January 3, 2017
Spring Deworming – Breaking the Cycle
What Producers Need to Know
Today’s progressive cattle producer has a strong grasp on factors that can cut into efficiency and profits in their operation. Still, many underestimate the effects that parasites can have on cattle health and, ultimately, productivity and profitability. One way to increase profitability is to consider treating cows for parasites each spring with an extended-release dewormer.
“In parasite control, timing and duration is everything,” says Joe Dedrickson, DVM, Ph.D., Merial Veterinary Professional Services. “Controlling parasites at spring turnout is an important cost-effective way to gain reproductive efficiencies now and boost calf weaning weights later.”
He adds that it is important for cattle producers to understand the parasite life cycle when developing a deworming strategy.
“In the southern United States, the first deworming should take place in the spring to help protect cattle from infective larvae on pastures and help reduce pasture parasite loads,1” says Dr. Dedrickson. “Ideally, parasite control products should continue to be effective or be re-applied strategically to last at least 100 days.”
That’s because parasitologists have shown that it takes that long to break the parasite life cycle, and breaking the parasite life cycle is the key to reducing the parasite burden on the pasture.2,3 He notes that most parasite control products last from 14 to 42 days and require bringing cattle up for multiple applications.
“The benefit of breaking the parasite life cycle is better-performing cattle throughout the grazing season and pastures with lower parasite loads to infect calves or re-infect cows in the summer and fall,” Dedrickson says. “Strategically dewormed beef cattle have been shown to produce more milk, have improved feed efficiency, improved reproductive efficiency and have a stronger immune system to fight off other diseases.”
Because every producer’s situation is unique, Dedrickson recommends checking labels to determine the length of parasite control a deworming product offers and consulting with a veterinarian to develop a deworming strategy. He also suggests keeping the following in mind: “The time of year when the grazing season begins, age and category of the animals, type of operation and grazing history of the pasture are all considerations to discuss.”
IMPORTANT SAFETY INFORMATION: Do not treat within 48 days of slaughter. Not for use in female dairy cattle 20 months of age or older, including dry dairy cows, or in veal calves. Post-injection site damage (e.g., granulomas, necrosis) can occur. These reactions have disappeared without treatment.
Merial is a world-leading, innovation-driven animal health company, providing a comprehensive range of products that focus on disease prevention and overall health and wellness in animals. Merial has three main business areas: pets, farm animals, and veterinary public health, and our health solutions target more than 200 diseases and conditions across a variety of species. Merial employs 6,900 people and operates in more than 150 countries worldwide with over €2.5 billion of sales in 2015. Merial is a Sanofi company. For more information, please see www.merial.com; @Merial
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1 Miller J. Strategic Deworming. Louisiana State University. Department of Epidemiology. Available at: http://www.animal.ufl.edu/extension/beef/shortcourse/1991/Miller.PDF. Accessed January 15, 2012.
2 Morley FH, Donald AD. Farm management and systems of helminth control. Vet Parasitol. 1980;6:105-134.
3 Brunsdon RV. Principles of helminth control. Vet Parasitol. 1980;6:185-215.