Beef Buzz News
Long, Hot, Dry Weather Exacerbates Summertime Cattle Illnesses
Fri, 06 Jul 2012 15:42:18 CDT
Dr. Larry Hollis discusses summertime cattle illnesses.
With the summer time weather, illness can become an issue in cattle on pasture. K-State beef veterinarian Larry Hollis is here to better explain three major illnesses, pink-eye, blackleg, and foot rot. Pink eye is one that will be especially bad this year with an early start to fly season.
“We’re seeing pink eye earlier than we normally do and we’re going to see it longer than we normally do would be my prediction this year just because of how long we stay warm. One of the things I think people are going to have to be conscious of is if they’re using fly tags as their pink eye control or part of a pink eye control program, those fly tags are going to run out before the end of the normal season because we put them in earlier this year and we turned out earlier this year because the grass greened up earlier. And so don’t be surprised if you start to seeing a lot of pink eye problems late in the season.”
Overgrazing pastures as well as short grass years are the biggest contributing factors to another summer pasture illness, black leg. Hollis stresses that these two circumstances call on a producer to vaccinate both cows and calves for blackleg.
“Because blackleg is a spore forming organism, it lives in the soil for years. If we’ve got big, lush pasture growth where cattle are not grazing close to the ground, it’s usually not much of a problem. But when we get into situations where we’re overgrazing pastures or really grazing it down short, then the chance of picking those spores up out of the dirt increases and blackleg can sure jump up there and bite folk. In a short grass year that’s one of those years for sure when you need to make sure you have your cows’ vaccinations current as well as your calves. Obviously calves are at higher risk on the thing, cows can die too, and they will, and this summer may be one of those years when we have a lot of blackleg death loss in our cows.
Hollis explains that just because we are having a drier year does not mean we should ignore, yet another summer illness called foot rot. It’s actually a reason to pay more attention because calves are more apt to go in ponds where foot rot can develop.
“One of the things that dry does is that it helps with foot rot, but we still have it and we have it every year and most of the time it is in cattle drinking out of ponds because they’re getting their feet wet there as they’re moving back and forth, and some of our plants the dry stalks are sticking up where they may poke the animals in between the claws and penetrate and take the bacteria that cause the foot rot in with them. Foot rot never goes away and, in some cases it is worse in a dry year because cows spend so much time in the pond, coming in and out,”
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