Outline of State of Illinois with GrassAnimal Health

Control of Parasites in
Grazing Beef Cattle

Illinois

Unless in total confinement, cattle will be exposed to parasites that result in production loss and, perhaps, health problems. Control of internal parasites can be accomplished by administration of any of several oral, injectable or pour-on products available on the market. Too often the decision to deworm cattle is based on their appearance. By the time the effects of parasitism are visible, major economic loss and health compromises have occurred. The issue is when and how often to deworm cattle relative to the herd exposure and re-infection. Optimum parasite control for grazing cattle relies on strategic deworming in order to decrease re-infection. We must “treat” the pasture as well as the animal.

  • Worm larvae survive winter and are infectious until late spring
  • Warm, wet weather increases worm larvae viability
  • Worm larvae populations from pastures in spring can be excessive and cause disease in cattle
  • Ingested larvae mature to adult worms, produce eggs which pass out with the feces and further contaminate the pasture
  • Ostertagia sp., specifically, has the ability to encyst in the wall of the abomasum to later flood the intestinal tract with a high larvae population
  • Pasture reinfection from infected cows readily provides larvae for calves (which are less resistant to worm deleterious effects) as well as cows

Figure 1. Over-wintered parasitic larvae provide re-infection for cows put on spring pastures who perpetuate the pasture parasite contamination and provide exposure to new calves.**
Fig. 1 - Pasture Contamination Profile Diagram

Goal is to maintain “parasite safe” pastures

  • Kill adult worms before grazing
  • Kill immature worms before egg shedding
  • Time treatments to seasonal grazing pattern

Deworm cattle at the end of the grazing season to prevent carry-over of worms (worming after the first frost with some products will also kill external parasites)

Deworm cattle a few weeks after putting on pasture to kill newly acquired worms before they mature and begin laying eggs to reduce pasture recontamination

  • A dewormer which can kill immature worms will be necessary to use at this time (one that kills only adults will not be effective)

Young animals are more susceptible to worm infections and should be treated three to four weeks after turnout followed by several repeat treatments three to four weeks apart

  • (longer than four weeks can allow for sufficient maturation of the parasite to allow shedding of eggs)

Pasture contamination is related to grazing pressure

  • Dragging pastures to break up and dry fecal pats reduces larvae numbers
  • Intensive grazing practices intensifies the need for parasite control strategy

Contact your veterinarian

  • Optimum product type for specific control period
  • Strategies for dewormer administrations to coincide with other cattle handling requirements
    (e.g., vaccination, pregnancy examination, etc.)

Fig. 2 - Strategic Deworming Program Diagram

Figure 2. Deworm cattle before turning out to pasture and following treatments to avoid recontamination of pasture**

**Bliss DH: The Cattle Producer’s handbook for Strategic Parasite Control. Hoechst Roussel Vet, 1997

Additional Fact Sheets:
-Control of Equine Parasites -R.D. Scoggins, DVM, University of Illinois
-Control of Internal Parasites in Sheep – R.D. Scoggins, DVM, University of Illinois
-Control of Parasites in Dairy Cattle – Dick Wallace, DVM, MS, University of Illinois

Project funding provided by: North Central Region Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education Program

Project coordinated by: Dean Oswald, Animal Systems Educator, Macomb Extension Center, 480 Deer Road, Macomb, IL, 61455.


The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) prohibits discrimination in all its programs and activities on the basis of race, color, national origin, age, disability, and where applicable, sex, marital status, familial status, parental status, religion, sexual orientation, genetic information, political beliefs, reprisal, or because all or a part of an individual's income is derived from any public assistance program. (Not all prohibited bases apply to all programs.) Persons with disabilities who require alternative means for communication of program information (Braille, large print, audiotape, etc.) should contact USDA's TARGET Center at (202) 720-2600 (voice and TDD). To file a complaint of discrimination write to USDA, Director, Office of Civil Rights, 1400 Independence Avenue, S.W., Washington, D.C. 20250-9410 or call (800) 795-3272 (voice) or (202) 720-6382 (TDD).

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Outline of State of Illinois with GrassAnimal Health

Control of Internal
Parasites in Sheep

Illinois


By: R. D. Scoggins, D.V.M., Extension Veterinarian,
University of Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine

Internal parasites of sheep are one of the most costly diseases that sheep producers have to contend with. Parasite damage may range from reduced productivity to death losses. Most internal parasites either suck blood or destroy tissue. The resultant damage may cause the animal to remain unthrifty for life.

Most midwestern universities involved with sheep have done extensive research in internal sheep parasites and their control.

Control is based on a combination of drug treatment and management to reduce reinfestation. Preventing animals from being reinfested can eliminate parasites over a period of time. This is not feasible under most production conditions except by using expanded metal flooring. Work at Dixon Springs Agricultural Research Center several years ago showed the value of expanded metal floors for controlling parasites and foot rot.

Sheep have a number of characteristics that make them more susceptible to parasites than other livestock.
1. Sheep parasites are mostly blood-suckers.
2. Sheep tend to be very close grazers therefore contacting large numbers of larvae.
3. Unlike other animals, sheep have little aversion to grazing amidst heavy fecal contamination.
4. Their strong flocking instinct encourages them to graze close together.
5. Sheep parasites are prolific egg producers.
6. Sheep develop very little immunity to protect them against parasites.

Parasites may produce obvious symptoms to almost no symptoms, depending on
the severity or “parasite load.” Poor doing animals may exhibit diarrhea, weight loss, sudden paleness of mucous membranes, weakness and even death. Severe damage has usually occurred by the time symptoms appear.

A veterinarian should conduct a physical exam. A fecal egg count and even an autopsy may be needed to evaluate the problem. It is important to determine which parasites are present and at what level of infestation.

Pasture is the most risky management method for spreading parasites. Infective larvae develop on the grass stems protected by shade and moisture. Every mouthful of grass carries infective larvae into the sheep.

Heat and dryness are most effective in controlling parasite larvae. Midwest winters have relatively little effect against infective larvae.

Control programs using dewormers vary in how they are used. Some elect to deworm on a regular schedule, every 6-8 weeks. Others deworm strategically at specific times in the production cycle while others deworm based on increasing fecal egg counts. The most effective ones have a veterinarian involved who monitors the program and checks the results of treatment.

Fecal egg counts before treatment identify the kinds of parasites and the level of infection. Samples checked following treatment should be 7-10 days after treatment. Samples should be fresh and represent at least 20% of each group of sheep.

Following treatment, sheep should be moved to clean pasture or a clean environment to reduce reinfestation.
Treatment is only one aspect of parasite control.
For treatment to be effective, the following considerations are important:
1. Use the correct medication.
2. Must be used at the correct dosage.
3. Appropriate timing/interval.
4. Fecal examination 7-10 days following treatment.

A number of medications are available for treating parasitized sheep. There are basically four families
of dewormers.
1. Ivermectin
2. Pyrantel
3. Benzimidazoles
4. Levamisole

This does not include inophores or other medications for the treatment of coccidiosis.
Use of medication depends on:
1. Type of parasite being treated, i.e., ivermectin does not kill tapeworms or flukes.
2. Correct route of administration: all have an oral drench formulation that is effective.
3. Proper dosage based on weight so determine correct weight.
4. Be sure dose is swallowed. Many small producers use horse paste wormers that sheep frequently spit out.

It is important to work with a veterinarian to monitor the program to be sure it is effective.

Unnecessary treatments, use of an inappropriate drug or using the wrong dosage are all expensive and inappropriate.

Each program should be designed for the individual circumstances. Two neighbors may need to have quite different programs depending on their individual circumstances.

One possible scenario based on management would be:
1. Deworm ewes - 2 weeks before breeding as part of the flushing process.
2. Deworm ewes - 30 days prior to lambing.
3. Deworm ewes - at lambing time.
4. Deworm ewes - at weaning.

If fecal egg counts warrant, deworm or check whenever animals appear not to be doing well.
This program would be for ewes lambing in confinement and lambs weaned before going to pasture.
Other management systems would require different parasite control strategies.

Additional Fact Sheets:
-Control of Equine Parasites – R.D. Scoggins, DVM, University of Illinois
-Control of Parasites in Dairy Cattle – Dick Wallace, DVM, MS, University of Illinois
-Control of Parasites in Grazing Beef Cattle - G. L. Meerdink, DVM, University of Illinois

Project funding provided by: North Central Region Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education Program

Project coordinated by: Dean Oswald, Animal Systems Educator, Macomb Extension Center, 480 Deer Road, Macomb, IL, 61455.

 

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) prohibits discrimination in all its programs and activities on the basis of race, color, national origin, age, disability, and where applicable, sex, marital status, familial status, parental status, religion, sexual orientation, genetic information, political beliefs, reprisal, or because all or a part of an individual's income is derived from any public assistance program. (Not all prohibited bases apply to all programs.) Persons with disabilities who require alternative means for communication of program information (Braille, large print, audiotape, etc.) should contact USDA's TARGET Center at (202) 720-2600 (voice and TDD). To file a complaint of discrimination write to USDA, Director, Office of Civil Rights, 1400 Independence Avenue, S.W., Washington, D.C. 20250-9410 or call (800) 795-3272 (voice) or (202) 720-6382 (TDD).

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Outline of State of Illinois with GrassAnimal Health

Control of Parasites in
Grazing Dairy Cattle

Illinois


By: Dick Wallace, DVM, MS Dairy Extension Veterinarian, University of Illinois Extension

• Consider the parasite life cycle(s) when designing a parasite control program.
• Evaluate the relative risk factors for the class(es) of animal(s) to be treated.
• Consider meat and milk withholding times before administration of the drug(s).

Birth – Weaning (2 months):
Housing types:
Hutches, individual pens
Group pens
Pasture - rarely
Parasites to control: Coccidiosis, Fleas

Control measures:
1) Sanitary surroundings and good hygiene, control barn cats
2) Medicated milk replacers

 Trade name  Generic name  Label use  Dosage  Precautions
Corid Amprolium  Treatment 10 mg/kg, feed or water, 5 days Meat withdrawal
24 hours
Sulfas (various manufacturers) Sulfaquinoxaline  Treatment 8-70 mg/kg, water, 7 days Meat withdrawal
5 days
Bovatec  Lasalocid (Ionophore)  Preventative 100-360 mg/ head/day No meat
withdrawal
Corid  Amprolium  Preventative 5 mg/kg, feed or water, 21 days Meat withdrawal
24 hours
Deccox Dequinate   Preventative 0.5 mg/kg, feed, at least 28 days No meat withdrawal
Rumensin  Monensin (Ionophore)   Preventative
(>400 lbs)
100-360 mg/head/day No meat withdrawal

Control Program:

  • Maintain sanitary environment, reduce exposure to manure from other cows and calves.
  • Use a milk replacer medicated with a coccidiostat.
  • Add Corid to milk replacer (at preventative dose).
  • Continue with coccidiostat until first calving.

Parasite Control Program for Dairy Cattle Weaning to First Calving (~24 months):
Housing types:
Group pens with dirt or concrete lot
Group lot with sparse pasture
Pasture

Parasites to control: Coccidiosis, Nematodes, Cestodes, Ectoparasites
Control measures:
1) Manure and pasture management
2) Drugs

Trade
name
Generic name Label use  Dosage  Precautions
Ivomec Ivermectin Internal and external 200 mcg/kg, SQ or pour-on Meat w/d 35 days
Milk w/d 49 days
Cydectin, Eprinex Moxidectin,
eprinomectin
Internal and external pour-on No meat nor
milk withdrawal
Rumatel Morantel tartrate Internal 0.44 g / 100 lbs,
mixed in feed
Meat w/d 14 days No milk withdrawal
Panacur or
Safe-Guard
Fenbendazole
Paste - 10%
Feed - 0.5%
Internal 5-10 mg/kg, orally, paste, liquid suspension or
feed pellet
Meat withdrawal:
Paste = 8 days
Feed = 13 days
No milk withdrawal
Taktic Amitraz  External  2 gal mixed spray/adult animal No meat or milk withdrawal
Expar  Permethrin  External  0.5 oz / 100 lbs  No meat or milk w/d, won’t get grubs

Control Program:

Spring: Calves born in the fall - no exposure to pasture over-winter
Expar/Taktic for external parasites
Yearlings born the previous spring - any exposure to pasture
Bred heifers born the previous fall - any exposure to pasture
Ivomec/Cydectin/Eprinex or Panacur and Expar/Taktic
Heifers due to calve - any exposure to pasture
Cydectin/Eprinex or Panacur and Expar/Taktic
Fall: Calves born in the spring - any exposure to pasture
Yearlings born the previous fall - any exposure to pasture
Bred heifers born the previous spring - any exposure to pasture
Ivomec/Cydectin/Eprinex or Panacur and Expar/Taktic
Heifers due to calve - any exposure to pasture
Cydectin/Eprinex or Panacur and Expar/Taktic

Adult lactating cows:
Housing type:
Complete confinement - Expar/Taktic spring and fall as needed.
Any pasture exposure - Spring and Fall
Ivomec/Cydectin/Eprinex or Safe-Guard/Rumatel and Expar/Taktic

Additional Fact Sheets:
-Control of Equine Parasites – R.D. Scoggins, DVM, University of Illinois
-Control of Internal Parasites in Sheep – R.D. Scoggins, DVM, University of Illinois
-Control of Parasites in Grazing Beef Cattle - G. L. Meerdink, DVM, University of Illinois

Project funding provided by: North Central Region Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education Program

Project coordinated by: Dean Oswald, Animal Systems Educator, Macomb Extension Center, 480 Deer Road, Macomb, IL, 61455.


The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) prohibits discrimination in all its programs and activities on the basis of race, color, national origin, age, disability, and where applicable, sex, marital status, familial status, parental status, religion, sexual orientation, genetic information, political beliefs, reprisal, or because all or a part of an individual's income is derived from any public assistance program. (Not all prohibited bases apply to all programs.) Persons with disabilities who require alternative means for communication of program information (Braille, large print, audiotape, etc.) should contact USDA's TARGET Center at (202) 720-2600 (voice and TDD). To file a complaint of discrimination write to USDA, Director, Office of Civil Rights, 1400 Independence Avenue, S.W., Washington, D.C. 20250-9410 or call (800) 795-3272 (voice) or (202) 720-6382 (TDD).

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Outline of State of Illinois with GrassAnimal Health

Control of Parasites in Equine

Illinois

By: R. D. Scoggins, D.V.M., Extension Veterinarian,
University of Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine

Administration:

How an anthelmintic is administered has little bearing on its effectiveness. IN GENERAL, as long as the following criteria are met, regardless of the route of administration (stomach tube, intra-oral, or mixed with feed), effective deworming should occur:
1. The correct amount of dewormer must be administered based on an accurate estimation of the horse’s weight.
2. Dose consumption and/or retention must be complete.
3. The anthelmintic selected must be highly effective against the parasites infecting the horse.
4. The anthelmintic must be approved for use via the route of administration selected.

Adults:

In most cases, six dewormings yearly aimed at strongyle control are the framework for a complete interval deworming program (table 1).
Bot infestation: Boticides should be administered at least two times per year. Once about one month after the first bot egg is noticed on the hair coat of horses, and once after the end of the botfly season.

Foals:

Interval deworming programs for foals should include six dewormings at 2 month intervals beginning at 8 weeks of age. Routine anthelmintic therapy is begun at 8 weeks of age, because that is when immature and mature adult stages of P. equorum are commonly first present in the small intestine (table 2).

Tapeworm Control:

Some beneficial control of tapeworms can be achieved with the manufacturer’s recommended dosages of pyrantel pamoate (6.6 mg/kg). Better control can be achieved with double the label dosage of pyrantel pamoate (13.2 mg/kg). Benefit from treatment can be optimized by treating 2 weeks prior to and at the conclusion of the grazing season.

Environmental Control:

Additional parasite control beyond that achieved by routine administration of anthelmintics may be obtained by implementing management practices that further decrease the number of infective stages of parasites in the environment. Management practices that enhance parasite control include the following:
1. Routine removal of feces from stalls, pastures, and paddocks.
2. Proper disposal of manure. Manure SHOULD NOT be spread on pastures unless it has been composted for over one year.
3. Regular rotation of pastures and avoidance of overstocking.
4. Quarantine all new additions. Have fecal examinations conducted and use appropriate treatment with non-benzimidazole anthelmintics before intermingling with other horses.
5. Prevention of fecal contamination of feed and water.
6. Harrowing pastures during the driest and hottest season of the year.
7. Deworm all horses housed together at the same time.
8. Have fecal examinations performed regularly to evaluate parasite control (10-14 days following treatment).

 

Table 1: Example of an interval deworming program for adult horses in the North Central United States.
Month Anthelmintic Efficacy

February

Pyrantel pamoate Nematodes

April

Oxibendazole Nematodes

May

Fenbendazole & Piperazine Nematodes

July

Ivermectin Nematodes and Bots

September

Pyrantel pamoate Nematodes

November

Ivermectin Nematodes and Bots

 

Table2: Example of an interval deworming program for foals with an average birth date in February in the North Central United States.
 Age (Months) Anthelmintic Efficacy
 2  Ivermectin  Nematodes
 4  Oxibendazole  Nematodes
 6  Pyrantel pamoate  Nematodes
 8  Ivermectin  Nematodes & Bots
 10  Pyrantel pamoate  Nematodes
 12  Ivermectin  Nematodes & Bots

 

Table 3. Example of a seasonal deworming program for adult horses in the North Central United States.
Month Anthelmintic Efficacy

May

Ivermectin Nematodes

July

Ivermectin Nematodes & Bots

December

Ivermectin Nemoatodes & Bots

Additional Fact Sheets:
-Control of Parasites in Grazing Beef Cattle - G. L. Meerdink, DVM, University of Illinois
-Control of Internal Parasites in Sheep– R.D. Scoggins, DVM, University of Illinois
-Control of Parasites in Dairy Cattle – Dick Wallace, DVM, MS, University of Illinois

Project funding provided by: North Central Region Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education Program

Project coordinated by: Dean Oswald, Animal Systems Educator, Macomb Extension Center, 480 Deer Road, Macomb, IL, 61455.


The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) prohibits discrimination in all its programs and activities on the basis of race, color, national origin, age, disability, and where applicable, sex, marital status, familial status, parental status, religion, sexual orientation, genetic information, political beliefs, reprisal, or because all or a part of an individual's income is derived from any public assistance program. (Not all prohibited bases apply to all programs.) Persons with disabilities who require alternative means for communication of program information (Braille, large print, audiotape, etc.) should contact USDA's TARGET Center at (202) 720-2600 (voice and TDD). To file a complaint of discrimination write to USDA, Director, Office of Civil Rights, 1400 Independence Avenue, S.W., Washington, D.C. 20250-9410 or call (800) 795-3272 (voice) or (202) 720-6382 (TDD).

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Outline of State of Illinois with GrassAnimal Health

Bloat and Pasture

G. L. Meerdink, DVM - Veterinary Diagnostic Lab & Extension University of Illinois

Bloat or ruminal tympany is the abnormal extension of the rumen and reticulum caused by excessive retention of the gases of fermentation. Rumen gasses separate from the rumen contents and the gas pocket is eliminated by eructation (belching). Normally, eructation can remove much larger quantities of gas than produced at the maximum rates of fermentation. Therefore, bloat does not occur because of excessive gas production but rather from insufficient elimination.

Causes of bloat include:

Nerve receptors surrounding the entrance into the rumen from the esophagus, the “cardia region,” detect the presence of gas and allow gas release–eructation. If fluid or foam (as in frothy bloat) contacts the cardia region, it remains firmly closed. Thus, rumen gas accumulates.
Frothy bloat is usually related to highly digestible plants, especially legumes. Soluble leaf proteins and plant particles readily produce a stable foam-like material that obstructs the cardia and restricts eructation. Reducing foam and freeing the gas for release is difficult.
Ruminal contractions are essential for eructation. Therefore, any injury to the nerves of the rumen or other disruptions of rumen activity can result in bloat.
Cattle that are down for an extended time can bloat because the cardia is covered with fluid that prevents eructation. Eructation occurs when the animal stands or roles up on the sternum after the fluid moves away from the cardia.
Feedlot cattle on high concentrate diets might have some bloat problems related in part to reduced rumen motility. Also, some bacteria (that can proliferate in high concentrate rumen environments) are thought to produce a slime, resulting in a stable foam which impairs eructation like a frothy bloat.

Observations:

Bloat incidence decreases when legumes begin to flower (probably due to reduced digestibility).
Bloat is reduced when grazing is continuous and not interrupted.
The bloat potential for legumes is not necessarily lost after a killing frost. Pasture bloat is more likely during the spring and other times when plants are young, succulent and have higher digestibility.
It is safer to move cattle to a new pasture in the afternoon (after the dew has dried) with a rumen fill from the former forage.
Forage maturity is a major plant factor affecting the incidence of pasture bloat. Grazing very succulent pasture, such as immature legumes in the pre-bloom stage, is the single biggest risk of bloat in cattle.
Bloat onset may be observed within an hour after introduction to new pasture. However, cattle more commonly bloat on the second or third day (or longer) following introduction.
Although acute death in the feedlots is unusual, mild bloat can affect performance.
Generally, feedlot bloat is delayed which corresponds with the development of a suitable rumen environment for gas entrapment.

Treatment:

Removal of free gas can be done with passage of a stomach tube use of a trocar or large gauge needle inserted directly into the rumen high on the left side at the point of maximum distension. (Rumen penetration through the skin is usually avoided because of the chance of infection and peritonitis.)
Frothy bloat is a challenge because the stomach tube, or trocar, are quickly plugged by the foamy material. (If time is of the essence, an emergency rumenotomy (surgical opening of the rumen) may be necessary to save the animal’s life.)
Anti-foaming agents such as non-toxic oils, detergents or surfactants can be used to decrease the surface tension and break down the foam to larger gas bubbles that can be removed with stomach tube or eructated. Polaxalene® is faster and more effective than oils and is recommended for treatment. (This may be of little value for feedlot or grain bloat.)
Saliva is important in the prevention/reduction of bloat. Tying a stick in the mouth like a horse’s bit has been used to promote saliva production. The alkalinity of saliva may assist in denaturation of the stable foam. Careful drenching with about 100 to 150 grams of baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) in water might accomplish the same end.
Mildly bloated feedlot cattle (“swellers” or “tight”) might respond to walking, which can shake the foam down and coalesce the foam into a large bubble that can be expelled.
In any event, the treatment approach will depend on the degree of animal distress. This condition can kill quickly.

Prevention:

Pasture bloat is unpredictable and difficult to prevent. A host of strategies have been tried to prevent the problem. The objective is to decrease the rate of rumen fermentation (which contributes to foam that prevents eructation). No one strategy works consistently, but a few ideas include:

• Don’t turn hungry cows into lush alfalfa. Fill them with dry hay before turning them out.
• Restrict grazing time or pull cows from pasture when the first cow stops eating.
• Do whatever is necessary to make the change to new forage as gradual as possible.
• Turn cattle out after dew is gone; wait until afternoon when forage is dry.
• Don’t remove cows at the first sign of bloat. They’ll adapt if left on the pasture.
• Bloat often occurs with warm humid weather following a rain. The fast-growing tips of legume plants contain agents that promote the production of froth.

Seed pastures with grass-legume mixtures. (Because of selective grazing, this surely does not guarantee prevention.)
Oils and fats and bloat preventative agents such as Polaxalene® (i.e. Bloat-Guard™) certainly help in prevention. The challenge is getting enough into the animals at the time needed. (Individual dosing with liquids or capsules or flank application prior to turn-out has been successful.)
Ionophores (e.g., Rumensin® and Bovatec ®) aid in the reduction of bloat.


The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) prohibits discrimination in all its programs and activities on the basis of race, color, national origin, age, disability, and where applicable, sex, marital status, familial status, parental status, religion, sexual orientation, genetic information, political beliefs, reprisal, or because all or a part of an individual's income is derived from any public assistance program. (Not all prohibited bases apply to all programs.) Persons with disabilities who require alternative means for communication of program information (Braille, large print, audiotape, etc.) should contact USDA's TARGET Center at (202) 720-2600 (voice and TDD). To file a complaint of discrimination write to USDA, Director, Office of Civil Rights, 1400 Independence Avenue, S.W., Washington, D.C. 20250-9410 or call (800) 795-3272 (voice) or (202) 720-6382 (TDD).

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Outline of State of Illinois with GrassAnimal Health

Ergot and Cattle Health

G. L. Meerdink, DVM - Veterinary Diagnostic Lab & Extension University of Illinois

Ergot is associated with the fungus, Claviceps sp., which infects a variety of grasses, notably the cereal grains. Ergot bodies are the black-purple bodies (similar in appearance to rat droppings) that form in place of a seed in grass heads. See Figure 1. (Grasses take up the mold spores from the soil and are transported to the seed heads. Ergot bodies develop and drop to the ground for the next generation.) These bodies contain a number of alkaloids, referred to as ergot alkaloids, that affect blood vessels, the nervous system, and other organ systems.

Ergot alkaloids are the same toxic agents found in endophyte-infected fescue.

What does this do to cattle?

Some of these alkaloids are capable of constricting blood vessels. The result is dry gangrene of the extremities: feet, tail, and ear edges.
Lameness is generally the first sign, along with swelling around the fetlock area. Back legs are usually first affected. Swelling and pain becomes severe followed by sloughing of skin and eventually the foot is sloughed above the hooves. This disease has been called “fescue foot.” (Figure 2.)
Fescue foot is more common during winter, most likely because low temperatures contribute to decreased blood circulation.
Decreased milk production (due to inhibition of prolactin) is common. This can occur with no evidence of foot involvement.
Reproduction (particularly conception) is impaired; with severe involvement, calving can be impaired.
With milder cases, the loss of switch hair from the tail and, perhaps, the edges of ears can occur.
Though more associated with fescue, these alkaloids disturb the animal’s heat regulation that is associated with the “summer slump” syndrome.

Prevention:

Clip pastures to restrict grazing of grass heads.
Clipping fescue pastures is especially important since the endophyte-infected grass also contains some of the same alkaloids.
Ergot bodies and toxins survive baling and ensiling. If baled with grass heads, collect chaff by shaking hay into a plastic bag and look for the ergot bodies. If present, feed sparingly (if at all). Avoid feeding contaminated hay during the winter.
Providing shade during summer and supplementing some grain, especially during breeding, seems to reduce effects somewhat.
Ammoniation of contaminated hay has been found to reduce toxic effects; as yet, the degree of success with this on ergot-contaminated forages has not been determined.

 

Figure 1. Several different grass varieties infected with black ergot bodies.
Different grasses infected with black ergot


Figure 2. This calf was one of several with sloughed hooves. They were fed large round bales of brome grass infected with ergot.
close up of a calf's sloughing hoof


The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) prohibits discrimination in all its programs and activities on the basis of race, color, national origin, age, disability, and where applicable, sex, marital status, familial status, parental status, religion, sexual orientation, genetic information, political beliefs, reprisal, or because all or a part of an individual's income is derived from any public assistance program. (Not all prohibited bases apply to all programs.) Persons with disabilities who require alternative means for communication of program information (Braille, large print, audiotape, etc.) should contact USDA's TARGET Center at (202) 720-2600 (voice and TDD). To file a complaint of discrimination write to USDA, Director, Office of Civil Rights, 1400 Independence Avenue, S.W., Washington, D.C. 20250-9410 or call (800) 795-3272 (voice) or (202) 720-6382 (TDD).

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Outline of State of Illinois with GrassAnimal Health

Pink Eye in Cattle

G. L. Meerdink, DVM - Veterinary Diagnostic Lab & Extension University of Illinois

Pinkeye (or Infectious Bovine Keratoconjuctivitis) is caused primarily by Moraxella bovis along with a number of inciting factors. Because of the pain involved and potential for blindness, this is an economically important disease to prevent. Estimates indicate approximate weight losses of about 20 lbs. With the loss of one eye and at least 65 lbs. in calves over a 205 day period. Loss in milk production, labor, medication and loss in value are additional economic losses.

Observations

Although M. bovis is considered the primary causative agent, a number of other infectious agents (e.g., IBR virus, Mycoplasma, Chlamydia, etc.) can affect severity and incidence in the herd. Young animals are more sensitive.
Source of the organism is from carrier animals. The organism overwinters in the eye, nose, and vagina of some animals.
Solar radiation, flies and dust, or anything else that causes eye irritation, play significant roles in the severity and incidence rate of the disease.
Flies are significant transmitters of the organism. (Pinkeye incidence of 14% has been measured with 6-10 flies/head and 26% was related to 16-20 flies per head.
Pinkeye in calves is enhanced by eye irritation from tall pasture grasses and seed heads.
Though usually a warm, humid, summer problem, outbreaks do occur in winter and can be severe.
Incidence and severity is probably less with increased pigmentation around the eye.
Virulence (disease-evoking severity) is enhanced by solar radiation. Outbreaks seem to be associated with periods of maximum solar UV radiation.
Nutritional deficiencies (vitamin A, iodine, etc.) influence incidence and severity.

Disease Signs

Tearing and blinking are the first signs of pinkeye. Pain and sun sensitivity is significant.
Conjunctiva (tissues around the eye) are red and a white spot can eventually be seen on the cornea (center of the eye).
The white spot on the eye is an area of dying tissues that eventually results in rupture of the eye associated with loss of sight and a great deal of pain.

Treatment

Treatment at the first signs is critical. In just a few days, irreversible blindness can occur.
An eye patch or surgical eyelid closure to block sunlight aids recovery and reduces pain.
Several antibiotics are usually effective and different methods of administration are possible. Contact your veterinarian for best selection and administration method.
Resistant strains do occur. If there is a poor response to treatment, samples should be collected for culture identification and antibiotic sensitivity tests.
If treatment response is not noticed in 24-48 hours, contact your veterinarian. Different strains or other immunological factors can alter therapeutic methods and vaccine response.

Prevention

Vaccines are generally beneficial, but responses are variable. Results are compromised if administered too late. Two doses (3 weeks apart) administered before fly season are needed. Consult with your veterinarian regarding the best choices for your region.
Because of strain differences, an autogenous (vaccine made from the culture from your herd) might be necessary.
Control flies. A host of control programs are available. Dragging pastures to disrupt manure pats retards fly reproduction and reduces populations somewhat.
Maintain a strong herd immunity against IBR with routine vaccination.
Optimize nutrition status, including minerals. Supplement vitamins A & E in animals accustomed to a poorer quality hay diet and during winter.
Clip pastures to reduce eye irritation for young calves.
Shade helps reduce the solar radiation that enhances development of the disease.
Treat diseased eyes as quickly as possible to prevent permanent eye damage, weight loss, and reduce transmission of the causative agent to others.
Separation of affected animals has been advocated. However, the benefits are questionable since infected flies travel appreciable distances.


The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) prohibits discrimination in all its programs and activities on the basis of race, color, national origin, age, disability, and where applicable, sex, marital status, familial status, parental status, religion, sexual orientation, genetic information, political beliefs, reprisal, or because all or a part of an individual's income is derived from any public assistance program. (Not all prohibited bases apply to all programs.) Persons with disabilities who require alternative means for communication of program information (Braille, large print, audiotape, etc.) should contact USDA's TARGET Center at (202) 720-2600 (voice and TDD). To file a complaint of discrimination write to USDA, Director, Office of Civil Rights, 1400 Independence Avenue, S.W., Washington, D.C. 20250-9410 or call (800) 795-3272 (voice) or (202) 720-6382 (TDD).

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Anti-Quality Factors in Rangeland and Pastureland Forages

Illinois

General Information

We, as producers and technical specialists, try to focus on providing information to the livestock clients on how to improve the quantity and quality of the forages, produced and consumed, for the livestock to improve performance and gains. First we should look at the definitions of both Quality and Anti-Quality Factors.

Forage and Nutrition

“Forage quality can be defined as the degree to which forage meets the nutritional requirements of a specific kind and class of animal. An ‘anti-quality component’ would, therefore, be any factor that diminishes the degree to which forage meets the nutritional requirements of a specific kind and class of animal.” 1

This is further complicated by the animal types and the various growth and production stages of the animals at different periods of time in their life cycle. The anti-quality components can vary in both kind and class in the plants. The two types are phytochemicals in plant tissues or structural inhibitors in leaf and stem arrangements. These can result in mineral deficiencies, toxicities, or mineral deficiencies. Chemical inhibitors can result from plant metabolism or from microbes living in the plants. Other anti-quality factors in forages can be related to the presence of insects and diseases. Any anti-quality factor can reduce dry matter intake, limit dry mater digestibility or cause nutritional imbalances. These same factors may also be toxins that shut down vital systems in animals, resulting in abnormal reproduction, disturbed endocrine or neurological function, causing genetic aberrations, or suppressing immune function leading to increased death and diseases.

“The study of these anti-quality factors is both complex and compelling because of the many and unrelated causes and yet potential for many interactions and subtle interrelationships.” 1

Economics

If we look at the economic impacts from anti-quality factors, these can have the potential to be very expensive to a livestock operation. “Tall fescue toxicity has been estimated to cost the beef industry over $600 million annually. Reproductive and death losses of livestock to poisonous plants have been estimated at $340 million in the 17 western states alone.” 1 Other imbalances in forages can occur such as magnesium deficiency, reported to inflict a loss ranging from 1-3% for beef cows annually. This could be equivalent to $150 million in the U.S. if only 1% of the 42.6 million cows and heifers that calved by January 1, 1999, weighing 1100 lb. per cow, and were valued at $0.35 per lb. The fescue toxicosis can have a long lasting and measurable effect on the animals throughout the stress of cross country transportation and throughout a 150 day feeding period. It can also effect livestock production by lowering the immunity of an animal and cause higher medication costs.

Poisonous plants can occur in any rangeland and pastureland area. These can be one of the most important economic impediments to profitable livestock production. “Based on an estimated 1% death loss in cattle, a 3.5% death loss in sheep, and a 1% decrease on calf and lamb crops due to poisonous plants, the economic impact within the 17 western states had been estimated at $340 million annually.” 1 These are only a few of the areas the anti-quality factors can have an impact. Low forage quality that can reduce gain performance is another large contributing factor in the economic picture of an operation. Thus, if we all look at the importance in forage testing for feed values and mineral content, we may improve our operation’s bottom line. Also, the species identification within our grazing areas can save us several dollars by utilizing the forage at the proper time and eradicating potential hazardous plants. Some of these poisonous plants tend to grow in shaded areas; thus restricting livestock use in shaded areas may be an easy control mechanism to avoid animal access.

Graphic fo the digestive system

References

1 Quotes are taken from Station Bulletin 73 July 2001 prepared by USDA/NRCS Grazing Lands Technology Institute, Idaho Forest, Wildlife and Range Experiment Station Moscow, Idaho and University of Idaho.

Figure 1 from Station Bulletin 73, July 2001, prepared by USDA/NRCS Grazing Lands Technology Institute, Idaho Forest, Wildlife and Range Experiment Station, Moscow, Idaho and University of Idaho.

Prepared by

Roger L. Staff, Grass Land Specialist, NRCS


The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) prohibits discrimination in all its programs and activities on the basis of race, color, national origin, age, disability, and where applicable, sex, marital status, familial status, parental status, religion, sexual orientation, genetic information, political beliefs, reprisal, or because all or a part of an individual's income is derived from any public assistance program. (Not all prohibited bases apply to all programs.) Persons with disabilities who require alternative means for communication of program information (Braille, large print, audiotape, etc.) should contact USDA's TARGET Center at (202) 720-2600 (voice and TDD). To file a complaint of discrimination write to USDA, Director, Office of Civil Rights, 1400 Independence Avenue, S.W., Washington, D.C. 20250-9410 or call (800) 795-3272 (voice) or (202) 720-6382 (TDD).

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Neosporosis-Abortion in Cattle

lG. L. Meerdink, DVM - Veterinary Diagnostic Lab & Extension University of Illinois

General Information

Neospora caninum is a very common protozoal organism and a common cause of abortion in cattle. Minor reductions in milk yield in dairy cows or reduced growth in feedlot steers has also been attributed to this organism, but these effects, if true, are small. A reasonable goal of herd management is to reduce the risk of transmission of neospora. Total elimination is unrealistic. A depiction of the neosporosis life cycle follows.

Observations

Dogs, and other canines, e.g., coyotes, become infected by eating tissues of infected animals. Infected dogs shed oocysts in their feces for about 1 week.
Oocysts can survive in the environment for a long time.
Once a cow is infected, she probably remains infected for life.
Many, probably most, infected cows never abort and can be excellent producers.
Neospora is transmitted to cattle in different ways:
A chronically infected cow can transmit the organism during pregnancy to her fetus. (vertical transmission)
Cattle can become infected by ingesting neospora oocysts that have contaminated pastures or feedstuffs from the feces of infected dogs, or other canines. (horizontal transmission)
Heifers born with neospora infections (congenital, from dam during gestation) are more likely to have an abortion during the first pregnancy than are heifers that were born uninfected (and that remain uninfected).
This method of disease transmission is believed to be associated with the larger herd outbreaks of abortion.
40-50% of Illinois white-tailed deer have a positive blood test. Though dogs and other canines can become infected by eating the infected tissues, deer cannot directly transmit neospora to cattle.

Prevention Control

Prevent dogs (coyotes, etc.) from defecating in stored feeds intended for breeding cattle.
Some examples include: use containment facilities (silos, bins, etc.); close feed storage doors; cover bunker silos; dog and coyote-proof fence feed storage areas.
Cattle are more likely to consume dog feces if feed is mixed (i.e., TMR).
Restrict canine access to dead stock (including placentas).
Limit the number of dogs. (The prevalence of infected cattle is statistically associated with both the presence and number of dogs.)
Generally, culling cows based on serologic (blood) testing for neospora antibody titers is not recommended.
Chronically infected cows have a measure of immunity. Previously infected cows have a decreased risk of abortion compared to acutely infected cattle during neosporosis abortion outbreaks.
The titer cut-off between serum-negative and serum-positive cows is not perfect and the neospora antibody titer in any particular cow can fluctuate above and below cut-off level.
In herds with a chronic neosporosis abortion problem, selection of serum negative replacement heifers can speed the rate of reduction of neospora-infected cattle.
Blood-test replacement heifers anytime after six months of age and keep only negative animals, or keep only heifers born to serum negative cows. (This strategy must be accompanied by practices to reduce the risk of transmission from dogs.
Vaccination
To date, no independent reports of the product’s efficacy have been found. Thus, a recommendation at this time is questionable.
Two doses are required the first year it is used.
Serum tests for the Neospora antibody do not distinguish the difference of vaccination from natural infection.
Pasture treatments will not affect the likelihood of exposure to the organism. This is an unlikely source of infection for large numbers of animals.
Testing the farm dog is of little value. Not all dogs will be serum positive after infection and the period of shedding of oocysts subsides within a few weeks.
 

Graphic of life cycle of Neospora caninum

Acknowledgements

Milton McAllister, DVM, PhD, College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Illinois.


The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) prohibits discrimination in all its programs and activities on the basis of race, color, national origin, age, disability, and where applicable, sex, marital status, familial status, parental status, religion, sexual orientation, genetic information, political beliefs, reprisal, or because all or a part of an individual's income is derived from any public assistance program. (Not all prohibited bases apply to all programs.) Persons with disabilities who require alternative means for communication of program information (Braille, large print, audiotape, etc.) should contact USDA's TARGET Center at (202) 720-2600 (voice and TDD). To file a complaint of discrimination write to USDA, Director, Office of Civil Rights, 1400 Independence Avenue, S.W., Washington, D.C. 20250-9410 or call (800) 795-3272 (voice) or (202) 720-6382 (TDD).

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Diseases

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Toxicities/Poisoning

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