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Prevention Better than Cure when comes to Animal Health

At this time of the year, a lot of cattle are still grazing autumn grass, as weather conditions allow. It is hoped cattle will stay outdoors thereby maximising efficiency and grazing residuals. In some cases, however, cattle are being housed.

In the last number of weeks the Connolly’s RED MILLS Nutrition team have had a lot of queries in relation to cattle coughing, nasal discharge, difficult breathing, high temperatures and lack of weight gain at grass. While there are many factors that can contribute to these issues, my focus is on influencing animal health and how a preventative approach can minimise associated pit falls prior to housing.
Treating Lungworm and preventing pneumonia
Lungworm, or as it is commonly referred to as Hoose, can be problematic at this stage of the year when stock are at grass, as the lungworm larvae is ingested and penetrates the intestinal wall. The respiratory system can be attacked leading to gaping holes for other pathogens to enter such as bacterial or viruses.  These gaping holes in the damaged lungs of young cattle can lead to a higher propensity of pneumonia when cattle are housed.
With increased numbers and inadequate ventilation in some beef housing accommodation, it is best practise to dose cattle one month before housing and to vaccinate two weeks prior to housing. I would recommend Cydectin or Dectomax pour on wormer which will give activity for 4-5 weeks and is available in any outlet of Connolly’s RED MILLS. In terms of vaccinating, I recommend Bovipast RSP together with an IBR vaccine Bovilis. This will help cattle avoid any setbacks when housed and allow cattle to increase weight immediately following housing. It will also help prevent an outbreak of lungworm and hence reduce the possible occurrence of pneumonia.
A simple faecal egg count will help in the diagnosis of lungworm to detect the presence of liver and rumen fluke eggs, gutworms, lungworm larvae, coccidia oocyts, etc. It important to note that faecal counts are very accurate for young cattle over adult faecal counts is unreliable. The mode of action and duration of activity for anthelminthic chosen will vary considerably. I would also advise when dosing, to weigh cattle at the same period to avoid overall resistance to anthelminthic dosages.

Preventing Pneumonia
The key to the prevention of pneumonia is to create an environment as close as possible to the outside. As fluctuations in temperature will become prominent into the autumn it will be crucial that all housing accommodation is assessed for adequate ventilation. The biggest cause of pneumonia is inadequate ventilation – vented sheeting, space boarding (<25mm), Yorkshire boarding and windbreaker will help, together with the avoidance of drafts. A good feeding programme should be tailored to maximise feed intake to boost overall immunity and possibly supress some of the challenges cattle may endure when it comes to housing time. Please contact a Connolly’s RED MILLS representative for more information or advice on any of the above topics.

  • Tags:
  • Agri
  • animal
  • animal health
  • animal nutrition
  • health