Veterinarian’s Corner

From the VET by Dr. John Horn

Veterinary Topics – Winter 2016

There are a few diseases/conditions that producers are seeing, or usually see this time of the year.

I will cover 4 of these in this article

  1. Foot rot.  Foot rot is a bacterial infection of the tissues in the foot.  When there is a break in the skin the organism gains access and the condition begins and progresses with time.  This is a condition that producers see when conditions are wet. Standing in wet, muddy conditions causes the hoof and skin to soften and it becomes vulnerable to abrasions and lacerations. We have seen many cases in the last year, due to the large amount of rainfall and wet muddy conditions that cattle experience around hay rings and protein sources.  Treatment usually is successful with antibiotics if caught early.  At the first sign of lameness treat with an appropriate antibiotic.  Also prevention can be beneficial.  Move your have rings and protein tubs when you notice muddy conditions around them.  You can also feed a high quality mineral with low levels of antibiotics included in the mix.  In the past we have also used organic iodine mixed in with the mineral to prevent foot rot.   There is also a vaccine to prevent foot rot.  This is a prevention, not a treatment.  Two doses of the vaccine are recommended at least three weeks apart.  As always consult your veterinarian for guidance in treating and preventing foot rot.
  2. Magnesium deficiency. In the late winter and early spring we can see this condition in cattle.  It occurs with cattle grazing grain pastures as well as cattle on grass pastures.  Cattle build up internal stores of magnesium in the summer, and these levels are slowly depleted in the winter months.  Now is the time when the internal levels are depleted, and they experience magnesium deficiencies.   They become weak and eventually go down and are unable to rise.  This condition is easily prevented by using a good quality mineral with higher levels of magnesium. I recommend this mineral be put out in the fall and fed throughout the winter. Consult your veterinarian for guidance.
  3. This is a disease that affects young calves after their maternal antibody protection wears off.  Calves receiving sufficient amounts of colostrum from their mothers in the first few hours after birth are protected by the antibodies until their own immune systems mature, usually around 90 days of age.  The organism is in the soil and is eaten or inhaled by the calf.  The onset is sudden and death occurs quickly.  Calves become lame then lie down and die in just a few hours.  This disease is preventable with a timely and inexpensive vaccination of the calf.  There is no successful treatment once you see the symptoms.
  4. Lice are a cool season parasite.  We usually see signs in late January or early February.  Cattle get patchy hair loss on their neck, sides and rump.  Observant producers will notice excessive self grooming.  Lice are prevented with pour on products labeled for lice prevention, and they are treated with pour on or spray products.  Read the labels, and consult your veterinarian if you have questions.  Lice outbreaks are self limiting, and will clear when the weather warms, but can cause stress and decrease rate of gain.

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