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Beef Buzz News


Reducing Stressors Key to Reducing Antibiotic Use, Spire Says

Tue, 08 Oct 2013 15:07:06 CDT

Reducing Stressors Key to Reducing Antibiotic Use, Spire Says
Dr. Mark Spire is a veterinarian and former staff member at Kansas State University. He now works for Merck Animal Health. He spoke recently at the Kansas State Stocker Conference about receiving stocker cattle and how to keep them in top-notch health. He says there is a lot that has changed in just the last few years.


He says there are several factors that have changed the best practices in receiving cattle. He says drought has really affected the quality of cattle stockers have received in recent years.


“The bugs are changing. We know that what we considered pathogens that we could control very easily, we’re finding its now much more to control them because they’re growing different and they’re more aggressive than the ones we’ve seen in the past.


“The parasites that we’ve seen that were normally taken care of by our injectibles and our pour-on wormers, now we don’t see them as effective as what we have in the past.


“The other part is that we’re learning more about our vaccines and that’s become a major thing. Our vaccines can end up causing problems. While we’re trying to prevent disease with them, we can actually end up causing problems by what we call random inflammation.   


“And the last part is how we manage cattle before we ship them all the way through that first couple of weeks after we receive them. And how we manage and the type of diets we put on, how we handle those cattle, the weather, obviously is going to have some impact on them.


“But all the package makes it more difficult for us to receive cattle now more than five years ago.


Spire says studies they have done at Merck are of particular concern when it comes to parasites. He says the pour-on wormers and Ivermectin injectibles are not nearly as effective as they need to be. That affects efficiency, disease resistance and future deworming protocols.


Spire says animal agriculture has also come under closer scrutiny in the last few years for its use of antibiotics especially as efficiency aids. When it comes to animal health, there has been less concern, but the increase in antibiotic-resistant bacteria is troublesome.


Currently, about four percent of cattle are harboring bacteria that are resistant to three or more drugs. Spire says that means management practices need to be improved to keep cattle more healthy and prevent problems that will require antibiotics down the road. He says the key to that is reducing stressors on the cattle so that their natural immune systems remain as strong and healthy as possible.



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 Spire talks about management practices to reduce antibiotic use in cattle.
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