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Feed your cows this winter, not the parasites

Beef producers have more tools in their herd health toolbox than just reproductive vaccines. While a strong vaccination program is part of stockman’s herd and reproductive health program, vaccines aren’t the only herd health protocol that can help ensure the reproductive performance of a herd, according to Gary Sides, PhD, managing nutritionist, Beef Strategic Technical Services at Zoetis.

“As beef producers head into fall, it’s important to remember that with parasites, the same effects you see in feedlot cattle also occur in the cow herd,” Sides said. “Producers can see reduced feed intake and less energy utilization. Heading into winter, cows trying to grow a fetus with a parasite load can bring down the body condition of those animals. It may even affect the subsequent reproduction of the cow.”

Additionally, Sides says, parasites can be responsible for depressed immune systems, making cattle more susceptible to disease challenges. When added to the losses from increased days to market and longer postpartum intervals, producers could be losing as much as $200 per head each grazing season they do not deworm cattle.1

What’s more, many producers think that cold winter weather will help kill parasites, like Ostertagia ostertagi, overwintering on pastures; however, this often is not the case. It has been shown that infective larvae were able to survive on Minnesota pastures during winter months.

“There is no reason to feed the cow, calf and the parasites,” Sides said. “If you deworm in the fall, you’re making sure you’re feeding only your cattle and not parasites.”

To control parasites Sides recommends producers look for broad-spectrum dewormers like DECTOMAX® (doramectin) products. DECTOMAX Pour-On or Injectable treats and controls Ostertagia ostertagi, also known as the brown stomach worm, for up to 21 days and is safe for pregnant cows, newborn calves and bulls.

Research has shown an advantage in parasite control for DECTOMAX. Stocker trials showed DECTOMAX Injectable controlled parasites to outgain cattle treated with ivermectin by up to 26 pounds.2 In a study comparing DECTOMAX Pour-On with ivermectin pour-on, the animals treated with DECTOMAX showed a 21-pound advantage in live weight at slaughter.3

“With DECTOMAX, the label claims for internal parasites and external parasites are superior,” Sides said. “That’s why I continue to recommend it.”

DECTOMAX Injectable has a 35-day pre-slaughter withdrawal period. DECTOMAX Pour-On has a 45-day pre-slaughter withdrawal period. Do not use in female dairy cattle 20 months of age or older. Do not use in calves to be processed for veal. DECTOMAX has been developed specifically for cattle and swine. Use in dogs may result in fatalities.


Material on BEEF Briefing Room comes directly from company news releases. Source: Zoetis

1 Lawrence JD, Ibarburu M. Economic Analysis of Pharmaceutical Technologies in Modern Beef Production in a Bioeconomy Era. Published 2007. Accessed August 12, 2016.
2 Data on file, Study Reports No. 2239A-60-00-029, 2239A-60-00-030, 2239A-60-00-033, 2239A-60-94-003, 2239A-60-94-007, 2239A-60-94-067, 2239A-60-94-068, 2239A-60-94-070, 2239A-60-95-156 and 2839A-60-97-123, Zoetis.

3 Data on file, Study Report No. 2339D-020003D, Zoetis.