At the 2023 Cattle Industry Convention, Senior Farm and Ranch Broadcaster, Ron Hays, visited with Dr. DL Step, DVM for Boehringer Ingelheim, about what ranchers should consider when developing a preventive health program for their cattle.
The 2023 Cattle Industry Convention coverage is being powered by Performance Ranch, a part of Zoetis, and by Farm Data Services located in Stillwater, Oklahoma.
“People need to start thinking about preventive health programs for the springtime for their herds and their operations,” Step said. “One of the best things I can recommend is to work with your veterinarian so that they can customize a preventive program for your individual operation.”
A preventive health program, Step said, will first include vaccines to increase the level of immunity within the herd. It is critical to read the labels on those vaccines, he added, to make sure they are being stored properly.
When working cattle, Step said cattle producers must remember to keep those vaccines cold, especially when using a modified-live vaccine, which will only be active for a short period of time after being mixed.
“Do not mix up more than you are going to be able to process within that roughly one-hour period of time,” Step said. “Also, on the label, we will talk a little about administration and routes, so to try to make sure you are giving the products properly to get the benefit from the technology.”
When vaccinating cattle, Step said is also important to remember to clean syringes properly, and keep them that way.
“Don’t use disinfectants or soaps within the mechanics inside the barrel of the syringe,” Step said. “Generally, distilled water or sterile water needs to be used to clean those particular instruments.”
Deworming should be part of that preventative health program checklist, Step said, especially in the springtime. Administration method and dose will differ depending on the deworming product, Step added.
“When the animals are processed, make sure you try to minimize any stress on those,” Step said. “Of course, it is going to be a little stressful to those animals, but you can minimize that. Make sure your facilities are in good working order, and everything so low-stress handling is very important. Again, calmer animals generally have a better opportunity to respond to the technology of the products you are administering.”
Records are also going to be very important, Step said, along with biosecurity.
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