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Beef Buzz News


Quick-Acting Treatment Necessary For Drought-Stressed Calves

Fri, 21 Sep 2012 14:53:35 CDT

Quick-Acting Treatment Necessary For Drought-Stressed Calves
With a second year of drought behind us, its effects continue to linger. One of the areas in which that stress is most pronounced is in cattle. Ed Richards spoke with Dr. Mark Campbell, veterinary services manager for Merial Animal Health. Dr. Campbell says cattle, especially calves, are facing a number of challenges this fall after two years of pasture-killing dry conditions.


"A lot of time their immune system isn't functioning properly because they're either nutritionally deficient or mineral deficient. They may not have received either adequate or good quality colostrums when they were born because their mothers were probably mineral and nutritionally deficient also. That can stay with them the rest of their life if they didn't get that good colostrum when they were born. And we're probably having to wean them lighter. And these lighter calves become more of a problem."


Are lighter calves more difficult to treat?


"Yes, they are, mainly because their immune system isn't quite as mature as older calves. They may not respond to the vaccines as well. They may not respond to treatment as well, either. And when you are weaning them lighter, it's more stressful on them. The lighter you wean them, the more stressful it is on that calf. And, also, they may not have had all the shots they usually have on the mother when they are weaned early."


In non-drought years, Campbell says, the cattle get most of the minerals they need from the pasture. In 2011 and 2012, that has not been the case.


"We need green grass which we don't have much of anywhere here in Oklahoma to provide vitamin A for these cattle. And they could be vitamin A deficient when they're not usually at this time of year. "


The hot, dry conditions may be causing nutritional deficiencies at the time of year when the same conditions contribute to respiratory problems. And, Campbell says, aggressive treatment is necessary when cattle begin to show symptoms.


"When these cattle are nutritionally stressed, minerally deficient it makes it even more important to treat them early. The earlier you treat a calf, the better your response usually is. And, in this hot weather, they lack enough lung tissue to begin with, but when we destroy some lung tissue by pneumonia or BRD then it puts that calf further and further behind. They're just not as efficient. That's why we need to use a good anti-microbial such as Zachtran."


Campbell says Zachtran is a very quick-acting medication.


"It's exactly the right treatment because within 30 minutes of when you give a subcutaneous injection it is working in the lungs. You really can't give one an IV shot and get it there any quicker. And then it's so long lasting. It lasts ten days in that lung tissue, still fighting infection."


More information about Zachtran is available from your local veterinarian, a Merial Animal Health representative, or by clicking here.


The Beef Buzz is a regular feature heard on radio stations around the region on the Radio Oklahoma Network- but is also a regular audio feature found on this website as well. Click on the LISTEN BAR below for today's show- and check out our archives for older Beef Buzz shows covering the gamut of the beef cattle industry today.



   


     

Dr. Mark Campbell talks about treating drought-stressed calves.
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